Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Personal Aside: Wobbly Wycliffe Defends Notre Dame—No Surprise, Always a Company Man…Four Thoughts While Shaving.


Not long after I attacked Mayor Daley in a “Tribune” Op Ed for living a contradiction as Catholic and a pro-abort…which somehow got in the paper…its editorial page editor, Don Wycliffe, the first black to hold the post, a Catholic and ostensibly a pro-lifer called me on the phone and in his soft voice, conducted in a hushed whisper that makes you think he is covering the receiver with his hand, said:

“Er, uh, how are you today?”


“This is just to tell you…er, ah, as we have been, er, reexamining…or rather examining our list of writers we…that is those…or no—what I mean is we…looked at our outstanding commitments and the editorial board…well in a sense the editorial board but also others…they decided that we tend to feel…at least the tendency is to feel--.”

Get to it Mr. Wycliffe: I’m on the way out the door. You’re trying to say that my Op Ed services are no longer needed, is that it?

Er, ah, yes.

Earlier…several years earlier…we had lunch as he was asking me to write for them…where he said:

“I…well actually not I…but it is my sense that it would be advantageous…if not advantageous a decided plus—a plus in the sense that it would be a positive…to have a conservative write some Op Eds…if the conservative would observe the—well, not observe, but if he or she as the case may be, would write decorously—not necessarily embracing conservatism you understand—but write with a sense of--.”

You want a conservative who--.

“Rather like Doug Kmiec.”

Oh. The Notre Dame law school professor. You went to Notre Dame, Don, didn’t you?


Kmiec writes about the law in such a way as--.

“Not unduly, that is not to overstate, he writes with a point of view that is--.”


“Balanced. That’s it.”

Later an old line “Trib” staffer translated.

“He’s very cautious,” he said. “He was picked because of affirmative action. They think it’s neat to have a black who is conservative. But before he got the job he was put on a leash. Don’t change the editorial board’s pro-choice position. Also he was told `remember, not too conservative, now, Donald. Not too conservative.’ You know how the paper is now…it has all the guts of the Hinsdale country club.”

Right he was. You couldn’t tell a conservative Catholic pro-lifer ran the editorial page. Any more than today. I called him once after he ran a viciously anti-Catholic Op Ed by Robert McClory who was labeled a journalist. I recommended that since McClory is an ex-priest who left the church with great bitterness, his former job as a priest ought to be cited. He agreed. But since Wycliffe left, McClory is back being called a journalist and an adjunct journalism lecturer at Medill—which is what he trades on: not ex-priest.

Later, after his stint as editorial page director was completed, Wycliffe became the newspaper’s ombudsman or as they termed it “Public Editor.” Not just the first black to be Public Editor, the first Public Editor period. The “Public Editor” is one who dishes out self-scrutiny and bare-faced gutsy criticisms of the newspaper’s handling of certain issues. The greatest Public Editor ever to serve any newspaper was Daniel Okrent, who served two years for “The New York Times” starting in 2005. The normal term is two years. Okrent had never worked for “The Times” so he had no litany of old friends there. The first column he wrote for the paper said: let’s face it—this is a liberal newspaper: a very liberal newspaper and the news is often shaded to reflect its biases.

As my first editor used to say, “Holy S---!” I would say that same explective whenever I read Okrent. He was magnificent, brilliant and pulled no punches. He was very unpopular. Since then they’ve had Public Editors who merely correct misconceptions. But still not as bad as was Wycliffe as Public Editor of the “Tribune.”

When Wycliffe became Public Editor he approached it another way. That is, er, uh, he…well it doesn’t serve anyone…any person…to be nasty. So when people wrote him to criticize the newspaper, he answered them as a Company Man. He broke tradition only once: when he criticized the paper for giving two stories headlines after pro-lifers won elections as “Anti-Choicers Win.” I don’t know how that criticism rattled in the Tower but soon after, Wycliffe returned to being a Company Man. And not long later he was on his way to Notre Dame to teach journalism and to be a p. r. flack for the president. There he was a true Company Man with integrity because he was paid to be one.

He left Notre Dame some time ago. Yesterday, writing an Op Ed in the “Tribune” Wycliffe was a Notre Dame Company Man again, asking Notre Dame “not to go wobbly” and reconsider its invitation to President Obama to be its commencement speaker. The notion of Don Wycliffe telling anybody not to go wobbly is a howler. He begins his article by admitting he didn’t remember his own class’ commencement speaker. His father reminds him: Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Moynihan who I knew fairly well when he was a Nixon aide sold out his Catholic heritage to be a senator from New York, supporting pro-abort legislation throughout with the exception of partial birth when even Moynihan’s well-conditioned stomach started to regurgitate. Moynihan just happened to be a nominal Catholic Irishman, that’s all who obeyed his Dem media guy, the same one who told Mario Cuomo that being a pro-lifer wouldn’t do: the now sainted Tim Russert, late of happy memory.

Notre Dame has been on the Moynihan-Russert pro-Irish pro-choice road for a long time. Even Wycliffe can’t remember when it began.

Still, in his Op Ed yesterday he made it sound reasonable: the job of the university is to be even-handed and picking a commencement speaker like Obama doesn’t mean it endorses his views. But of course as a Company Man he didn’t bother to report that Notre Dame is also going to give Obama an honorary degree which symbolizes the warm approbation of any university.

Then the Great Wobblier overreached. He wrote that by not extending the invitation Notre Dame would demonstrate its lack of self-confidence…unlike Jesus Christ Who had great self-confidence, reproving His followers who wished to defend him, who said “Do you not think that I cannot appeal to my Father and He will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?” When you finally recover from exasperation at this infantile view of theology without losing your lunch, you’re ready to say this:

Sorry, Wobbler but He didn’t say this to express the self-confidence of His human nature but the fulfillment of His divine. As He said in the next sentence (which you decided not to quote): “But how then should the scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” Meaning He was giving Himself up out of His own free will, saying later once again, “all this has taken place so that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.”

Insofar as Notre Dame has a spiritual mission any longer or a soul…which is questionable…it is to examine all sides of issues, yes, but primarily to educate students to understand the end of man, the ultimate goal of our existence, which is beatitude which can only be beatitude with God and a sharing in His own beatitude—in essence to know Him, love Him and serve Him in this world and to be happy with Him forever in the next. The selection of Barack Obama aside from transferring worldly “prestige” to the university (which it is willing to sell off its integrity to bask in) is not even an intellectual feat since Obama has determined the question when life begins is “above my pay grade”—life’s beginning which despite his lamentable ignorance he has been eager to arbitrarily end, as in the snuffing out of infants born live after botched abortions, deprived by Obama’s ruthless, irresponsible King Herod-like actions of (a) their lives, (b) nutrition while they suffer in inexpressible pain, and of (c) human nurture such as you could like to give a dying animal.

Tough words, Don but by that weasel-worded Op Ed you have shown yourself a spiritual and inhumane ignoramus, citing Christ’s mission wrongly as one of His human “self-confidence”…missing His divine nature essential in achieving our redemption…and utterly self-blinded by your chauvinistic zeal to see the first black president sacrilegiously honored at the old school.

That’s really what it’s all about, Wobbler, isn’t it? Obama’s black.

My advice to you, O Wobbly One, is to contact Notre Dame and ask for your tuition money back…and then go to confession. You’ve been defrauded by your school and misled by racial chauvinism into neo paganism.

Thoughts While Shaving.

1. The fact that the New York special 20th district congressional race is too close to call in a district which while originally Republican supported a Democrat (who was named to the U. S. Senate to replace Hillary Clinton)…is, let’s face it, exciting for Republicans. It presages a roaring return in the 2010 off-year. When last I looked with all 610 voting precincts reporting, Democrat Scott Murphy was leading Republican Jim Tedisco by only 65 votes out of more than 154,000 cast with more than 10,000 absentee ballots still to be counted. Whooeeeee!

2, The drive to condition us to accept the homosexual lifestyle continues so subliminally we aren’t supposed to notice. Last February the long-running daytime serial “All My Children” showed the longtime protagonist, Susan Lucci, a Catholic pro-abort who played the role of Erika Kane for 36 years beaming with joy as her daughter married another woman. ABC is the gayest network. In its 2008-09 lineup of the four major networks there are 35 repeater homosexual roles, of which 15 come from ABC.

3. ACORN wants to help the Census count how many Americans there are. During the past few months it has been signing up some of the 1.4 million temporary workers required to take the 2010 census. Skew the numbers with skill and it will affect congressional redistricting in the future.

4. This business about liberal Democrats…the ones who want to penalize the rich and spread the wealth around…stiffing the feds on their taxes is becoming serious enough for a psychological study. Now the latest offender is the Health and Human Services nominee Kathleen Sebelius (nee Gilligan), a Catholic pro-abort and daughter of a former Ohio governor, pro-abort Catholic John Gilligan. She just “discovered” that she and her husband, Gary, a federal magistrate judge in Kansas owed a total of $7,040 in back taxes and $878 in interest from 2005 to 2007. Add her to Tim Geithner who’s in charge of collecting our taxes but who was in arrears in paying his own and Tom Daschle Obama’s first pick for HHS secretary and you wonder this: if they weren’t named by Obama originally, would they have gotten away with not paying sufficient taxes? I mean, Sebelius is the governor of Kansas for crying out loud. Answer: all of them probably would.

Which is another confirmation to me of the old cliché “liberal phony.” Liberals are notorious…from Al Gore on down…for not kicking in much more than peanuts from their own pockets to charities. They’re notorious for insisting that the poor send their kids to substandard public schools in the inner city while they…ala the Obamas…send their children to private schools.

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