A little balance, please

Certain Speculation
By CB Hackworth
newsmanatl [at] gmail [dot] com

Kyle Wingfield, AJC

Kyle Wingfield, AJC

First, credit where it is due:

Notwithstanding some insulting theatrics surrounding the selection of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s newest columnist, Kyle Wingfield has quickly proven himself to be a good hire.

He is calm and rational… a good, clear writer who makes compelling arguments… and he focuses on the subject at hand rather than his own ego.

So, now that the AJC finally has a decent conservative commentator, I have a small but seemingly reasonable request:

Can we please have at least one decent liberal commentator, too?

The contrast between Wingfield’s editorial and Cynthia Tucker’s, almost side-by-side on the same page of Sunday’s AJC, is startling and disconcerting.  It’s not the difference between conservative and liberal; it’s the difference between normal and crazy.

In “No Time for Race Cowards,” Wingfield lays the groundwork for an almost-convincing argument that the Voting Rights Act may have outlived its usefulness.  I happen to disagree with him on that topic.  However, he makes the other side sound like it is at least the product of a reasonable, thinking, and even decent person.

Cynthia Tucker, AJC

Cynthia Tucker, AJC

On the other hand, in “No Reason to Fear Detainees,” Tucker equates detainees at Guantanamo Bay with the waves of immigrants who once were welcomed to America by the Statue of Liberty, and she goes on to rant and rave (literally) over the fact that they have been refused entry, and apparently citizenship, to the United States.
Tucker acknowledges “65 percent of Americans oppose closing Guantanamo; 74 percent oppose moving any detainees to a prison in their state,” but simply dismisses all those people as being wrong.  That’s fascinating, because whenever the numbers work to her advantage — for instance, in an Obama popularity poll — she’s the first to cite percentages as irrefutable proof of the position she is advocating.

The column also acknowledges Harry Reid, the ultra liberal Senate majority leader, is among the “not in my backyard” Americans who oppose giving former Gitmo detainees sanctuary in the continental U.S. — and, again, she flat out says she is right and he is wrong.  When you are so liberal you are at odds with Harry Reid, something bad is wrong with you.

Tucker’s rhetoric is so high pitched and hysterical, it almost leaves you wondering if she’s been bitten recently by a wild squirrel without going in for a series of rabies shots.

Sean Penn probably loves columns like that, but for anyone who considers themselves liberal but not to the point of joining the Symbionese Liberation Army,  Cynthia Tucker does not speak for us.

Compare the last paragraph of her column with the last paragraph of Wingfield’s.

Tucker:  “Close Gitmo. Close it now.”

(Uh… or what?  You’ll kill a hostage?)

Wingfield:  “Eric Holder may be right that we are too cowardly, or maybe just too immature, to have such a serious discussion. I, for one, hope he’s wrong.”

Meglomania versus modesty.

One comes across as outraged that she is only writing about public policy rather than setting it herself.  The other one seems humbly attempting to educate his readers without pretending to have all the answers or claiming to be smarter than those actually in charge.

I do not care whether or not the AJC continues to employ Tucker or her even-more-fanatical colleague Jay Bookman, although they both make the paper look ridiculous.  Let them write what they want until they collapse or until the economy collapses, whichever comes first.

Those of us who consider ourselves Democrats but not crazy would really appreciate having a “voice of reason” who can articulate a liberal position as well as Wingfield can articulate a conservative position.

CB Hackworth has won a bunch of awards as a TV and print guy, including a Southeastern Regional Emmy last month.  We think Hackworth would be a great regular contributor to LAF.  Show him some love, please.  And if you don’t agree with him, the tough-love is OK too.

This entry was posted in AJC on by .

About live apt fire

Doug Richards is a reporter at WXIA-TV. This is his personal blog. WXIA-TV has nothing whatsoever to do with this blog, under any circumstances, in any form. For anything written herein, Doug accepts sole credit and full blame. Follow him on Twitter: @richardsdoug. All rights reserved. Thanks for visiting.

8 thoughts on “A little balance, please

  1. live apt fire Post author

    Hackworth overlooks the fact that Tucker was writing about Gitmo detainees who are charged with no crime. But because their home countries won’t take them back, they have no place else to go.

    With that emphasized, Tucker’s argument isn’t nearly as incoherent as Hackworth suggests. In fact, it makes quite a bit of sense — except for the fact that gun-shy politicians (like Harry Reid) know that voters may not bother to make the distinction that Hackworth likewise overlooks.

  2. griftdrift

    Tucker’s analogy to immigration is…strange.

    To be fair though, the better piece to compare may have been her’s on the Ricci decision where she actually praises the elimination of certain race based qualification exercises.

    As far as Wingfield, he’s driving me crazy because he doesn’t provide nearly the material Wooten did.

  3. Upland

    Symbionese Liberation Army? How old are you? And calling a reasonable man like Jay Bookman a fanatic is absurd. You must think Glenn Beck is mainstream.

    1. CB Hackworth

      I am two years younger than Cynthia Tucker, actually.

      As for Glenn Beck, he seems to be having a long nervous breakdown and probably needs to be institutionalized. Seriously.

      Also, I got the part about the detainees “who are charged with no crime” — and I am pretty sure most all the people in the poll get that part, too. The part I don’t get is what it has to do with automatic entry into the U.S., like some kind of “Get Out of Jail” card in Monopoly.

      I do admit I’m a little slow. Always have been. Maybe if Kyle Wingfield decides to write about the subject, I can understand a little better.

  4. Dash Riptide

    I’m not hardcore SLA material, but I could give the fascist insect that preys upon the life of the people such a pinch.

  5. Mr. Bear

    Okay; I’m not being sarcastic…. Do you know how hard it is to find a good liberal commentator?

    From an historical perspective, consider the late Bill Buckley and his program “Firing Line”. For better or worse, Buckley at least gave liberals the platform to expound their positions. I can’t find the reference, but Christopher Buckley’s tell-it-all book on his late father pointed out that many people of all political cuts that had appeared on Firing line later commented to him that at least Bill Buckley gave them a chance to fully speak their mind. Once expounded, of course, he chewed them up and tossed them out. Consider Christopher Hitchens on the topic:

    “Once the signature Bach chords had died away, and once he’d opened with that curiously seductive intro (“I should like to begin . . . “), you were given every opportunity to develop and pursue your argument. And if you misspoke or said anything fatuous, it was unlikely to escape comment. In my leftist days, if I knew I was going on the box with Buckley, I would make sure to do some homework (and attempt to emulate him by trying to make sure it didn’t show).”

    Please see:


    At least they were given their moment in the sun. Now, it is the liberals or conservatives who are trotted out, given a brief moment on the air, and then are subjected to a long harangue until it is time for a commercial. What has been lost is the spirited exchange of, dare I say, ideas.

    Considering the other side of an opinion is now so boring and time consuming. And we are the worse for it. Now we get the talking points rather than the greater theoretical considerations. Now we yell at each other instead of considering the values. I’m not sure that we’re making progress here.

    I do like Kyle Wingfield because he treats the reader as that, someone who has a mind that is willing to consider the options and aspects of an issue. Would that we could find someone to favorably articulate the advantages of what is happening to our society today. Instead, we get the mindless bombast.

  6. CB Hackworth

    Thank you. You said it much better than I did.

    Maybe the AJC should hire you!

    Seriously, your response here to a simple blog item is better written, and contains sounder logic and more intelligent references than almost ANYTHING locally produced on the AJC editorial pages.

    And, I couldn’t agree more with all your points.

  7. Mr. Bear

    I was one of about 200 souls that fed the fires of the “insulting theatrics” for the position that Mr. Wingfield now occupies. Upon sufficient reflection, I’m glad that I didn’t get very far in the process, if for no other reason than I’ve become averse to hard work. Yeah, a little hard work never hurt anybody, but why take chances? More seriously, why replace one aging white guy with another aging white guy? Besides, I’m liking the blogosphere. It’s great to not have to be worried about insulting the advertisers.

    And if there is going to be a serious discussion about the direction that we as a society want to go, the mainstream media does not seem to be it anymore. It’s not current enough, it doesn’t have the distribution and it is burdened by an existing framework of ideas. Yes, there are trolls out here, but they sometimes deliver interesting ideas. Me? I’m Chance, the gardener.


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