Saturday, November 17, 2007

"It is interesting when editors 'spike' [suppress] stories like KGB assets in an old cold war novel."


‘Spiked’ in the exchange of free speech

November 17, 2007

Paul D. Perry
Waxahachie Daily Light
Copyright 2007

In the 1980 fictional spy thriller “The Spike” by Arnaud de Borchgrave and Robert Moss, news reports are suppressed. In journalistic nomenclature they are “spiked.” In this particular story, left-wing ideologues, a few who are Soviet(KGB) agents, and some who are merely naive conspire. The KGB agents are, of course, the key manipulators. Most happen to be working for newspapers and magazines in the United States. In several cases in the novel, national security is undermined by their activities. The novel is reported to be loosely based upon selected real events.

As a writer I have never experienced anything quite as melodramatic. However, even as one who has some conservative credentials, I have had several articles “spiked,” ironically by conservatives, when I have dared to point out how some Republicans have fallen off the wagon, as it were. Gov. Perry, for instance, has his censors among some in the blogsphere, as well as a few periodicals.

I have had a few articles declined or “spiked” by conservative publications because I was willing to take the Guv to task for his bulldog support of the property-rights-usurping Trans-Texas Landeater — oops, make that the Trans-Texas Corridor — as well as his desire to unconstitutionally mandate the vaccination of the pre-pubescent against a form of venereal disease. That particular vaccine was new on the market. Never mind that some of his buddies seem to be in on the effort for benefits of their own.

Censorship has yet to raise its ugly head, in my experience, on the opinion page of the Daily Light. Natalie Guyol and I do not agree on very much except perhaps certain negative aspects of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, a thing or two — well heck — a lot of things about Rudy Giuliani and free expression, yet we both have our opinions published in the Waxahachie Daily Light. Your local daily supports freedom of speech and has a good record for allowing a great diversity of opinions to appear within its pages. Score several for the home team.

However, I have been asked to tone down my opinions for other publications, sometimes quite pointedly. Weakly, almost apologetically, one editor informed me that while the Governor had his problems, he didn’t want to be too hard on him. Undoubtedly that particular editor feared losing access to our Texas head of state. While I have written more than several pieces for that publication, I am through, for now, unless there is a change of policy. It is interesting when editors “spike” stories like KGB assets in an old cold war novel.

The last straw had nothing to do with the Governor. It had to do with protecting a political consultant. A little background is probably in order. With some caveats, I am a free trader, although I believe we need some protection for key strategic industries. I also think we need penalties for countries who are caught cheating, but I think active world trade has worked to increase prosperity for most people, generally.

Conversely, perhaps, I believe in regulated immigration. Some immigration is probably desirable, but I do not believe in the type of unregulated mess we have in regard to immigration in the United States. As a sovereign nation, we have the right to limit immigration to whatever level can be haggled out in our political system. Mexico, for instance, limits immigration from her own southern neighbors and even regulates the amount of time that citizens of the United States can spend in their country. That being said, I believe that we in the United States should first and foremost be loyal to and respectful of our home country, even if one of us happens to be a political consultant who in this case “consults” and co-authors with a former President of Mexico. Color me red, white and blue.

I am a Texan and a citizen of the United States so ostensibly is Rob Allyn the political consultant who was the co-author of Vicente Fox’s — the former President of Mexico — book a Revolution of Hope. I have already reviewed the book for this column, but let’s visit some things that really stick in my craw. Fox and Allyn’s book criticizes U.S. politicians by name for wanting to restrict illegal immigration from Mexico. They also criticize U.S. politicians, by name, for not wanting to make more immigration legal than is now allowed by law. Congressman Tom Tancredo and Duncan Hunter receive special ridicule from Fox and Allyn. While the Congressmen’s positions on these issues are not the same as mine, I find myself much closer to their position than Allyn’s.

To me there is a propriety issue here as well. I do not think it is appropriate for a U.S. citizen to join a former foreign head of state in criticizing U.S. office holders. Let Rob Allyn issue his own independent statement criticizing U.S. politicians if he wishes. That is his right as a citizen of the United States. However, it is at the very least bad form to assist a foreigner in quasi-diplomatic wrangling and positioning.

As co-author Allyn is responsible for his statements. He allowed his name to be attached to the book as an author. The cover of the book says, “and Rob Allyn.” To me Rob Allyn’s opinions are a threat to me, my family and the Republic that is the United States in the long run. I think that is a defensible comment, and I believe Mr. Allyn’s seeming lack of concern for what is a majority view in his own party ( Republican) is also fodder for a reasonable discussion.

Yet Mr Allyn has his protectors in the press. I was told “he is a friend of mine and can’t we reword that” by one editor of a widely read blog. Initially I was going to go along, but in the final analysis I said no. Someone has to draw the line.

Paul D. Perry is a contributing Sunday columnist for the Daily Light. He is a local businessman and mediator.

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