Friday, June 18, 2004

A Public Spanking Over Bazian, From Yours Truly

Remember the Hatem Bazian flap where the UC Berkeley lecturer called for an intifada in the US that would be more radical than the one in Israel? It was linked just about everywhere, but LGF will do nicely in a pinch. Well, not long after, a free local paper, the Berkeley Daily Planet, did an interview with the apparently poor, put-upon Bazian, who whined that people were upset with him and were making thousands of death threats by email.

Anyway, I steer clear of the Daily Planet pretty regularly when I see it on the street, and the few times I've read articles have been when they were linked online from exterior sources like LGF. I heard the audio recording when it was linked by LGF. Then I read the Daily Planet article by the same road. Then I sent the following (quickly dashed-off) letter to-the-editor:
Absolutely ridiculous article (“UC Lecturer’s ‘Intifada’ Comment Brings Death Threats,” Daily Planet, May 25-27). First of all, he didn’t say “political intifada.” I heard an audio recording of the event. But more importantly, he didn’t mean it in a political sense, either. It strains common sense to think that he was talking about some sort of benign political realignment by using that word, especially since he explicitly related it to the Palestinian intifada and claimed that it would be more “radical” even than the murder and terrorism going on in Israel.

I also find it rather sad that Mr. Schiller blindly accepted and parroted Bazian’s silly claim to multitudes of death threats. Death t hreats are illegal. One might think that just maybe if someone was getting deluged with serious threats of harm, he would report them to the police and they would be investigated. But of course, actually looking into such a thing to see if there was any credibility to the those claims would be too taxing for Mr. Schiller, I suppose. By the way, saying someone ought to be shot in the head, while not a particularly nice suggestion, is not a death threat. I strongly suspect that most of the claimed “threats” against Bazian were of this degree, if not much less.

This is truly the worst sort of shoddy reporting. The article failed to look at Bazian’s dissembling with any kind of critical eye. You have effectively become a mouthpiece for his lies. Congratulations.
Just tonight, someone pointed out to me that the BDP had published my letter some time ago (last letter on the page). My friend pointed out that BDP actuallywas quite diligent about printing harshly disagreeing letters. Kudos to them for that much, at least.