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Forum, June 17: Why Give Alex Jones Attention?


Friday, June 16, 2017
Why Give Alex Jones Attention?

I don’t get it. Reasonable people agree that with freedom comes responsibility, and shouting “fire” in a crowed auditorium as a joke is not a good example of freedom of speech. And by now most reasonable people accept that the Holocaust happened; it was real, over 6 million people died and suffered. We would not treat a Holocaust denier as credible or give him or her airtime.

This is why I question NBC’s decision to air Megyn Kelly’s interview of Alex Jones, a conspiracy theorist who has called the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., a hoax. To air this interview on Father’s Day adds to the insult. It is insensitive and a poor use of free speech.

Jones does not deserve a national platform to espouse his hideous, hurtful view that Sandy Hook didn’t happen. Jones already spreads his misguided thinking on his own website and radio program. Kelly’s insistence on airing the interview with Jones smacks of sensationalism, the attitude that this kind of reporting sells. Is this responsible journalism? Does Kelly convince Jones he is wrong in the interview? Will her effort give us more information about how someone becomes a conspiracy theorist and a Sandy Hook denier? I doubt it.

You could say that I have the freedom not to watch Kelly’s interview, which is correct. In today’s climate of denigrating the press and calling facts “fake news,” however, I would think a national television network would not perpetuate distortions of undeniable events. Not only will I not watch the interview, but it will be a long time before I turn on NBC.

Dena B. Romero

Hanover

Time to End Insults

Jennifer Rubin’s Wednesday column served no purpose beyond a venting of her disdain for President Trump and the Republican Party (“Why Does The GOP Follow Trump’s Lead?” June 14). The shooting in Alexandria that same day reflects the level of hatred that can be stirred by overheated political rhetoric. It’s time for an end to the insults and vitriol.

Jeff Lehmann

Lyme Center

Frightening Developments

How frightening to watch former military Cabinet members who have sworn oaths to protect their nation act as political apologists to Trump administration corruption. Last week it was National Security Agency Director Adm. Michael Rogers and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats. They refused to answer questions from Congress about Donald Trump, regarding attempts to get them to end the FBI investigation of fired National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, suspected of having illegal dealings with hostile foreign nations during the Trump campaign and transition. Last month it was National Security Adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Gen. John F. Kelly denying any nefarious meaning behind the suspicious (treasonous?) behavior of Trump’s closest adviser, son-in-law Jared Kushner. It brings to mind totalitarian governments run by dictators supported by their military forces.

Not only did Kushner (and Flynn and Attorney General Jeff Sessions) lie on their security clearance applications by not noting meetings with Russian officials in the past seven years (or even months), at a meeting with the Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak, Kushner and Flynn discussed setting up a secret communications channel through the Russian embassy to evade U.S. government intelligence services. Kislyak entered Trump Tower through the back to avoid public knowledge of his visit. Another secret meeting was that of the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Eric Prince, (who claimed to be speaking for Trump) with a Russian oligarch in the Seychelles Island during the transition.

Kushner also met with a Russian bank under U.S. sanctions for its tied to Putin. What are the financial ties between Putin and corrupt Russian oligarchs and Trump/Kushner family businesses?

Trump still refuses to acknowledge the proof provided by U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia hacked into and interfered with our election to harm Hillary Clinton and help Trump win.

Vice President Mike Pence insisted that “of course” none of the members of the Trump campaign or transition had “any” contact with Russian officials. The known count is up to 18 so far. A recent Forum writer said it well: End this mockery of a presidency (and administration) now.

Alice Morrison

Newbury,Vt.

Schools and the Second Amendment

Columnist Steve Nelson was infuriated (“We’re Losing Our Minds on Guns,” June 11) about school boards’ caution about making policy on gun rules, compared with trivial policies on dress. It is not “moral courage” they need, but clear justification of why they can restrict personal guns, similarly to restricting free speech (First Amendment — yelling fire in crowded gatherings).

Both the First and Second Amendments have stated, or been interpreted, that no law can abridge or infringe on freedom of speech, or the ability to bear arms, but local restrictions can be justified by worse risks to the public by application of competing rights. What is required is reframing the issue, not broadly contesting the Second Amendment prompted by personal frustration.

Andrew L. Taylor

Grantham

Scott’s Poor Strategy

Gov. Phil Scott’s budget veto has nothing to do with tax cutting and everything to do with his inability to lead. As a former member of the state Legislature and a lieutenant governor, Scott knows how the Legislature works in terms of preparing a budget. He was ideally suited to offer a comprehensive plan to lower costs. Instead, he rolled a hand-grenade into the tent. His late proposal to move teacher health care bargaining to the state level was just a ploy to set up the veto. His veto is pure politics: not the Vermont way, but certainly the Trump way.

Sadly, the events of the first months of his term have shown Scott to be someone who has just been playing at politics, not a true leader. Instead of building on his generation of service and developing a budget strategy that could win the support of a majority, he fecklessly used the schools to create a standoff that will not do anything but create ill will among the governed.

F.X. Flinn

Quechee

A Piece of Vermont Saved

As a lifelong Vermont resident whose lineage goes back to at least the early 1800s, I want to thank all who participated in raising money to save the I-89 Exit 4 area from exploitation for commercial use. I hope this will send a message to out-of-state investors that our Vermont is not for sale, to be used for their own gains.

I realize that growth in some areas may be warranted, but cannot condone using huge tracts of farmland to make investors wealthy. All who helped prevent this happening in Randolph deserve gold medals. Thank you for preserving some of our heritage.

Lorraine Zigman

Perkinsville

Bad, and Worse, Options

It’s seven months after the 2016 election, and a bitter divide still exists between the left and the right. Republicans support Donald Trump, a corrupt and dishonest man who I believe has been mobbed-up for decades. Democrats supported Hillary Clinton, arguably one of the most power-mad women on planet Earth.

Her long list of scandals and crimes stretch from Whitewater to the heinous destruction of Libya. In a sane and just world, both of these scoundrels would have been imprisoned years ago, not candidates for the White House. This recent election clearly indicates just how degraded the country is. We are really ill. We need to take our medicine. It’s going to be a bitter pill.

Neil Meliment

Hanover