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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Searching For The Sipos Shame Threshold

Tom Sipos, somebody who has no clue how many antiwar articles he is publishing per issue in a newspaper he edits is in no position to point fingers about knowing all the contents of your antiwar tabloid.  Unlike any previous CF editor that I know of, you treat the letters to the editor section as an extension of your own (already-expanded) editorial page, reserving yourself arbitrary space to rebut nearly anything you disagree with. (Indeed, you did so again with my Barr LTE, and I bet that only my prior dare restrained you from doing it to my libervention essay.)  You thus trained me long ago not to look closely at your LTE section, because I find that reading your opinions in LPCA-paid-for space is both unrewarding and tedious. So no, I hadn't noticed that my LTE was included in a letters section that started on page 3, lurched backwards to page 2, and ended on page 7.   (I don't recall CF splitting articles with so many page-jumps before your tenure; I guess that's another Sipos improvement.)  In fact, when my co-worker Jascha Lee alluded to my libervention essay in that issue's LTE section, I had to ask him what he was talking about.

You say you have clearly improved CF, that you are confident of LP-internal support for what you've made your signature topic, and that "most current ExCom members have been very supportive".  If you really believed these things, you wouldn't have wasted precious CF column inches pleading for the LPCA delegates to save you from what you claim will be my organized effort at next weekend's convention to fire you. You quote me saying I hope to "fix the California newsletter", but I guess it hadn't occurred to you that whatever influence I have comes from my ability to make a case in public writing, and not from backroom conspiracies.  So no, contrary to the unsubstantiated paranoid claims you saw fit to print in CF, I have not talked to any current or prospective member of ExCom about firing you.  (I'll continue to try to shame you about your use of CF space and your sloppiness with facts, but I now suspect that my strategy can only backfire.  Some people, it seems, know no shame.)

By contrast, you jumped all over Rob Power's calculated suggestion that you print some liberventionist writing of mine right before I'm up for re-election.  When I offered my April 2007 essay "Defending Libervention In Iraq", I had no idea that you would deceive your readers by letting them assume I had freshly submitted it for the March 2009 CF.  My essay said "we have now achieved our two most important war aims", and any competent editor would know that you don't reprint a two-year-old essay with such temporal language and let it look like it was written last week.  I've favored U.S. withdrawal from Iraq for almost three years now, but you misleadingly titled my essay "A Case For War", inviting casual readers to think I favor continuing the war.  Touché, Mr. Sipos.  I obviously have a lot to learn about pre-convention machinations from you and Mr. Power.

These machinations of yours are an interesting contrast to your outright mendacity elsewhere in that issue.  In the same issue as my LTE busting you for getting your facts wrong in an earlier editorial, you write about Bruce Cohen that "under his tenure, CF was silent on the war".  In fact, you had seen me point out multiple times that Cohen ran five anti-intervention pieces in his tenure (and zero pro-libervention pieces).  I had even given you the list of articles -- with dates -- to rebut your earlier claim that "Bruce ran the paper without mentioning the war."  How many times can you print this documented falsehood before it qualifies as a lie?  Again, sir, have you no shame?

Re: "obsession" -- I use quotation marks to faithfully report what people have actually and verifiably said, and don't indulge in using them around paraphrasings for dramatic effect as you've been known to do.  If I wanted readers to think you'd called your antiwar focus/priority an "obsession", I would have put it in quotes.  When I say "your admitted X" and X is not in quotation marks, then X is my characterization of something you've made an admission about.