Patterico's Pontifications

2/20/2012

Editor Fired for “Chink in the Armor” Headline About Jeremy Lin

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:49 am

Another example of political correctness run amok:

The ESPN editor fired Sunday for using “chink in the armor” in a headline about Knicks phenom Jeremy Lin said the racial slur never crossed his mind – and he was devastated when he realized his mistake.

“This had nothing to do with me being cute or punny,” Anthony Federico told the Daily News.

“I’m so sorry that I offended people. I’m so sorry if I offended Jeremy.”

The editor has used the phrase 100 times before, but apparently that doesn’t matter:

Federico, 28, said he understands why he was axed. “ESPN did what they had to do,” he said.

He said he has used the phrase “at least 100 times” in headlines over the years and thought nothing of it when he slapped it on the Lin story.

Federico called Lin one of his heroes – not just because he’s a big Knicks fan, but because he feels a kinship with a fellow “outspoken Christian.”

“My faith is my life,” he said. “I’d love to tell Jeremy what happened and explain that this was an honest mistake.”

Any honest person would have to agree it is totally unreasonable under the circumstances to take Federico’s mistake as a racial slur. It would be absurd to interpret the headline as mocking Lin.

Part of the reason we feel for the editor is that we believe him when he says the offensive connotation never even occurred to him.

It’s not as if a colleague had come up to him before the story ran and said: “You realize Lin’s Chinese, right? And that ‘chink’ is an offensive term for a Chinese person?” and Federico had used the term anyway.

It’s not as if he had a little smirk on his face as he hit “send.”

It’s not as if he deliberately chose the phrase to make an obscure point about language interpretation.

It’s not as if it really had been intended as an offensive pun all along.

If any of these things had been true, an interesting question might have been presented as to whether it would be reasonable to take the headline as a slur.

But in today’s world, none of this matters. Instead, we see our Culture of Outrage run rampant. And perhaps the worst part is that Federico himself accepts his punishment as just. They “did what they had to do.”

No, they didn’t, Mr. Federico. Your entire career was offered up as a sacrifice to the God of Political Correctness, who is appeased — for now.

But He will demand His due again. And He will not be ignored.

Winning with social conservatism?

Filed under: General — Karl @ 8:07 am

[Posted by Karl]

Best-known as a supply-sider who worked for Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp, Jeffrey Bell is building buzz for his upcoming book, The Case for Polarized Politics, in an interview with the WSJ’s James Taranto:

“Social issues were nonexistent in the period 1932 to 1964,” he observes. “The Republican Party won two presidential elections out of nine, and they had the Congress for all of four years in that entire period. . . . When social issues came into the mix—I would date it from the 1968 election . . . the Republican Party won seven out of 11 presidential elections.”

The Democrats who won, including even Barack Obama in 2008, did not play up social liberalism in their campaigns. In 1992 Bill Clinton was a death-penalty advocate who promised to “end welfare as we know it” and make abortion “safe, legal and rare.” Social issues have come to the fore on the GOP side in two of the past six presidential elections—in 1988 (prison furloughs, the Pledge of Allegiance, the ACLU) and 2004 (same-sex marriage). “Those are the only two elections since Reagan where the Republican Party has won a popular majority,” Mr. Bell says. “It isn’t coincidental.”

It was probably inevitable that some would apply these observations to the current GOP primary campaign.  Matt Lewis goes so far as to suggest “Republicans may be better off if the election is about values instead of money,” implying that Rick Santorum is preferable to Mitt Romney.

As much as moderate Republicans and cosmopolitan conservatives might lament the resurrection of the culture wars (which were foisted upon us, and appear to have been rekindled once again by liberal overreach), they were electorally fruitful for the GOP.

***

The trouble for Republican presidential hopefuls trying to make hay of a struggling economy is that, when times are hard, liberals can always out-promise and out-class-warfare their adversaries. Thus, national elections that focus instead on foreign policy or cultural issues have tended to skew more favorably to the GOP.

One could argue that times have changed — that postmodern Americans are no longer interested in preserving traditional American values — that we’re all too sophisticated or too civilized to care. I would say two things: First, prove it. Second, while today’s voters may be too sophisticated to fall for cheap “family values” pandering, I do not for one minute believe the vast majority of Americans have suddenly turned up their noses at sincere efforts to preserve a just and moral society.

I will reserve judgment on Bell’s book until I read it.  Moreover, the world is not a controlled experiment, thus “proving” the issue either way is not truly possible.  However, there are a number of potential problems with the  narrative of social conservatism suggested by these pieces. (more…)


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