Thursday, March 02, 2006

All it takes is an ill-considered adjective...

...in order to abandon reporting in favor of editorializing.

Today's object of scrutiny is the article on the Legislature page, headlined "Bill condemns funeral pickets."

http://www.cjonline.com/stories/030206/leg_funeral.shtml

What we have here is another Phelps story (why must it so often be). This is today's item about the legislature's draft resolution, denouncing his message. I should probably get it off my chest that I think Phelps is an ass...Phelps is wrong...I won't shed a tear when someone veers off the road to turn him into a speedbump...that I understand the contexts in which he leverages his hatred for maximum effect, etc., etc.

I should also give you my standard civil-libertarian boilerplate about despising everything he stands for while defending his right to stand for it.

As such, I think this resolution is poorly-conceived and well-meaning at best, and unconstitutional, cynical ass-covering by our political class at worst. I don't believe the imprimatur of government should be used to condemn any constitutionally protected speach.

With that off my chest, back to the article...

In the fifth graf, Ric Anderson writes:
"The resolution came days after the Senate approved a watered-down version of a bill originally designed to create a protest buffer extending 300 feet from the entrance to a mortuary, church or cemetery where a funeral is conducted."
There are many, less loaded adjectives that could have been used in place of "watered-down" to express the idea that the bill had to be modified to satisfy whatever concerns needed to be satisfied in order for the Senate to pass the measure.

"Watered-down" indicates a diminishment and as such, reads like a value judgement. As soon as there is room in story copy for value judgements, it's an op-ed piece.

-30-

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