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August 20, 2006
LA Times Attacks Gibson, Silent On Young

Two days after the bigoted tirade Andrew Young unleashed in a Los Angeles periodical against Jews, Koreans, and Arabs, the Los Angeles Times attacks anti-Semitism ... by bashing Mel Gibson:

WHAT DOES IT TAKE to get yourself excommunicated from the church of celebrity? Allegations, even unproved, that you slaughtered your ex-wife (O.J. Simpson) or that you are a child molester (Michael Jackson) can make you radioactive, but it remains to be seen whether Mel Gibson's poisonous anti-Semitic tirade is enough to end his Hollywood career. Judging from Gibson's offer (made during his sentencing on drunk driving charges Thursday) to make public service announcements, he doesn't seem to think so.

Let's hope he is wrong. Gibson is guilty of more than just driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.12%. He broke one of Hollywood's most sacred rules — never let the public see what you're really like — proving himself to be a megalomaniacal, sexist anti-Semite. That should disqualify him from being held up as a role model worthy of a public service announcement.

Gibson should be declared celebrity non grata, left to wrestle with his own demons in private, as most other bigoted people get to do. Obscurity would be the most fitting punishment for the man.

This is a perfectly rational position to take, within the context of Gibson alone. Some have called for his excommunication from the church of Hollywood celebrity, and that's understandable, if a bit harsh. Gibson apologized, took complete responsibility, disavowed his statements in the strongest terms, and pledged to work with those he slandered to provide atonement. Some may choose to accept that atonement (if he delivers on it, which is still an open question), and some may not.

However, since Andrew Young said much the same thing while stone-cold sober and only apologized for saying it outside of Atlanta, one has to wonder why the Los Angeles Times does not use its editorial bully pulpit to cast out the former UN Ambassador from received society as well. Why no calls to shun Atlanta's mayor for his racist and anti-Semitic remarks? Young didn't even bother to offer to work with Jewish, Korean, and Arab community leaders to explore the dark recesses of his soul whence this rhetoric sprang.

Indeed, Young didn't even really disavow the sentiments. He said, “It never should have been said. I was speaking in the context of Atlanta, and that does not work in New York or Los Angeles.” Speaking in the context of Atlanta? Perhaps if one considers Cynthia McKinney and her father as representative of Atlanta -- which as elected officials, one could do so. And I note that the Times has not called for the shunning of either McKinney, nor Louis Farrakhan, for that matter.

Maybe the Times' editorial board should keep a running feature on their pages, a list of those who should be shunned for their bigotry. If they want to start calling for this kind of reaction, then they had better stay consistent. Otherwise, we will have to conclude that they have other agendas than just the eradication of bigotry in mind.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 20, 2006 10:09 AM

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