Friday, June 10, 2005

Trashing Helms

Jesse Helms will release his memoir in Sept., but the N&O is on the offensive already. The N&O uses not the editorial pages (though some Helms-hating pablum from Steve Ford is sure to come soon) but the front page to "report" on the proofs of the book they have seen.

Now "reporting" on Helms' career is as major task. The writer would have to cover Helms' role in strengthening the U.S. military and challenging the Soviets during the Cold War and eventually winning that mammoth struggle.

The thorough writer would delve into the role Helms has played in preserving U.S. autonomy and sovereignty by fighting against the growing influence of institutions like the U.N., the I.C.C. and the World Court.

The writer might even venture how much the power of our federal government would have increased in domestic matters if Helms had not worked to keep the growth of govt. in check.

But the "reporter" focuses his attention almost exclusively on the race issue. He is not satisfied to report on the issue by telling us what Helms says in his book. Instead, he attempts to contradict Helms' explanation for his actions, votes and quotes on issues related to race.

Now maybe the writer knows better than Helms himself why Helms voted against elevating Martin Luther King to the status of Washington and Lincoln by giving him a federal holiday. But as a reader I would rather read what Helms has to say about his reasoning than rely on a reporter/editorialist.

The whole piece falls into the new mantra for the Liberals - Republicans are white racist religious zealots. At least Howard Dean had the courage to reveal the marketing strategy the party has adopted. But I don't think the N&O needs to be a part of the strategy.