The quality of journalism in New Hampshire takes a serious hit almost every time the publisher of the state’s largest paper, The Union Leader, picks up his pen. Or launches his keyboard. Joseph W. McQuaid has demonstrated time and again that his grasp of complicated issues is tenuous and his processing of them is challenged. His latest editorial offers ample documentation.
In an editorial he ordered placed on the front page of this morning paper — possibly to the embarrassment of some very good, thoughtful employees — McQuaid offered some dense thoughts about Ebola highlighted by calling President Obama’s policies in confronting the epidemic “crazy.”
Mr. McQuaid is upset about the potential spread of Ebola, which is a reasonable thing to do. But he’s flaming hot about the President’s failure to ban all travel to and from West Africa to the United States. He believes this because — and here he leans on right-wing columnist Thomas Sowell’s savage, witless conjecture — that Obama no longer cares about protecting the American people. That’s right. The President who drives Republicans crazy doesn’t care about letting loose a medical epidemic in his own nation (do try and remember he wasn’t born in Kenya, Mr. McQuaid).
This is lunacy. It is irresponsible, shameless, unprofessional journalism. It makes the editorial page of this newspaper seem even more juvenile and empty than it often appears. Although, reading its editorial page — imagined by Mr. McQuaid and his legions structured as sort of a junior version of the Wall Street Journal albeit minus intelligence, reason, insight and logical opinion — leaves readers with the impression that serious issues routinely can be dealt with with brevity abetted by simple-mindedness.
Here’s what’s behind it: Republican strategy, although slightly perverted. Few mainstream Republicans are calling the President crazy. But the party’s extreme conservative hirelings have devised a strategy to make everyone fearful in general terms. They want voters to see the nation is not working because there are so many threats and our President is overwhelmed (or maybe underwhelmed).
Do you doubt this? Consider the words of Sen. Rand Paul, speaking to conservatives, presumably Mr. McQuaid among them, “The problem of government now is getting government to work.” Really? Who keeps it from working? Who shuts down the government? Who refuses to pass legislation? Who refuses to govern? The answer to all those questions is conservative Republicans, or rather conservatives like Mr. McQuaid who have a ludicrous, childish sense of government.
Rigorous thought, opinion shaped by facts, a far-reaching intelligence and curiosity should be the hallmarks of a good, edifying and challenging editorial page. Those qualities are as conspicuously absent at the Union Leader as common sense and decency are missing from Mr. Sowell’s column. Mr. McQuaid’s front-page plea is strictly politics. Low-down, dirty, cringing politics.
The Union Leader’s editorial page and Mr. Sowell’s column are nothing less than a disgrace. Shame on their perpetrators. They do no honor to the people and policies they endeavor to support.