Crossing a line

first_imgWhen Linda Greenhouse praised a politician at a fundraising dinner in the spring of 2008, she was still a New York Times reporter covering the Supreme Court.“He was the finest public servant I had ever known,” she said of New York’s former governor Hugh Carey, in a tale she recounted Tuesday evening at the William E. Massey, Sr., Lectures in American Studies.Greenhouse had covered Carey’s campaign and his first three years in office in the mid-1970s, when she was just beginning her prestigious 40-year career at the Times.But that night, she said, she was there as a citizen not as a journalist. Still, she knew she had crossed a line.As she delivered the first of three Massey Lectures Tuesday, Greenhouse spoke candidly about the “ambiguous and shifting boundary” that separates journalism from citizenship and why she has crossed that line more than once.Greenhouse recalled that at a speech she gave at Harvard in 2006, she stirred controversy when she criticized the Bush administration for having “turned its energy and attention away from upholding the rule of law and toward creating law-free zones at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, Haditha, and other places around the world.”In the speech she gave as the recipient of the Radcliffe Medal, Greenhouse complained about the “sustained assault on women’s reproductive freedom and the hijacking of public policy by religious fundamentalism,” and went on, “to say that these last years have been dispiriting is an understatement.” In the uproar that ensued, Greenhouse recalled, she was criticized for expressing her “personal views” while being a working journalist.There are two schools of thought about journalists and their political views, with one camp arguing that journalists should refrain from publicly voicing them to avoid the appearance of partiality. The other camp contends that journalists are citizens and entitled to their personal views as long as they don’t come in and influence their work.A Pulitzer Prize winner in 1998 for “her consistently illuminating coverage of the United States Supreme Court,” Greenhouse stands with those who believe that journalists don’t need to appear “neutered” and are entitled to be citizens.It’s a long-held belief.In 1989, Greenhouse took part as “a citizen” in an abortion-rights rally in Washington, an event she described as “an early experience of accidental activism” and “an early encounter with journalism ethics under outside pressure.” When she was criticized for having attended the march and told by a colleague that she should have taken off covering the abortion issue, Greenhouse recalled saying briskly, “That’s your opinion.”A trailblazer, Greenhouse was the first woman the Times sent to Albany to cover state government in the early ’70s, and she has fiercely defended her rights to express her political views in her private life. To the criticism that followed her Radcliffe speech, she responded saying, “Let the chips fall where they may.”A Radcliffe College graduate in 1968, Greenhouse became a journalist drawn by a “desire to write about politics and politicians.” She has written three books. The latest one, “The Burger Court and the Rise of the Judicial Right,” with Michael J. Graetz, will be published next year.The Knight Distinguished Journalist in Residence and Joseph Goldstein Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School, Greenhouse covered the Supreme Court for The New York Times between 1978 and 2008. She writes a bi-weekly op-ed column on law.Asked about the differences between working as a reporter and a columnist, Greenhouse, a former Harvard Overseer, said she found it liberating but as much work as before.“My opinion is my opinion, but I try to back it up with facts,” she said. “You’re entitled to your opinion but not to your own facts.”Linda Greenhouse’s lectures: “Just a Journalist: Reflections on Journalism, Life, and the Spaces Between, “ are sponsored by Harvard’s Graduate Program in American Studies, and the William E. Massey, Sr. Lectures in American Studies. The last lecture takes place Thursday, Nov. 19, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Sackler Lecture Hall at 485 Broadway, Cambridge.last_img read more

Does Sex Ed Undermine Parental Rights?

first_imgNew York Times Oct 18 2011Observers can quarrel about the extent to which what is being mandated is an effect, or a contributing cause, of the sexualization of children in our society at younger ages. But no one can plausibly claim that teaching middle-schoolers about mutual masturbation is “neutral” between competing views of morality; the idea of “value free” sex education was exploded as a myth long ago. The effect of such lessons is as much to promote a certain sexual ideology among the young as it is to protect their health. But beyond rival moral visions, the new policy raises a deeper issue: Should the government force parents — at least those not rich enough to afford private schooling — to send their children to classes that may contradict their moral and religious values on matters of intimacy and personal conduct?Liberals and conservatives alike should say no. Such policies violate parents’ rights, whether they are Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist or of no religion at all. To see why, we need to think carefully about the parent-child relationship that gives rise to the duties that parental rights serve and protect. Parents are responsible for bringing new people into the world, bound to them by blood and, ordinarily, deep feeling. These people are incapable of developing their uniquely human capacities on their own, giving parents an obligation to their children and to society to help them reach maturity — one that requires attending not only to children’s physical and emotional needs, but their intellectual and moral growth as well.…True, the state needs to protect children from abuse and neglect. It is also true that the state has a legitimate interest in reducing teenage pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. But it is not abuse or neglect to protect the innocence of preteenage children or to teach one’s children more conservative, as opposed to more liberal, moral values. Nor is it wrong or unreasonable to limit the state’s control over what one’s children learn and think about sensitive issues of morality. On the contrary, that is just what is required if parents are to fulfill their duties and exercise their legitimate rights.http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/19/opinion/does-sex-ed-undermine-parental-rights.html?_r=1last_img read more

Rhodes deal dead – Bruce

first_imgHull boss Steve Bruce has said a potential deal to sign Blackburn striker Jordan Rhodes is “dead and buried”. “We’re close to one or two things, very close on one in particular, which will be a fantastic addition if we pull it off, but until it’s really, really rubber stamped then I’m not going to say much,” he said. “I really don’t want to comment after last week’s debacle on Jordan Rhodes. It would be wise of me to say nothing.” One person who has already completed his move to east Yorkshire this week is defender Michael Dawson, who signed a three-year deal from Tottenham for an undisclosed fee on Tuesday. Bruce is thrilled with his latest acquisition, believing Dawson’s maturity at the back will be vital as Hull battle on domestic and European fronts this season. “We’re delighted to get someone of his experience and his ability,” Bruce said. “I’ve always thought that especially in the centre of defence, a little bit of experience does everybody the world of good. “It’s been a long drawn out process but we eventually got him which I’m delighted about.” It was reported last week that Bruce was keen on bringing the prolific Championship striker to the KC Stadium following the departure of Shane Long to Southampton for £12million earlier this month. Bruce reported Blackburn were open to selling their star asset, but that they had changed their minds, with the former Wigan and Sunderland boss now conceding defeat in his pursuit of the Scotland international. Press Association “It’s dead and buried,” Bruce said. “We got an indication from Blackburn that they were willing to do a deal and that obviously changed in 24 hours. That’s their prerogative. “If they’d have said that to start with – that he wasn’t for sale no matter what we wanted to do – then fine, we’ll walk away. “But unfortunately it gets a bit protracted and last weekend we thought it was close and then all of a sudden he’s not for sale, so we’ll move on to the next one.” Bruce admitted his frustration at coming so close to landing the 24-year-old, who has scored 53 goals in 93 Championship appearances since joining Rovers two years ago, and blamed the constant scrutiny being placed on the deal. “It gets into the public domain and all of a sudden it’s not going to happen,” Bruce added. “It’s disappointing for everybody concerned, but more disappointing, I would presume, for somebody like Jordan.” Perhaps understandably, Bruce was a little more reticent about naming his other targets, but did reveal the club were nearing a deal to boost their forward line. last_img read more