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September 8, 2008 - 1:42pm

Letter to the editor flat out wrong about Senator Obama

posted by Philip Anselmo in Barack Obama, Daily News.

When an editor or a reporter at the Daily News—or any newspaper for that matter—makes a mistake, the error is routinely corrected in a subsequent edition of the paper. That's how it works. That same striving for accuracy should equally apply to Letters to the Editor and any other content of the so-called "Opinion" page. If the newspaper prints something it knows to be false or misleading in a letter to the editor—something it should know in advance of the printing—the letter ought to be appended with a note saying so.

Such was not the case with a letter to the editor today that amounts to little more than hatemongering. In that letter, Frank M. VanApeldorn writes:

National chastening is taking place in America today for long-standing immoralities and because of the removal of almighty God's laws from the land. ... Today, Senator Obama, a born Muslim, may be God's instrument to bring this professed Christian nation to its just rewards for turning their back on God.

Senator Obama's membership of a church in Chicago, whose pastor is known to visit with Muslims in foreign countries that are haters of America, should open our eyes. Osama and Obama sound a lot alike to me. ... I believe our Lord Jesus Christ is warning us to wake up from our sleep before we are taken over by Islam.

Aside from the preposterous rhetoric of such lines as "Osama and Obama sound a lot alike to me," the author of this letter is fundamentally misinformed. Senator Barack Obama is not a Muslim. He has never been a Muslim. This issue has been covered extensively by media across the nation. You can read some of those articles as well as Senator Obama's statements on the issue at his campaign Web site.

The Daily News has made a serious mistake here by printing this letter without amending it with a clarification to situate this individual's commentary in the context of real events. Instead, the Daily News displays a hands-off policy that amounts to no less than the propagation of lies and misinformation.

Hate and misstate sound alot alike to me.

Daniel Jones
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Mr. VanApeldorn should be taken about as seriously as the Easter bunny. Barack Obama is a devout Christian. He is also a proud American who has been preaching traditional Christian Values of compassion, integrity and responsibility during his entire Presidential campaign. This kind of smear is uncalled for. John McCain, Sarah Palin, Barack Obama and Joe Biden all care about this country, saying otherwise about any of them is absurd.
daniel cherry
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Philip.I once wrote a letter to the Daily news 2/08 It was all true about being thrown out of our home at 119 state st illegally.They said i had to contact my lawyer to get it printed.The Editor called me and said i could be sued.I said i didn't care.They would not print my story.Letters to the Editor are peoples opinions Right?Or is it that it is the editors opinion also?...I wish i could do more for the batavian.But i have the boys to care for.They are my a #1 priority here.Have a good day everyone.PSEven if i don't agree with "some" opinions.That is our right given to us by the constitution.We need to protect our rights.And thank the men who fight for us.Our government sent them there.I'd just like to know the whole truth......Jimmy is 10.He wants to be in the military.If he's going to go fight and mabe die,i damn sure want to know what the reason is.And i sure hope to heck it is a good one....I was going to join the military when i was 18.They wouldn't let me in cause of my disability.The reason i wanted to join,was only because i didnt see many options.And i thought i would someday get a good job.Does everyone join because they are partriotic?.....dan
Paul Susat
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I agree that the opinions were truely strange of Mr. VanApeldorn but he is living in America where even the amusingly rediculous thoughts of people are protected by the constitution. If anything I think we need the paper to print letters like that to emphasize how dangerously uninformed some people are about what's going on in our nation. I'm sorry that Mr. VanApeldorn is so afraid of such a good man. I agree all the candidates are good people and that they all want what they think is best for America.
Philip Anselmo
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But is stating that someone is "x" when a person is not "x" an opinion? If I said that Joe Schmo was a murderer, would that be my opinion? Even if Joe Schmo was never convicted of murder? What if I saw him kill someone but a jury found him innocent? What if I don't know him at all? Where is the line? Invoking the constitutional right to free speech should not be a means of washing our hands of hateful, malicious or slanderous speech. Why did Daniel Cherry require a lawyer to be entitled to his speech, while this letter writer can call Senator Obama a heathen Muslim with impunity? Cultural critic Stanley Fish wrote an insightful essay on free speech in the context of real situations rather than the static notion of free speech as unlimited speech. It's worth checking out.
Jerome Grasso
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While being interviewed by ABC this weekend, Barack Hussein Obama spoke of "my muslim faith". Slip of the tongue perhaps? Perhaps something more? Or not. Come on Mr. Jones, Hit me with it!! Faith should not matter for any job. I am sure he is a Christian (not that it matters). Although he seems to have run away from his longtime radical Christian Church and its mean spirited pastor. Unfortunately in politics, perception becomes reality.
Charlie Mallow
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Jay, why would you give aid to that type of hate speech? If you don’t like the man’s politics, then say why. Don’t talk to me about someone’s race, religion or gender. Read the link. http://washingtontimes.com/news/2008/sep/07/obama-verbal-slip-fuels-his-...
Howard B. Owens
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Here's Obama's comment in context. It's rather disingenuous to call it a slip of the tongue. He was clearly referring what McCain might have, could have said about him, but didn't. For the record, I am not likely to vote for either McCain or Obama. I'm just trying to keep the record straight here.
Daniel Jones
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Mr. Grasso, I'm not going to "hit" you with anything, its odd that you seem so excited about the possibility however. Read the link that Charlie perscribed, it gives a good indication of where Mr. Obama stands. Perhaps we should bring up "bomb Iran" from Mr. McCain, or how about the joke that he made as to why Chelsea Clinton is so ugly (apparently because Janet Reno is her father, no joke, he really said it)? Perhaps we should put your, mine, and everyone else's verbal slip-ups on the table? I also wonder, would any of your fellow County Legislators engage in this sort of behavior that you have? Give me a break Mr. Grasso, you are getting desperate to the point of humor. Perception is reality and the reality is this, people want to talk about the issues affecting their lives, Obama's name and rumors regarding his religion and Sarah Palin's family will soon become after-thoughts. PS. Again with your negativity, why?
Gabor Deutsch
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Hey Dan, cheer up. This website allows you to say things that the newspaper wont print as long as you dont get vulgar. You have to remember that when it comes to politics few agree, nobody wins, and "war, uh, good god y'all what is it good for ? absolutely nothin". (from your friend).
Daniel Jones
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Dave, I don't know if your talking to me, but I'm as happy as a bird in spring! :)
Gabor Deutsch
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Then, yes I was ? Also, to mr. cherry. I enjoy your comments coz your not afraid to give them, even if I might not agree. (future politician).
Mark Potwora
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So what..if he was a muslim,which he isnt.but if he was what difference does it make..My vote will be for who i think can advance this country for the better..We've had jewish ,mormon,catholic,baptist,and a host of other religions who have represented us,as long as they get the job done who cares.For example Catholics are spose to be pro life according to the church.But many democrats who are catholic are pro choice..So i dont see why obama supporters get all excited because some one said he is a muslim.Hopefully an open mind will rule and you can make a common sense decession of who to vote for...If you dont look at both sides; your short changing your self.I am beholden to no party,I can vote for who i want.If they said McCain is a muslim,or better yet if he said he was a muslim ,that won't influence me voting for him..Because i see him as being able to protect this country better than the christian Obama..
daniel cherry
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Philip ,I think somewhere i don't recall where in the beginning of the primary,that some media buzz was going on.It wasn't true but they were saying he was Muslim.People sometimes just believe what they read.I know i don't.I'd like to see proof.Ya have to be able to read between the lines.Too bad we rarely hear both sides of a story.....
Gabor Deutsch
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Lets just keep religion aside mr. cherry. The media buzz for the primary election was to "juice obama to win over clinton". Big mistake for democrats. Religion will never I repeat never win an election. When republicans feared that obama would win the nomination over clinton they tried the religion card. Now the democrats are trying to win over "osma bin ladenish" politics. Just like you said "its not true", and what you read is just the "political machine " trying to steal your vote.
daniel cherry
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Religion has nothing to do with it Gee.I don't think you get the point.The republican mudslingers were putting out slanderous propaganda.How would being Muslim Juice Obama to win...?
Sherry Tacy
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Sorry Dave.....I couldn't help but find the amazing yet bizarre humor in the fact that he thinks I am you. If he only knew huh? Please dont tell him, it will be fun to let him just believe;)
Jerome Grasso
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Mr Jones: I am not sure what behavior you speak of regarding my fellow legislators. I have said nothing nasty or wrong. Lighten up.
Daniel Jones
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Mr. Grasso: You seriously can't believe that anyone here would take you seriously on that remark. Take it from your own words, "While being interviewed by ABC this weekend, Barack Hussein Obama spoke of "my muslim faith". Slip of the tongue perhaps? Perhaps something more? Or not. Come on Mr. Jones, Hit me with it!! Faith should not matter for any job. I am sure he is a Christian (not that it matters). Although he seems to have run away from his longtime radical Christian Church and its mean spirited pastor. Unfortunately in politics, perception becomes reality." Your bringing up personal issues instead of focusing on the very problems that are confronting Western New York, do you think that I'm blind? Your bringing up his middle name to try to tie him to Iraq's former war criminal, Saddam Hussein, don't you have something more important in regards to this election than that? I also mentioned your colleagues on the legislature because none of them are on here trying to use those kinds of tactics. Hit me, I do wonder what you meant by that. Getting touchy are we?
Daniel Jones
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Again, don't try to play the "above the fray" card when your being very negative yourself.
Jerome Grasso
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Still not being negative or "above the fray". As far as tying him to Saddam Hussein. That was not my intent. You said that, not me. I am pretty sure that "hussein" is a pretty common name. I will now always refer to McCain as "John Sidney McCain" if it makes you feel better! Remember, just because you disagree with me does not mean I am being negative. Since I am elected, does that mean I am not allowed to post my opinions? Mr. Mallow posts. I forgot, you agree with his opinions so that is OK. As well, have you ever seen some of John Hodgins cartoons? Charlie is a decent guy and we have worked together in the past on things that benefit the city and county as a whole. We are allowed to post!
Philip Anselmo
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Mark: I'm glad someone raised this point. As you say: "So what if he was a Muslim ... what difference does it make." It shouldn't make any difference, and for a lot of folks, like us, it doesn't. The problem is not that there is anything wrong with being a Muslim. Not at all. So saying that "what difference does it make if he is or isn't a Muslim" is a fine point to make, but it misses what is really at issue in this letter to the editor. Why? Because "being a Muslim" for the letter writer is a bad thing, a very bad thing — the worst thing, in fact, since for him it all but signals the entire nation's collapse into depravity and damnation. That is the real problem here. That is the big red flag that says: Hello! Prejudice here! Hate here! And a response to such vehemence that only says: "So what if he is..." does not give us the chance to be just as vehement in our condemnation of the hatred. It doesn't let us step back and say, wait a second, this whole thing is wrong, very wrong.
Daniel Jones
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Of course your allowed to post, just expect to have your feet held to the fire. I do generally agree with Charlie. John Hodgins' cartoons are for the most part terrible. Don't give me that garbage about his middle name, this isn't a Le Roy Republican meeting Mr. Grasso, we're not your fan club here.
Jerome Grasso
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Wow! That is a bit negative , dont you think. In typical liberal fashion, when you are upset or have lost the arguement, you throw out an insult. The fan club jab was insulting and way over the line. Your true colors are showing. They are not a pretty hue.
Daniel Jones
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Don't make me laugh Mr. Grasso, this is all response to your lies, its funny how you dismiss everything that questions your original thought on an issue or matter. To take your own words and use them, your the one who seems to go negative whenever someone disagrees with you sir. Your "true colors" have been showing all along, and believe me, in the eyes of the beholder, their not nice to see. Have a nice day though!
Jerome Grasso
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Mr. Jones: I have not lied once. We just disagree. I have been debating liberals since you were in huggies. I know the pattern. When your people lose, or an arguement is lost, you take it personal. Lighten up, life goes on. Be honest with yourself, you were trying to insult me and it does not work. It makes you mad. Politics are not worth an ulcer.
Daniel Jones
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Mr. Grasso, if you've been debating in the same style then "liberals" have been wiping the floor with you since I was in "huggies". I don't take it personally, however, when you do say something irresponsible or not true I will call you out on it, after all Mr. Grasso, perhaps you should grow some "thick skin". I don't get stressed over this stuff at all :-D.
Daniel Jones
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By the way though, I would much rather talk about the issues, your the one who questioned Barack on his faith.
Jerome Grasso
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Point out where I questioned the man's faith. Never did. Have not been wiped on the floor yet. You are just cranky because Jon and Michelle lost. The world will not end.
Daniel Jones
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What are you talking about? I'm not cranky at all...you questioned his faith by trying to insinuate that he was a Muslim. Of course I'm disappointed that Jon didn't win, he would have been by far the best Democrat to win the seat, I'll be supporting Joe Mesi fully and completely and hope that Kryzan can support us on rural issues.
Jerome Grasso
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You are aware that Mesi wants to radically change the way our GCEDC does business? This will hurt job development here. The GCEDC is one of the few things we agree on!
Daniel Jones
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Mesi wants to reform IDA's statewide, however, he also knows that the IDA reform has to be on an case by case basis. As I've said before, I think that our IDA should be used as a model for others that aren't working.
Jerome Grasso
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Erie County IDA's are brutal. They are in deep need of reform. My concern is that Mesi will follow the Sam Hoyt version of IDA reform which would decimate what we do here in Genesee County. Check out the Hoyt bill, very scary.
Tiffany Barber
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My lord - I cannot stand this anymore! I have an idea - how about instead of spending time bashing each other on here you both take that time to help our communities. This is helping NO ONE!! If you have an idea - a vision - a goal for your town, or my town, or our county - then DO SOMETHING! Have the guts to say what people don't want to hear! Don't run your office in re-election mode all the time - do what has to be done because it HAS to be done - don't do what has to be done to get re-elected. I am so sick of everyone knowing the issues - and what needs to be done and no one having the gall to stand up and say it. You know what? People don't like the facts - people don't want to hear that services have to be cut, or taxes have to go up - but you know what - we don't have a choice - and this is coming from a liberal AND a fiscal conservative - and YES they do exist! It is amazing what the party of smaller government has done to this country - even more amazing is how the tax and spend liberals ended up with a surplus! - Sorry for the stream of consciousness post - you guys just get me very fired up!
Tom Gilliatt
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What are you sorry for? Your post is right on the money and I feel the same way! :) Tom
Conor Flynn
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My man dan jones are you still working at Tops?
Daniel Jones
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Actually no, I left at the beginning of the summer to start working at Darien Lakes State Park.
Daniel Jones
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How's the U of R going bro?
Conor Flynn
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So hard..but I'm getting A's so I guess it's worth it

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