Please pass the salt

Let's make things unpalatable for the enemy

Issue: "Judicial overreach?," Dec. 2, 2000

What would you have given for the chance, every time over the last two weeks that you squawked with exasperation at the performance of the big and secular media, to be able to do anything at all to counter their awful work? If ever an alien and antagonistic worldview has aided and abetted the destruction of our republic, that perspective has been amply and shamelessly displayed during both the campaign and the denouement of Election 2000.

So what did you say you would have given for such an opportunity? There should be a postage-paid envelope tucked into the folded gutter of this magazine, just to the left of the words you're reading now. And yes, by the time you finish this column, I'm going to ask you to slip it out, enclose a check, and send it my way. But first I want to make sure your dander has been aroused.

That shouldn't be hard. From the networks' blatantly early call of the state of Florida for Al Gore, to their stonewalling silence about any voting "irregularities" other than their darling Palm Beach butterfly ballot story, to their calculated and protracted efforts to discredit and destroy Katherine Harris-the day-by-day pattern betrayed a gang mentality that should embarrass the profession.

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Let us be clear. There are some good people working for the newspapers, magazines, radio stations, and television networks of America, and there were a few exceptions to the pattern I just described. Further, I reject wild conspiracy theories about calculated efforts by some small group somewhere to manage the day's news. Such conspiracies are unnecessary for a simple reason: A secularist, naturalistic, even deconstructionist worldview so pervades the people who shape every day's news that their message naturally overwhelms the plaintive voice of anyone holding to any other perspective. The numbers are so lopsided that it just seems like a conspiracy.

One little illustration, involving just one little word, should suffice. For several days running, the media-both print and electronic-blathered endlessly on about "her" deadline, referring to the Florida constitution's deadline for receiving vote totals from its various counties. It was never "the" deadline or "the constitution's" deadline. Over and over again, it was "her" deadline, as if Katherine Harris had arbitrarily and with evilly partisan intentions set a date of her own. The choice of that one word, whether calculated or careless, was amplified in a hugely damaging manner.

But ranting and raving, we must have learned by this time, won't help much. We can yell 'til we're blue in the face, but folks in the media still won't be able to be anything other than who they really are. They really are secularists, naturalists, and-more and more-deconstructionists, which simply means they don't think there's much meaning to life. It shows in their work.

That's why last year we established the World Journalism Institute. While I'm thrilled, of course, about the growing effect of WORLD magazine itself, and more excited about its future than I've ever been, here are two important reasons why you should join me right now in an all-out commitment to the parallel success of the World Journalism Institute.

The first reason is that WORLD magazine itself will in the months and years ahead urgently need the services of young men and women saturated with the mindset and skills that WJI fosters through its various programs. WORLD stands out for a reason; it approaches the news in a profoundly different way from that practiced by most media. For that very reason, WORLD can't look to traditional journalism schools for its reporters, writers, and editors. By and large, we have to train them ourselves. And it's not an overnight task.

The second reason takes on vastly bigger proportions. Already, we are seeing WJI graduates taking their outlook and skills right into the eye of the storm. More than a dozen of their stories have already appeared in WORLD itself. But even better, nearly a dozen of these young people have already staked out jobs with daily and weekly newspapers across the country, with radio stations and networks, with think tanks, and other places of influence. The speed with which this has happened has surprised us all. WJI has become a giant salt shaker, not being content just to complain endlessly but seasoning the media with a feisty flavor. (For more details about WJI, go to www.worldji.com on the Web.)

WJI's total budget is $350,000 annually-less than the yearly subsidies WORLD used to need just to stay afloat. Now WORLD itself no longer comes, as we used to do two or three times a year, to ask for your gifts. But World Journalism Institute does. We need a host of $25, $50, and $100 gifts; we need a few of $1,000, $5,000, $10,000, and even more. Your giving (fully tax deductible) will enable us to provide the very best faculty imaginable. It will let us offer scholarships to students who can't pay the full costs.

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