Bill O'Reilly's Minions of Righteousness are all worked up
over Ward Churchill at the moment. Churchill is an American Indian who's known for his outspokenness and his willingness to be provocative, which he certainly was in the current episode
. (If a subscription is required, bugmenot.com
will provide you with login info.)
Basically, the guy wrote a paper claiming that Sept. 11 victims weren't innocent bystanders but active participants in an American-led sanctions regime that claimed a few hundred thousand lives in Iraq over the course of the 1990s. (I said he was provocative, didn't I?) He was slated to speak at Hamilton College in New York—a school that has brought controversial speakers of all political persuasions to campus—but now due to thousands of hateful emails and threats of violence, the lecture has been cancelled. Churchill has been denounced by no less than two governors and a legislator, has resigned as chair of the University of Colorado's ethnic studies department and may lose his job at the school.
I heard him speak once. He's not crazy; on the contrary, he's intelligent, articulate and engaging. And like those on the far right who have been threatening to kill him, he doesn't trust the American government—only he has better reasons than they do. His unpopular, controversial comments have earned him over 100 death threats, but they're why we have the First Amendment. And Bill O'Reilly is why we have mute buttons.