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Reply To Tom Gutting - Page 2 of 2

(Concluded From Previous Page)

To characterize that decision as "flying around the country like a scared child seeking refuge in his mother's bed after having a nightmare" was an obscenity, not an act of genuine and considered criticism.  It was an indecent wise crack by a little man who brought upon discredit upon himself.

To subsequently suggest that his comments did no more than "raise some doubts about the quality of [the president's] leadership"; and to further suggest that he was the victim of a lack of "commitment of editors and publishers to the ideals of free speech", is nothing short of intellectual dishonesty.  A dishonesty amplified by the fact that, at the end of the "Nightline" show to which I referred, Mr. Gutting admitted that that column should never have been written.

In so far as the "the ideals of free speech" are concerned, he of all people should know, that the protection of free speech is a prohibition against government interference, not against private actions.  To suggest, as he improperly does, that being fired for those comments he somehow represents a lack of commitment to free speech on the part of the publisher compounds his hypocrisy.
Publisher Les Daughtry Jr. was so upset when he read Mr. Gutting's original column that he wrote an apology to his readers in the next edition.  As related on "Nightline," he called Gutting into his office the next morning and told him that he did not believe they could continue to work together and properly terminated him.

Mr. Gutting has today, just as he had on the day he wrote his column, the right to seek employment on any newspaper in the land.  His freedom of speech is as unimpaired today as it was the day before he was fired.  Mr. Gutting does not have the right to require that a publisher employ him.   Nor did he have that right on the day before he was fired.  His right to free speech does not obligate anyone to provide him with a the means to publish his views.  For him to now suggest that his firing was somehow a betrayal of free speech by members of his profession compounds his obscenity and exposes him for the dishonest writer that he is.
- Tiresias -
8 October 2001

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