Unification News for February 1997

Boston Globe's Defense

TO: Matthew V. Storin Editor, The Boston Globe
FROM: Peter D. Ross
RE: Your Respone
DATE: February 6, 1997

While I was pleased to learn that you had discussed my criticisms of the Boston Globe's recent promotion of Steve Hassan with "relevant editors", I am displeased by the defensive posture you have chosen to adopt. In response to the conclusions you have reached, I respectfully submit these responses to two of your written statements:

1. "I understand your concern about the term 'Moonies.'"

No, Mr. Storin, you do not understand my concern about the term "Moonies." You have not understood it in the past, you did not understand it when I made available to you pertinent materials, and you still do not get it.

Nevertheless in an apparent effort to live with whatever fleeting qualms of conscience you might now have for the repugnance of your editor's decision to exploit this term, you stated: "it has been commonly used in U.S. publications for a number of years." For my part, I continue to teach my four children that two or more wrongs will never make a right. If your editorial staff had read the materials I had submitted they could have informed you that a bigoted and hostile press first coined the term "Moonie" and then subsequently sanctioned its promiscuous use. Our sincere efforts to stanch the harm caused to our lives and the lives of our families have in recent years prevailed. Had you taken the time to read the materials I had submitted to your staff, you would have noted that the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, ABC News, Nightline, Reuters, Oxford University Press, as well the New York City Commission on Human Rights and the New York Civil Rights Coalition have recognized our plight and have taken a moral and professional position to do their part and stamp out the licentious use of this epithet. Moreover, I have an entire file drawer of letters from many other sources affirming the same. Where does this place the Boston Globe? You and your staff are out of step with media and civil rights organizations like these. You and your staff have chosen to keep the Boston Globe in the dark ages of bigotry. Moreover, it is chilling for me to read in your letter the implication that you arrogantly retain the prerogative to use this term whenever you or your editors deem fit in future reports.

I will note for the record that in my recent phone conversation with Ms. Wilkinson she at least made genuine effort to appreciate the pain caused to our community by the intentional and conscious decision on the part of the Globe to use this term for its own purposes. But please, Mr. Storin, do not write to me with patronizing or condescending sentiments claiming that you understand my plight and the anguish and pain of my community. You do not.

2. "We feel the piece was carefully reported."

I do not harbor any personal offense at the fact that you could only make such a statement having summarily dismissed my five essential criticisms of John Koch's journalism in this particular article. But the fact remains, this was not an example of true or good journalism. It will garner no commendations nor win professional accolades.

Rather, it will be remembered as an infamy. I am confident that in the days to come when less-blinkered reviewers consider all the circumstances and the contents of this pretense, they will not reach the same decision as your own. It is indeed tragic that a journalist and editor of your stature has to vainly hide behind trite and banal references to responsible standards of journalism while defending this article. Was it really worthy of so great a professional compromise? Again, there is an icy silence in your letter, for there is not an iota of regret or professional accountability expressed.

In conclusion, Mr. Storin, both the fact that the Globe published such an article and that you yourself have gone on record in the manner of your letter, are proof positive of a real and deeper issue. It is my contention that there is a malignant prejudice that corrupts the reportage of the Boston Globe when it comes to the Founder of our Church, our Church as an institution, and ourselves as a people. The Globe perpetuates and propagates a culture of contempt towards us. And why? What have we done to you, the Globe, or even to society that deserves such disdain and mockery? Is it because we are religious or of a religion different from your own? Is it because our Church was founded in Asia? Whatever answer you may find after examining your soul, my own experience of racism and bigotry is that there is never really a rational explanation for either. Rather, as Melville wrote, "Ignorance is the parent of fear." In this matter, you were presented with an opportunity to responsibly liberate us and yourself from the ill-effects of such a culture. You missed this opportunity. I pray you will not squander the next one.

In the meantime, I will pass on your letter to Church officials and to our community. I will also speak with Mark Jurkowitz. As to your invitation to write a Letter to the Editor or your non-suggestion that I take my chances and submit an op-ed piece to David Greenway, I say: "No thanks."

cc: Ms. Mary Jane Wilkinson, Assistant Managing Editor/Features

cc: Mr. Mark Jurkowitz, Ombudsman

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