Letters to the editor

Herald guilty of sensationalism

Zak Cummins recently wrote a commentary in the Herald that questioned the character of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Although Cummins’ sources were not reputable or objective, by publishing his commentary, the Herald accomplished its goal nicely.

The Herald succeeded in increasing interest and readership for an obviously flagging publication. The Herald staff must have known what kind of response would be generated by a commentary that casts doubt on a highly respected political leader.

Commentaries published with the express purpose of provoking students are nothing more than vain attempts to draw attention to a paper whose journalistic standards and overall quality have taken a turn for the worse.

The Herald must have had other options for filling the space that Cummins’ commentary filled, but it chose the low road.

I have no qualms with Cummins or his opinion. I can tolerate views that run counter to mine.

But I am ashamed of the Herald. Apparently the integrity that the Herald accumulated over the years has been undermined by those who would rather rely on sensationalism.

Perhaps the “journalists” that comprise the editing staff should become marketing majors, because they obviously lack the integrity and restraint exercised by dignified journalists.

The Herald went fishing for responses, and I am happy to oblige: I will no longer read the Herald due to its lack of ethics and integrity.

Brad Baumgardner

Nashville senior

‘Not facts at all’

At first I was livid when I read Zak Cummins1 commentary. But after a few moments, I just felt sorry for him.

Obviously, his facts were not researched, for they were not facts at all. Do you think that professors just hand out Ph.D’s? If so, then hand me one.

What exactly is the relevance of King’s name? Does this change any of the remarkable things he achieved?

Also, Mr. Cummins, you state that many of King’s associates were Communists or Communist sympathizers. Do all of your friends have the same views as you? Furthermore, are all of your associates your friends?

King did not believe in Communism. He makes this clear in “A Letter from the Birmingham Jail.” In it, Dr. King said, “If today I lived in a Communist country where certain people dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country’s anti-religious laws.”

You are correct on one thing. King did study Marx’s theories, but in his autobiography, he said, “My reading of Marx also convinced me that truth is found neither in Marxism nor in traditional capitalism.”

Dr. King was a strong man. He endured bombings of his home, beatings and arrests for ludicrous reasons. Yet he still advocated non-violence, even when his “associates” urged him to fight back.

Mr. Cummins, please know what you are talking about before you write it. Don’t take one of history’s most courageous leaders and turn his name into a mockery.

Bridget Pitcock

Tompkinsville freshman

Questioning Cummins’ sources

As an English professor teaching research skills, I need to respond to the MLK holiday commentary by Zak Cummins.

The first thing I talk about when teaching research skills is to evaluate one’s sources: look for little clues to see if your source is credible, especially on Web sites.

If it ends with .gov or .edu, you may be fairly safe. The major clue that makes me question the www.martinlutherking.org site Cummins mentions is its frequent advertising for a book by David Duke, a former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

Since this Web site is pushing this sale, then I’d seriously ask how much of the information on MLK on this Web site is either fabricated or taken out of context merely for the sake of stirring up racial bigotry?

If you’re one of my students, please learn a lesson from Cummins’ mistake.

Paul M. Bush

Assistant professor

Department of English

Cummins should attend Sharpton event

Once again, Mr. Cummins, you have stuck your foot in your mouth.

Last semester you criticized a brave young lady for her courage against hatred. Now you are throwing mud on the grave of a man who fought for all of us.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was by no means a perfect man, but then again, no one is. King was never a Communist nor did he ever verbalize his support for the Communist Party or its practices. He simply was acquainted with them. Last time I checked, that is not a crime.

You also failed to realize that King’s holiday is not a celebration of one man, but it is a remembrance of his actions. The vision King had was not only to give black people a better place in this world but also to make the world a more peaceful and tolerant place.

King was arrested multiple times, beaten, stabbed and had his house bombed so that his kids could live in a world where no one — regardless of their color, religion, or sex — would have to deal with such things.

Mr. Cummins, I challenge you to come to hear the Rev. Al Sharpton talk. Sharpton might be able to shed some light on why we celebrate King’s life.

Maybe then you’ll begin to understand that this issue isn’t just about black or white or who should or shouldn’t have a holiday in their honor.

It’s about paying honor and respect to those who try to improve this planet.

Ryan Dearbone

Hopkinsville sophomore

Sharpton a bad choice

Could I believe what I read? Western will have a very well-known person visiting our campus to discuss civil rights issues, domestic policy and Iraq.

Who is this intellectual giant? The Rev. Al Sharpton!

His claim to fame? He is to the civil rights movement what Billy Carter was to his brother: a hideous embarrassment.

He is a notorious race warlord. He has no credibility whatsoever.

Obviously, this makes him a prime candidate to address Western on important issues.

A university is obligated to bring in speakers with varied ideas and opinions, but it’s equally obligated to make a distinction between those who have something to offer and delusional, divisive demagogues.

For example, Walter E. Williams and Thomas Sowell have informed, rational and logical ideas on a wide array of issues. They also have credibility.

Perhaps Williams, Sowell and the countless others who have more insight — not to mention respect — are too busy to visit us.

Then again, sometimes it’s more fun to listen to a pompous shyster than someone who can offer rational discourse.

Todd Holloway

Bowling Green sophomore