Another Day, Another Slander
Mark Hyman’s mailbag segments rarely rise to the level of meriting a response. By now, we all know the drill: save viewer comments for the lowest rated night of the week and only offer responses from critics when these quotations are (or can be made to look like) knee-jerk reactions or name calling. Never cite a coherent negative comment.
But Hyman’s recent segment airing comments by those who responded to his editorial on reinstating the draft are particularly troubling as they show Hyman at his lowest: distorting the words of others to make personal attacks on them, and doing so against private citizens.
You might remember that Hyman argued that bringing back the draft would be a disaster because it would bring “petty criminals, drug users, the lazy, and conduct cases” into the military.
Two viewers wrote in to point out that this comment assumes that every member of the U.S. armed services is an upstanding person and only civilians could possibly fall into these undesirable categories. This is obviously a false assumption; if it weren’t, then the military penitentiary at Leavenworth would have been turned into the world’s biggest B&B long ago. Of course most soldiers (like most civilians) are decent people. But to suggest that a draft would suddenly sully the pristine ranks of the military is simplistic and willfully naïve.
But instead of making a cogent counterargument (perhaps nuancing his earlier point by saying that while some soldiers might be less than exemplary individuals, a draft could lead to a larger number of such troublemakers entering the military than the armed services could easily handle), Hyman simply accuses his critics of (altogether now) “hating the troops.”
Chris of North Tonawanda, New York demonstrated that there is no shortage of people who hate our servicemen and women by writing, "petty criminals, drug users, the lazy, conduct cases and others…ARE in the military." GW of Oklahoma City commented, "There will always be drug abuse and thieves in our military."
Notice that neither Chris or GW say that all or most soldiers fall into these categories. They simply point out the obvious fact that there are such people in uniform now. Perhaps after saying this, Chris and GW filled pages with vitriol aimed at America’s men and women in Iraq, but I sort of doubt it. My guess is that they simply wrote to point out Hyman’s simplistic rationale wasn’t based on reality. But as we know all too well, Hyman doesn’t deal well with those who point out flaws in his arguments, so he relies on the only tool he feels comfortable using: the personal attack. Apparently feeling no hesitancy in purposefully misreading the comments of his readers (and assuming that his viewers are too stupid to pick up on this), Hyman slanders two Americans who committed the unconscionable crime of pointing out his weak reasoning.
Chalk up two more names on the list of folks who have the makings of a successful defamation suit against Hyman, a list that includes Senator John Kerry, Senator John McCain, Senator Ted Kennedy, Reverend Jesse Jackson, teachers, Hispanics, Democrats, New Yorkers, non-Christians etc., etc., etc.
And that’s The Counterpoint.