USAT Cites Kanjorski NYT 'Civility' Op-Ed As 'Smart Insight'; Former Congressman Called For Rick Scott's Shooting

The folks at USA Today really ought to vet their candidates for the "Et Cetera -- Smart insights on the news of the day" section of the print edition of its editorial page a bit more thoroughly.

Wednesday morning's opener in that section (apparently not available online) featured two paragraphs from a New York Times op-ed by former Pennsylvania Congressman Paul Kanjorski, including this final sentence:

Therefore, it is incumbent on all Americans to create an atmosphere of civility and respect in which political discourse can flow freely, without fear of violent confrontation.

As I noted yesterday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog; original HT Mark Hemingway at the Washington Examiner), Kanjorski's entitlement to lecture on civility is more than a little suspect, given what he said about Florida Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott and the health insurance industry last year:

"That Scott down there that's running for governor of Florida," Mr. Kanjorski said. "Instead of running for governor of Florida, they ought to have him and shoot him. Put him against the wall and shoot him. He stole billions of dollars from the United States government and he's running for governor of Florida. He's a millionaire and a billionaire. He's no hero. He's a damn crook. It's just we don't prosecute big crooks."

In his op-ed, Kanjorski joined the pantheon of alleged journalists, editorialists, and others whose writings have appeared in the New York Times during the past several days who have all of a sudden discovered the need for "civility" in the wake of the Tucson murders while demonstrating little if any restraint previously.

It's too bad that USAT let itself get suckered into giving Kanjorski's work more undeserved, response-free exposure. It's definitely not consistent with the stated goal of Founder Al Neuharth (whose "civility" credentials are also suspect) for the paper "to serve as a forum for understanding and unity to help make the USA truly one nation."

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.