by Benjamin Wachs
I try not to call Chron columnist Mark Morford out on his stylistic problem as a writer, because who has that kind of time? But as a fellow journalist I feel that research – knowing at least a little about what we’re writing about – is the very least we owe the public.
The very, very least.
So a few months ago I called him out on the sheer ignorance of his attacks against Christianity. Anti-Christian is fine, but hating on anyone from a position of ignorance is not. Today marks yet another Morford column that might not have needed to happen if he’d made a phone call (like journalists do), or checked out Wikipedia for Christ's sake.
Morford’s column… about what a terrible First Lady and human being Laura Bush is … is chock full of logical fallacies. But I’m going to give him a free pass on that: reasonable people can disagree on whether or not we want a First Lady who’s a political dynamo. I loved Hillary Clinton’s health care plan, but it was a disaster precisely because she was an unelected spouse sticking her nose into a democratic government. You could call that “nepotism” or “cronyism” or even “corruption” … but a rose by any other name would still be an unelected spouse sticking her nose into a democratic government.
But as I said, that’s not the problem with Morford’s column.
The problem with Morford’s column is also not that he called billionaire Theresa Heinz Kerry “self-made,” even though he knows full well she inherited her fortune, and all the “acumen” that comes with it. Although I do want to point that out, because it’s particularly stupid.
No, the problem is that the whole column is based on the premsie that Laura Bush has championed no worthy issues in her time in the White House. Said Morford:
“I challenge anyone reading this column right now to name one thing this woman has said or done in the past seven-plus years that shows her using her position as first lady to make any real difference. A single issue. A single notable appearance. A single daring, interesting, engaging ... anything.”
Um … okay. Burma.
Laura Bush has, according to reports, been one of the major impetuses for the U.S. to condemn Burma and attempt to assist its population against the oppressive military regime.
Don’t believe me? Here’s a New York Times article headlined: “First Lady makes Issue of Myanmar’s Junta.” It states:
In a gesture of public policy not normally associated with first ladies, she telephoned the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, on Friday and called on him to denounce the junta that rules Myanmar, the country formerly known as Burma.
“I wanted the U.N. to be on record saying, at least, that we know what’s happened in this recent crackdown,” she said in an interview on Wednesday.
Will that do? If not, Laura Bush has also been involved in issues on literacy (which Morfard knows and poo-poos), education and health.
And it’s okay if Morford doesn’t respect that, or Laura Bush. But to base the entire column on a premise that can be disproved by so little research?
Honestly, Morford, if you’re going to write about Laura Bush, couldn’t you at least Google her?