When I saw the “news article” about Doug Wilson’s scheduled speech to ClearNote Campus Fellowship on April 13, I knew the article would be a poor excuse for “journalism” because of the author: Mike Leonard, also known as Leonard the Liar. I said this in the comments, before I even read the article:
Mike Leonard should not have been permitted to write this article. He has a long history of very loud opinions on social issues and hostility to conservative Christians. Bad call by the Herald-Times.
I was right. The article was a political hatchet job. Leonard the Liar regurgitated claims made against Wilson by the Southern Poverty Law Center accusing him of being a racist who supports enslavement of black people because of things he said in his book. But let’s examine some of the other things Wilson said in that very same book:
- “One cannot defend the abuse some slaves had to endure. None can excuse the immorality some masters and overseers indulged in with some slave women.”
- “We have no interest in defending the racism (in both the North and the South) which was often seen as the basic justification for the system, and we do in fact condemn it most heartily.”
- “All forms of race hatred or racial vainglory are forms of rebellion against God.”
- “The slave trade was an abomination. The Bible condemns it, and all who believe the Bible are bound to do the same.”
- “The cruel mistreatment given to some slaves is inexcusable and truly despicable. All such evil was wicked and indefensible.”
Wilson’s position is that slavery needed to end, but that it should have ended peacefully and that it did not require the incredible destruction and death brought about by the War Between the States. Wilson’s philosophy extends to anti-abortion violence, in that while murdering unborn children is a great and terrible evil, there is no justification for terrorism and murder to oppose abortion.
Leonard wrote an article for the front page of the “newspaper” smearing Wilson’s reputation. It is common practice that when serious accusations are made against the subject of an article, the “reporter” will contact that person to get his side of the story. I asked Wilson on April 6 if anyone from the Herald-Times (specifically Mike Leonard) had contacted him about the story. Four hours later, I had my answer. No one from the H-T had contacted Wilson for this story.
This is simply not acceptable. There is not one single professor at any reputable journalism school in the nation that would approve of what Leonard did here. Any reporter worth his salt knows that you always seek comment from the other side of an issue like this, especially when serious accusations are made.
Back in 2006, another Herald-Times reporter was disciplined, publicly reprimanded and reassigned after writing an article and not properly checking with the sources, and local Democrats threw a temper tantrum about it. Should the same thing not happen to Mike Leonard for this serious breach of journalistic ethics?
After all, this is far from the first time we have seen this kind of unethical behavior from Mike Leonard. Back in 2004, Leonard lied about John Hostettler’s vote against the Marriage Protection Amendment. In 2006, Leonard outright fabricated a Congressional vote that never took place to smear Congressman Mike Sodrel. Two years ago, Leonard lied about the funding for Ivy Tech, and followed it up with a despicable attack on an IU student group.
If you think the controversy over Wilson’s visit to campus has anything to do with Wilson’s view on race relations or slavery, you have been deceived. Leftists (including Leonard) are furious about Wilson’s theological positions on sexuality and sexual morality, so they are throwing everything possible against the wall hoping it will stick. Leonard put together his dishonest and unethical hit piece for the sole purpose of discrediting Wilson before his lecture.
The Herald-Times has a long record of sloppy reporting but the problem with Leonard’s articles goes well beyond simply being sloppy, lazy or incompetent. Mike Leonard is a political hack who simply does not care about the truth and writes his articles to promote a Leftist agenda. Agenda-driven writing is fine for an opinion columnist, but not for someone writing straight “news” articles, especially articles that are appearing on the front page. Leonard’s bias is too strong and he cannot be trusted to write articles that are not slanted.
A willingness to openly lie to advance a political agenda, though, should never be acceptable for any newspaper. Had Leonard pulled the crap he pulls at any other newspaper, his employment would have been terminated years ago. However, the Herald-Times is not a newspaper. It is a partisan political newsletter that serves to advance a Leftist political ideology. That is why Mike Leonard is still employed – he is doing exactly what the H-T wants him to do.