Our View

Is the Advertiser that desperate for letters to the editor?

by Leslie Turk

Reader opinions should be encouraged. Even the crazy ones. Lies, not so much.

The IND has a policy about letters to the editor. We won't print them if they're total BS or outright lies. Exception to the rule: when we use the letter as an object lesson.

It would be great if The Daily Advertiser were utilizing some version of this letters policy. Apparently it isn't.

A fine example of failing to do so is the featured letter in Monday's paper from a submitter identified as Rayne resident Larry Guidry, prominently located on the daily's Op Ed page. It's the only letter the Advertiser chose to run that day. The topic of his letter is a variation on the well-known meme "we're living in an evil socialist state," a state Guidry seems to believe is being created by our dictator-in-chief u-know-who.

Presuming the Advertiser bothered to verify Guidry's authorship of the letter, the authenticity stops there, since as it turns out the allegations Guidry makes in his letter are totally, demonstrably false and could have been identified as such had the most basic level of verification occurred. Yeah, they could have just Googled it.

The letter claims, without any resemblance to truth, that Saul Alinsky, the Chicago community organizer, laid out eight solemn rules (10 Commandment style) on how to create the ultimate socialist state.  But first some context. Alinsky, among other dastardly deeds according to the far right, did author Rules for Radicals (the one thing correct in Guidry's letter), a how-to book on "how to effect constructive social change" (Alinsky's words). Much has been made of the book, generally it's been speculation about Alinsky and his relationship with President Obama, another well-known Chicago community organizer. A good deal of the far right sturm und drang is nonsensical theories about how the two plotted to overthrow our democracy. The idea of this happening is more than comical since, given their age differences, Obama could not have been older than 10 when the plotting began. By that time his commie comrade Alinsky was dead.

Below is Guidry's letter:

Now back to the specifics of the allegations in the letter.

What's wrong with it is that it is a lie. Alinsky didn't say or write that. No, Guidry didn't make it up himself. He's probably a nice guy. He's just passed along talking points he found somewhere else he thought to be true. Many of us recognize this kind of sourcing. If it's on the Internet, it's gotta be true, right? Not that we expected Guidry to do his homework, but readers of the daily do have a reasonable expectation the paper's editors would do theirs before publishing. And, yes, other newspapers with letters to the editor standards do this.

Just Google "Alinsky, rules for radicals, how to create a socialist state." One of the first, if not THE first, is the trusty, pesky, Snopes.com fact checker. Not familiar with the site, check it out here.

Snopes does the Advertiser's work for it. Guidry's letter is total BS. Visit the site and see what Alinsky actually said. It bears no resemblance to what's alleged on the daily's op-ed page.