My neighbor Kathy Schaunaman apparently didn’t like my blog post about Clare Lopez (who is getting far too much attention on my blog today). But instead of commenting here or on the Dakota Free Press Facebook page, she decided to write a letter to Aberdeen American News, which ran Tuesday under the heading “Blogger Disrespectful to Speaker“:
Women’s rights are human rights. Whether black or white, rich or poor, Republican or Democrat, man or woman — we are all human beings that deserve the dignity of respect in this day and age.
Cory Heidelberger’s recent comments on his Dakota Free Press blog of female speaker Clare Lopez being compared to a “pole dancer,” and other statements referring to her as simply a sex object, shows a level of disrespect not just toward one female but for all women. Our society should not tolerate this sort of sexist behavior from anyone. As the saying goes, “Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.”
Cory’s inability to discuss the ideas presented by a former CIA case officer and world-renowned intelligence specialist, Clare Lopez, is a statement in and of itself. But stooping to objectifying Lopez as a sex object is wrong and should never be tolerated in our society [Kathy Schaunaman, letter to the editor, Aberdeen American News, 2017.04.18].
The Aberdeen American News runs my response this morning:
In her April 18 letter, Kathy Schaunaman misreads my writing and misrepresents my character (“Blogger disrespectful to speaker,” Public Voice). The American News does a disservice to its readers by printing Schaunaman’s personal attack without printing the words I wrote that drew Schaunaman’s false assertions.
Letters to the editor usually address items that have appeared in the paper, not disagreements that arise between citizens in other venues. Printing Schaunaman’s letter about my blog post, which has never appeared or been mentioned in American News reporting makes about as much sense as printing a letter that I might write complaining about something my neighbor wrote on Facebook or said at the coffee shop.
I invite Kathy Schaunaman to apologize for her poor reading comprehension and the misrepresentations resulting therefrom. I invite American News readers to read the text that Schaunaman misread, the critique I posted online on April 6 of traveling speaker Clare Lopez’s dreary and deceptive conspiracy-theory slideshows. My text, titled “Anti-Islam Speaker Brings Propaganda Pole Dance to Aberdeen Tonight,” is available online on Dakota Free Press at http://bit.ly/lopezlies.
Thank you, dear readers, for going to the source, reading for yourselves, and making up your own minds [CAH, letter to the editor, Aberdeen American News, 2017.04.20].
Coincidentally, today’s AAN also features a letter from Jan Norby saying the racist rhetoric Lopez presented in Aberdeen deserved protest:
I wondered what would bring 200 people out to a recent meeting at the Dakota Event Center sponsored by the Americans First, Task Force. So, I did some research on their speaker, Clare Lopez, vice president for research and analysis for the Center for Security Policy.
The very first sentence stated Clare Lopez is a widely cited right-wing conspiracy theorist with ties to a number of hawkish policy institutes who formerly worked as a CIA operations officer. She is best known for her racist rhetoric about Muslims and her claims that the Muslim Brotherhood “infiltrated” the U.S. government and that President Obama “switched sides” on the war on terror. Lopez claims that her view of Islam is self-taught.
She is the author of a 2013 Gatestone Institute report alleging the group’s involvement in a decades-long plot to infiltrate the U.S. government and spread “Sharia law” like the Muslim Students Association and the Council on Islamic-American Relations, among other mainstream U.S.-based Muslim organizations.
I think this gives us a pretty clear picture of what 200 people came to listen to. Now I see why there were protesters outside the meeting. We should have been there supporting them! [Jan Norby, letter to the editor, Aberdeen American News, 2017.04.20]
The Aberdeen American News will gladly receive your letters to the editor at this link. I will gladly receive your comments below.