I haven't seen a lot published about this article by Jeff Smith in the Citizen. I guess I will go ahead and discuss it.
The one thing I will have to give Mr. Smith is that he had enough guts to publish his phone number with the article. So I called him.
I have never met Mr. Smith before, so I wasn't certain what to expect. I basically started the conversation by pointing out that this was the most vile, vapid, un- researched, lazy article or opinion piece that I had ever seen published in a "real" newspaper. He went on to tell me that this was an opinion piece and was separate from the news reporting that the Citizen does. He then asked if I was a Graf supporter.
I told him that I was a blogger, and very interested in fair and accurate reporting which there was none of in this article. He actually sneered at me (as much as you can on the phone) and told me that he has never read, nor will he ever read a blog. He explained that if me or anyone else had a disagreement with his piece we could submit a letter to the editor (Once upon a time, someone could actually buy ad space to respond and go around the editor, but that would now violate federal law. Thank you John McCain.)
I asked him if he knew Randy Graf, and he told me that he had met him once. I then asked him if Randy Graf was a racist. He said "yes" without any hesitation or hedging. I then asked him what Randy had ever said or did that would make one think that he was a racist. He told me that Randy was more careful than that, but he could just tell by the way he carried himself that he was a racist. So, no, he had no proof other than his ability to see a man's character by his own all-seeing psychic ability.
He then confided that he has made it his current life's mission to make sure that Graf is never elected.
So there you have it. An article totally devoid of facts, specifics, or fairness as an attempt to paint Graf as a racist, which the author admits that there is no real proof other than the author's belief that he "feels it in his soul."
I asked him if he felt that it was just as bad to call someone a racist on no evidence than to actually be a racist, and he told me that there was no comparison at all. I guess there is a different standard for those of us who require evidence and proof than those who are magically blessed with the ability to see into men's souls.
Or something like that. Somebody better inform Graf's Panamanian-born wife that he hates South Americans.
All-in-all this was an embarrassment for the paper. I would have been equally as upset if something like this were done to Gabby Giffords or any other candidate. I do have to wonder with all of the outrage manufactured for the Ad Watch about Giffords, if there are any Democrats out there who would stand up to call this for what it is, a vindictive poisonous attack devoid of proof or evidence and bad for discourse as a whole.
I suspect that there are, and that gives me some amount of comfort and hope for politics.
Newspapers on the other hand. . .