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"Village Voice Lays Off Nat Hentoff and 2 Others,"

reports the New York Times. Hentoff is one of the leading mass-media writers on free speech; I'm sorry to see that he has been let go. The Village Voice is apparently in serious money trouble. "Mr. Hentoff plans to continue to write a weekly column for the United Media syndicate and contribute pieces to The Wall Street Journal."

Thanks to Victor Steinbok and Robert Ambrogi (Legal Blog Watch) for the pointer.

Ex-Fed (mail) (www):
Perhaps the Village Voice is taking crisis response advice from the Big Three. "We have decided to focus on our core business, which is to suck, and to eliminate all functions not related to that goal."
12.31.2008 2:30pm
Rodger Lodger (mail):
Sometimes when I'm walking to work I see Mr. Hentoff walking his dog. Once he was scolding the pooch for barking. I was going to say "Mr. Hentoff -- what about free speech!" I didn't...he looks like a serious dude.
12.31.2008 2:37pm
BZ (mail):
His column appears in the Washington Times and is a fascinating counterpoint to some of the positions portrayed therein.
12.31.2008 2:43pm
jweaks:
I like Hentoff's articles even when I disagee with them. He always seems thoughtful and reasonable.
12.31.2008 3:02pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Perhaps VV decided to reduce its payroll while reducing its internal opposition. Hentoff is in favor of free speech for all.
It's a twofer.
12.31.2008 4:48pm
marc (mail):
And he is has, also, remained conscientiously pro-life, unlike the Daschles and Jacksons of the so-called 'liberal' world.
12.31.2008 4:58pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
And he is has, also, remained conscientiously pro-life, unlike the Daschles and Jacksons of the so-called 'liberal' world.

He's definitely pro-life, and even those who disagree with him on the issue must admit that his opposition to abortion is principled.

But I don't understand marc's snarky comment at all. Plenty of pro-life politicians, from Ronald Reagan to Mitt Romney, are suspicious "converts" as well. The fact is, as abortion became a more polarized issue and the interest groups aligned with both parties, it has become harder to be a pro-life Democrat OR a pro-choice Republican. You can think of this as either a good or a bad thing, but it's entirely inappropriate (and simply hackish) to single out one side without admitting that this is a truism on both sides.
12.31.2008 6:22pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
But I don't understand marc's snarky comment at all. Plenty of pro-life politicians, from Ronald Reagan to Mitt Romney, are suspicious "converts" as well. The fact is, as abortion became a more polarized issue and the interest groups aligned with both parties, it has become harder to be a pro-life Democrat OR a pro-choice Republican. You can think of this as either a good or a bad thing, but it's entirely inappropriate (and simply hackish) to single out one side without admitting that this is a truism on both sides.
There are plenty of pro-life politicians who we might think are insincere, people who have only adopted a pro-life stance to win elections. But those people, for the most part, actually vote pro-life.

People like Reid or Kerry actually claim to be pro-life while actually voting pro-choice.
1.1.2009 1:23am
John Herbison (mail):
I would be pleased if the terms "pro-life" and "pro-choice" were banished from the political lexicon. Those of us who support abortion rights should say so clearly, rather than regarding abortion as the fundamental constitutional right that dare not speak its name.

On the other side of the abortion debate, how many who label themselves pro-life opposed the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive war, including the folly in Iraq which has cost the lives of thousands of American service members and hundreds of thousands of other deaths? How many of them spoke out against our government's use of torture, in some cases to the point of death? How many of them advocate the abolition of capital punishment?

As George Orwell wrote, "Political language ... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind." The verbiage adopted by both sides of the abortion debate well illustrates Orwell's maxim that "[w]hen there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns, as it were, instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink."
1.1.2009 4:45am
JoelP:
There may really be 4 sides to the abortion debate.
The pro-life side wants to save babies. The anti-choice side wants parents to live with the consequences of sex, and has little interest in helping provide resources for parents/children.

The pro-choice side believes people may do what they want with their bodies. The anti-life side believes that only regarding abortion, and not for drugs.

I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, and assume they are pro-life or pro-choice.

Also, Hentoff is pretty cool.
1.1.2009 2:17pm
therut (mail):
As long as there are those who equate war, death penalty and abortion all in the same catagory there can be no real understanding of the issue. For once I can say the liberals and conservatives that see things this way are not very sincere or as the liberals say they only see black and white and no grey. Our language and thinking is muddled on purpose.
1.2.2009 12:04pm

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