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OF MEANING AND SCARE TACTICS
February 11th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

I’d mentioned that the Capitol Hill Times, the weekly neighborhood paper for which I’d worked in a couple of stints, is now owned by a legal services entrepreneur as a vehicle for legal notice ads.

The new-look CHT has now appeared.

It looks clean and modern.

And it looks like the new management is truly interested in providing space (if not much money) toward neighborhood news coverage.

And it’s got a locally based editor, Stephen Miller, who seems to really want intelligent discussion of the issues of the day.

That’s certainly what he says in his column for the Feb. 8 issue.

It’s about Seattle University’s Search for Meaning Book Festival, held the previous Saturday. Besides book sales and signings, the festival included speeches and panels by authors representing myriad flavors of religion in America.

Miller talks about the need for good questions instead of easy answers.

And he talks briefly about some search-for-meaning related trends in the news, as discussed by speakers at the festival. Among them:

The threat of Sharia law. A Mormon nearing the White House. Federal funds paying for abortions. A redefinition of marriage.

Except that trends 1 and 3 do not really exist.

Nobody’s trying to impose Sharia law in any part of the U.S.

There is no federal funding for abortions, and nobody’s proposing to start any.

These are merely right-wing scare campaigns.

They’re just as fake as the right-wing-only cable channel’s annual hype over a nonexistent “war on Christmas.”

If Miller did not want to address this complicating factor in his limited print space, he could have described these “trends” more accurately as allegations, promoted by some of the festival’s speakers.

Miller’s column asks us to pursue “intelligent discussion.”

A big part of that is distinguishing what’s really going on in the world from the spin and the bluster.


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