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which he took up the cudgels in defense of imperialism he felt it had been overly abused by com-symps. Then there was the time he announced that the entire Eastern Coast was covered with a darkling forest. This was, he felt, the explanation for Easterners’ morbid gloom in re the future, as opposed to the healthy boosterism of Texans, under our wide-open skies. Baskin, who is personally an affable fellow with whom we have done time on more than one jouncing press bus, spent many a year in D.C. as head of the News’ Washington bureau. Like many of his colleagues, he spent a considerable amount of time learning about national affairs from a comfy niche at the Press Club. While it was an excellent education in many ways, it left him unprepared for some latter-day developments. Poor Baskin could never understand why Nixon, that staunch anti-communist, got along so well with Lennie Brezhnev. -Watergate found Baskin defending the indefensible with vigor, but in that instance one could only sympathize with him. He went out on a limb for what he considered an honorable purpose and his man sawed the branch off not Baskin’s fault. Though, as always with Baskin, it was not so much what he said as how he said it. Rather than considering what was men as time went on, and then deciding that it didn’t matter or wasn’t conclusive, Baskin concentrated on attacking “the shrill, hysterical liberals” who were waging “a propaganda campaign” in, no less, the high style of “Dr. Joseph Goebbels of Adolph Hitler’s Nazi regime.” He was so rank that he himself reported one day, with rare good humor, that one of his non-fans was putting out bumperstickers that read, “Impeach Nixon Hang Baskin.” His stand on Vietnam was similar. He seemed to care not so much about the rights or wrongs of our involvement in Vietnam and the honor, integrity, intelligence, and cleanliness of those who opposed it. The trouble is not Baskin’s opinions to those he is entitled and welcome to argue as effectively as he is able it is his monotonous, ungenerous imputation of evil motives to those who disagree with him. Take a column of March of this year, “Kennedy Meddling Exceeding Bounds.” Baskin was infuriated by the fact that Sen. Edward Kennedy had been in communication with the government of Hanoi in an effort to gain information about Americans missing in action as a result of the late unpleasantness. Kennedy didn’t come up with anything, but that is hardly Kennedy’s fault. Baskin disapproved of the entire endeavor on the grounds that Kennedy had no authorization to “negotiate” with the North Vietnamese. To be sure, he does not, but he a U.S. senator, his name does carry particular clout because it is Kennedy, and if there is 4 The Texas Observer any remote hope that he might gain information on MIA’s where official channels have failed, he should be encouraged to do so, no? The Kennedy column is but one example of an often-noticeable meanness about Baskin’s writing. He seldom, if ever, adopts the line that while liberals may be well-intentioned, they are misguided for the following reasons. . . . In Baskin’s world, liberals are ever engaged in plots, scenarios, manipulations, destruction, tearing down. Two of his favorite recent themes are The Awful Power of the Liberal Democratic Caucus in Congress \(he is uncomforted by its inability to override FBI and the CIA. “Tear them down, the liberals are saying,” Baskin wrote on July 9 in a column concerning the effort “to destroy the FBI and the CIA through congressional hearings and the merciless attacks of the Eastern press.” Almost every Baskin column provokes futile hypothetical responses to the man, but true Baskin aficionados simply wait for the days on which he wigs out entirely. Remember Elmo Zumwalt, the Navy chief who sent out “Z-grams,” putting an end to Mickey Mouse regulations about hair length and other nit-picks? Baskin had this to say about that: Sometimes we wonder if such people as Bull Halsey, George Patton, and Chesty Puller exist any longer. . . . They were men who spoke their minds, who led aggressively, and enjoyed the respect and admiration of those who served under them, even though that service was hard and often deadly. We have had some new breeds of military commanders emerge in the last few years, and perhaps they are the symbols of our time. We think in particular of Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, who has just retired as chief of naval operations and who instigated changes in the Navy that have given the shudders to old chief petty officers and those who revere the traditions of the Navy. Discipline in the Navy suffered severely during his tenure, and it is fortunate that he has left the scene. There now exists in all the services a movement for democratization of them, allowing men to wear any kind of strange hair-do they please, to denounce their commanding officers and their unit, to participate in non-military and political activities to the detriment of the armed services. The Constitution, as well as Admiral Zumwalt, had some say in the above-mentioned matters, but Baskin on a good day is never given pause, much less stopped by the Constitution. Here’s our man proposing a Good Idea: Sometimes we wonder if it would not be a good idea for President Ford to mount up on a great big white horse and ride into the House of Representatives and tell the assembled members to go home. Of course, this strikes at the heart of parliamentary government . . . but there might be a large body of the citizenry that would cheer him on. WITH GREAT reluctance, we move on. Two writers do not a newspaper make. It is not really fair to pick on the writing in a paper’s sports pages, sportswriters being notorious for their liberties with the language, but just for the fun of it we present a classic DMN sports lede of last January: There are, as the Baylor Bears learned Wednesday afternoon in the Cotton Bowl, certain inalienable precepts in the Book of Dreams. One being that they’ve all gotta end sooner or later. Only the Big Sleep last forever. On a more serious level, for those who take sports seriously, the DMN’s sports section’s sexist bias was more than usually noticeable on July 5. As other big city dailies around the state \(The Dallas Times Herald, Corpus Caller-Times, Houston Post, Houston Chronicle, Austin put Billie Jean King’s last Wimbledon championship on the front pages of their sports sections \(in some cases with a small blurb about same on page win to an inconspicuous story on the second page of the sports section, with no photos. By most folks standards, including those of the national news magazines that week, the win ranked as a major sports story. That’s a relatively minor nit-pick, as are almost all of the specific examples of the DMN’s skewed view of the world, unless you take them for what they are also are examples of general trends in the paper to be found over and over, day in, day out, year in, year out. Here’s another. On June 5 of this year the DMN ran a story in its news section by Jeffry St. John of the Copley News Service headlined, “The Eastern Media Cabal: War on the Conservatives.” St. John goes on at some length concerning the “eastern media establishmen’s apparent full-scale campaign to discredit conservatives who are organizing competing media.” It’s interesting to find a St. John piece in the news section, with nary a “News Analysis” bug in sight, since St. John is a columnist, a self-proclaimed “right-wing radical,” whose dippy theories about media conspiracies have been a staple at journalism conventions for years. If the old DMN, our DMN, has a soul and voice, it lives and it speaks on the editorial page. It is fashionable these days to pay no attention to editorial pages, on the assumption that only other editorial writers do. But the DMN’s peculiar, patented brand of bile, fire, and self-evident mush-mouthedness cannot be