All of us can agree that it's a good thing when media organizations are careful with facts. But there's a difference between reasonable caution and treating the reader like an idiot. Case in point: "Denver Police Focus on Misuse of Computer," a small item in today's Rocky Mountain News. The piece involves an e-mail reportedly sent from a Denver Police Department computer implying that one of the current presidential candidates is the Antichrist via lines like, "The Anti-Christ will be a man, in his 40's, of Muslim descent."
To that, Rocky reporter Hector Gutierrez added, "Neither John McCain nor Barack Obama is Muslim."
Feel stupider after reading that line? I know I do...
To state the obvious: There have been unfounded rumors throughout the campaign that Obama is a Muslim, or was raised a Muslim, or wants to be a Muslim, or is in league with Muslims. But if there's been a single suggestion anywhere, at any time, that McCain is a Muslim, I've missed it. And if such evidence wasn't enough to convince Gutierrez the e-mail is an attack on Obama, not McCain, here's one more clue. Only one of the men is in his forties, and it sure as hell ain't McCain, who's qualified for the senior discount at Denny's for years; he turned 72 in late August.
By the e-mailer's criteria, then, McCain can't possibly be either a Muslim or the Antichrist -- although the Rocky Mountain News doesn't seem quite ready to confirm it. -- Michael Roberts