A friend once cautioned me about going into the opinion game. "All you ever do," he said, "is spend time defending your opinion."
At the time I started "My Word" I thought about what my friend told me and thought, "Well, I won't say anything I can't defend."
That takes some doing because if you're talking on TV and talking on the radio — which I now do everyday — you end up saying things you don't entirely mean or you wish you could rephrase. But even so, I went into this thinking I could defend myself even through some garble because I think I remain fairly consistent in what I say.
All this got a little deeper when I published books. For the last one, "The War on Christmas," I was especially careful because I knew this would be a touchy subject.
But still I never really expected what has actually happened.
With the book, people condemn it without having read it. They have me saying things I didn't say, and call me names for saying things I didn't say.
That has redoubled with the radio. Now I have people calling me names on television. Names like "fathead" and "the worst something or other" for things I really did not say. Or if the words were actually uttered, they were taken wildly out of context.
Who does this? These blogs you find on the side of the road on the information highway. They're like litter. You don't notice as you're speeding by but if you stop you see how ugly it all is.
I find myself being misquoted or the quotes taken out of context in order to build outrage against me. And conveniently provided is a link so the gullible reader can send me a note telling me how awful I am.
It's one thing to get a lot of cranky e-mails, but it's another for people on television to pick this stuff up and run with it — never bothering to check or ask for a comment.
It's a mugging, it's smearing, it's really foul. But this is what they offer at Christmas.
Friday one of my former colleagues repeated a misquote to justify saying some truly disgusting things about me. Condescendingly, he "tisk tisked" that he used to like me.
I frankly doubt it. Otherwise, why be so willing to believe trash?
Oh well, the slings and arrows.
Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to all and to all a good night.
That's My Word.
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