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|Tracking the truth even when it goes into unpopular territory|
|07/30/01 at 15:57:18|
|By Charley Reese |
Tracking the truth even when it goes into unpopular territory
Published July 29, 2001
Now to fill the rest of the space.
I thought I might answer a few questions. People often have asked how a columnist as conservative as I am could be published. I have you to thank for that. My readership numbers have always been very high. And that's the answer to your question.
Those of you who like my column, however, owe some thanks to the Orlando Sentinel. I've made a lot of people quite angry, but the Orlando Sentinel has never yielded to pressure. They have never censored my column. They have never asked me not to write on any particular topic with only two exceptions. I'll get to those in a minute.
No writer could ask for more than that and I am grateful to the succession of editors and publishers who have stood fast behind me.
The two exceptions occurred when Jim Squires was editor and I was writing a local column. Two particular columns he thought might start a race riot and asked if I would agree to write on another topic. I did, of course, and he was probably right about the consequences. As an editor, he had to be concerned about consequences. As a writer, I've always written without regard for the consequences. I've always figured that once I've told the truth (as best as I can determine it at the time), then my job is finished. How people choose to react to that truth is not my concern.
But those two exceptions over such a long span of years is something to marvel about.
Another question people ask is why I changed my position on the Israeli-Palestinian question. The answer is quite simple. Initially I believed the Israeli version of the country's history. A new generation of Israeli historians, however, began to publish works that proved the official Zionist version was made up of lies and half truths. The Palestinians had indeed been done a grave injustice.
After that revelation, I contacted Palestinians who live in this area, and they very generously gave me their time and insights. It is not pleasant to realize you've been so wrong, not only about Israel's history, but about Palestinians as human beings. You won't find any better people.
I've always believed a journalist has a duty to keep tracking the truth even when it tracks into unpopular territory. I've tried to do that. With what success will depend frankly on how you see the truth. I've noticed over the years there seems to be fewer and fewer people who know how to disagree agreeably.
Thirty years is a long time to spend in one building, especially one that in most parts has no windows and is being remodeled on a continuous basis. I've not only survived various editors and publishers but also a number of paint schemes, wallpapers, flooring choices and walls moved hither and yon. Fortunately I, myself, have been moved about, so I feel no sentimental attachment to the building. I just hope we never get eight inches of rain in a short time frame. I don't think there is enough support to the ceiling left to hold that weight. But what do I know about civil engineering? Not a thing except never to walk under things that could fall on you.
For those of you interested, my mailing address is P.O. Box 2446, Orlando, FL 32802, and my e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Eventually you'll be able to find my columns on the Net, but at the moment I can't give you an address.
I have to tell you, however, that my one regret about the column business is that the volume of mail, both snail and electronic, has grown so great I can't answer it all. I read it, but there simply isn't time to answer every one, and I regret that.
On the whole, I've had a lot of fun. I've had fun in the newspaper business, in politics, in the Army, as a reserve deputy, and in the advertising agency business. I plan to have fun as a retiree. I've always followed the advice of an old samurai, even before I knew he had said it: Life is too short to do anything you don't want to do.
This is my farewell column to readers of the Orlando Sentinel. I'm not very good at this kind of thing. Thanks and goodbye
I've always been curious, and I still am. The great thing about curiosity is that there is always so much we don't know we never run out of things to discover and learn.
Some people have thought me too much of a pessimist, but I think of myself as a realist. I can't help that I've seen far too much evil, cruelty, brutality, death, dishonesty and hypocrisy to be a happy optimist. On the other hand, I've seen too much goodness, kindness, honesty, integrity and bravery to be a pessimist. The Chinese Taoists have it right. There is always light and darkness, good and evil, cowardice and courage, good times and bad times. Life is never all one or the other. It's always a mix, and we have to be strong enough to accept that. As an Asian sage put it, life is as it is whether we understand it or not.
So, Sentinel readers, adieu. Thanks for all your kind thoughts and letters. To those of you who sent unkind thoughts, go to hell.
Copyright © 2001, Orlando Sentinel
|Re: Tracking the truth even when it goes into unpopular territory|
|07/30/01 at 16:10:55|
[quote]So, Sentinel readers, adieu. Thanks for all your kind thoughts and letters. To those of you who sent unkind thoughts, go to hell.[/quote]
HAHAHAHAHA... 3 words to charley reese: you da man 8-)
man his columns were the best... its a bummer to see him retire... but at least he created some waves in the water.... he has exposed the truth to a large audience.
may Allah guide him to the srtaight path, ameen :)
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