Columns

Guest Spot: We deserve an apology for these lies

It is our community’s misfortune to be served by a newspaper that would publish Hugh Prestwood’s letter (“Guest Spot got it all wrong,” June 17). Witness how rag sheet journalism takes hold. Will the paper now publish letters from 9/11 conspiracy nuts, members of the flat earth society, and Holocaust deniers? The paper has certainly lost this subscriber.

Hugh Prestwood’s letter asserted: “A few hundred unarmed protesters stormed into the Capitol doing little or no damage, and the only real casualty was an unarmed protester shot and killed by the police. This ‘insurrection’ strikes me as being closer to a Black Friday shopping-mob bursting through Macy’s doors, rather than a typical BLM or Antifa mob that surely would have attempted to burn the building down.”

What people like Hugh Prestwood, and this paper, don’t seem to get is that when they take the rest of us for fools they reveal the truth about themselves.

Have we not all seen the videos? All else aside, the truth is in plain sight. So why would Mr. Prestwood want to look stupid by denying what we all saw? Why would this paper ignore its stated right to edit letters and print outright lies and disingenuous, snide misrepresentations?

Sure, if Mr. Prestwood or the paper wants to state support for the rioters, argue in favor of the insurrection, by all means they may state their views. But not as fact. We are all entitled to our own views. But we are not entitled to our own facts, and this newspaper disgraces itself and insults us, its readers, when it prints a letter filled with obvious lies. 

The Constitution protects newspapers from government censorship, but nothing in the Constitution or any law requires a newspaper to print lies. Indeed, I would argue that the paper has the opposite obligation. It has a duty to reject assertions of fact that are demonstrably false. Or at least include a warning that the asserted facts are anything but true. Mr. Prestwood claims that the January 6th insurrection was akin to a mob pushing their way into Macy’s to get discount sales on Black Friday? Really? Again, does he take us all for morons? The publication of such a letter is akin to treason, as it gives aid and comfort to the enemies of truth. And without truth, America is lost.

But don’t just trust the videos. The first rioter has now been sentenced. Judge Royce C. Lamberth, a Reagan appointee, in addressing the 49-year-old Indiana woman before him, said, “I’m especially troubled by the accounts of some members of Congress that January 6 was just a day of tourists walking through the Capitol.” “I don’t know what planet they were on …This was not a peaceful demonstration.” And, as if speaking directly to Mr. Prestwood’s lies, the judge said that the videos introduced in court showed that “the attempts of some congressmen to rewrite history … is utter nonsense.”

Now, why should anyone believe you over the judge, Mr. Prestwood? Did you take a judge’s oath, or the oath of the witnesses he heard to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but? Are you aware of how meticulously any video used in evidence is authenticated?

But don’t just listen to the judge or your common sense. The “utter nonsense” that Mr. Prestwood has embraced drew the ire of our highest military official, four star general Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He testified to a House committee this week: “So what is it that caused thousands of people to assault this building and try to overturn the Constitution of the United States of America? What caused that? I want to find that out.”

Hugh Prestwood owes this community an apology. Far more importantly, so does this newspaper.