published Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Bennett crosses a shameful line

LETTERS TO THE EDITORS

Bennett crosses a shameful line

On the date of Judge Bob Moon's funeral (Jan. 28), you published a "cartoon" showing lack of compassion for people. It mocked the friendship between Judge Moon and Judge David Bales. Judge Moon's compassion and love for people and guidance in their personal lives and in their careers will be sorely missed by many. You allowed your political cartoonist to hit a low in integrity, class and compassion for his fellowman.

Judge David Bales is a man of integrity, honor and compassion. He has been a loyal friend to Judge Moon. Judge Bales does not deserve this public ridicule.

Some months ago, I made a telephone complaint to your office about the mean spirit of some of Mr. Clay Bennett's cartoons. A gentleman said that Mr. Bennett was well-respected all over this country. I said that I would assume that the Times Free Press approved of these mean-spirited cartoons. I said that many people would be deeply offended by his mean-spirited representations. This time, you allowed Mr. Bennett to cross a shameful line.

FRANK AND JUDY BAILEY

Hixson

Cartoon the mother of all cheap shots

Having spent 22 years of a former life in newspapers, I understand some of the basics of editorial cartooning -- specifically, that a cartoonist should be provocative, but at the same time free from editorial interference. Accordingly, I had no issue with Clay Bennett or his occasionally good work until Jan. 29.

For the record: I do not live in Hamilton County. I was not acquainted with the late Judge Moon, nor am I acquainted with Judge David Bales.

Judge Bales was and is fair game, and the Times Free Press has taken him to task when necessary. Judge Moon had issues that were similarly well-chronicled, as they should have been. No problem on either count.

Perhaps I misunderstood the cartoon. Perhaps Mr. Bennett's sole aim was to take a shot at Judge Bales. But the cartoon struck me as the mother of all cheap shots, as Judge Moon is no longer around to defend himself.

The man is dead. Was a parting shot really necessary?

In professional fighting, a bout stops when one man can't continue. Then again, what do I know? Mr. Bennett is, after all, a Pulitzer Prize winner.

BOB GARY JR.

Ringgold, Ga.

Band participants also good studnts

As a retired teacher, my interest in the education of children is a top priority. In a time when we hear more bad than good in my profession, I want to point out one positive that is almost always evident. That is the success of students who participate in band.

These children are not only good musicians, they also are excellent students. Rarely will one find a band student who is not a dedicated, all-around, good kid. No discipline problems here!

Last Friday evening, I was privileged to witness the Sale Creek Panther Pride marching band perform all decked out in their new uniforms. Not only was the band performance awesome, also the athletes, students and fans showed great enthusiasm, excellent sportsmanship and behavior. As an alumana and former teacher at Sale Creek, I have never felt so proud in my entire life.

The word "PRIDE" stands for "People Really Interested Do Extra." This school is doing an extra special good job. My hat is off to the students, teachers, band boosters and parents. We may be small but we've got PRIDE!

BETTY LEGG

Sale Creek, Tenn.

Newspaper reflects death of decency

I object to the political cartoon in your paper on Jan. 28. It saddens me to observe that the Times Free Press has fallen victim to the plague that has consumed the rest of our society; the death of respect and common decency. I feel the publishing of the cartoon about Judges Moon and Bales on the date of Judge Moon's funeral was highly inappropriate.

It saddens me to see that a newspaper, that at one time was highly respected, has fallen to the level of the tabloid press, willing to print anything to gain attention, regardless of the pain it may cause others. I would sincerely hope that your editor would at least apologize to the family of Judge Moon for this lack of common courtesy.

TOM CRIPPS

Bennett, paper should apologize

I usually love the political cartoons in the Times Free Press. However, the Jan. 28 cartoon was in bad taste. I have never seen a political attack on a person the day of their funeral. I am talking about Judge Bob Moon, who died suddenly, shocking his family and the community, and the cartoon by Clay Bennett.

Everyone was mourning the loss of Judge Moon when Clay Bennett came out with his political attack of Judges Moon and Bales, knowing Judge Moon could not respond. It is a cheap shot to attack someone who cannot defend themselves. It also showed no respect for the Moon family in their time of loss.

In the past, community leaders who have died have been painted in a gracious and respectful light. The Bennett cartoon of the day was neither of these.

He, along with the newspaper, need to make a public apology to the Moon family for their making of Bob Moon's passing a political event, instead of the passing of a community leader who will surely be missed.

SGT. KEN SHRUM

Chattanooga Police Department (Retired)

Cartoon a tasteless attempt at humor

I seldom agree with the opinions written by the Chattanooga Times and view it more with laughter rather than as a source of serious commentary.

Today's cartoon (Jan. 28), depicting Judge Moon's chair with a dummy character of Judge Bales, crossed the line of journalistic ethics. Never in my life have I seen a more sick, tasteless attempt at political humor. It is common knowledge that Judge Moon and Judge Bales were dear friends and it also is common knowledge that Judge Bales is one of the first person's who found Judge Moon dead. If Bennett has no more shame than to poke fun at his political enemies less than 48 hours after a tragic death, then I suggest your editors take a break for a while and do some research on "simple human decency."

JOHN CLARK

Carolina result isn't surprising

The Republican debates have been a circus. I have never seen so many lying politicians. I laughed when Gingrich, of all people, called Romney a liar.

Newt, who has been married nearly as many times as Elizabeth Taylor and possibly had more affairs, and more baggage than the old Railway Express, carried South Carolina.

This surprised my wife, since South Carolina probably has more evangelicals than any state in the Bible Belt. It didn't surprise me. I'm a Southerner! I've seen this kind of "Christian" (hypocrites?) turn their heads when it served their purpose.

The Democratic Party lost the South when blacks received the vote. The race issue turned the South over to Republicans. Too many Southern Democrats are racists.

Nevertheless, I'm pulling for Gingrich since my first choice, Cain, was eliminated for womanizing. It would have been wonderful to see two African-Americans running for president. Rednecks and racists would have had no where to go, ensuring Obama's re-election.

If Gingrich gets elected, he would put a colony on the moon. That's a Newt "grandiose" idea. However, the colony would consist only of millionaires. The poor and middle class couldn't afford to go. They would need government assistance, and that would be "socializing" the moon.

WILBOURNE C. MARKHAM SR.

Walden, Tenn.

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I wonder if there's an organized letter-writing campaign going on.

Reminds me of the Christian Shark-fin cartoon last year.

February 3, 2012 at 12:38 a.m.
PinkSalmon said...

LOL! happy...I was just thinking the very same thing. These jokers are attempting to force the hands of the tfp by making it seem everyone is in agreement, when most really don't give &^%! They operate in numbers to appear more powerful. I've seen them try this same tea party* strategy before.

They're actually the ones disgracing and shaming the memory of Judge Bob Moon with their juvenile antics. The Judge Moon I remember would be embarrassed and disgusted with their exploitation of him. The widow, Mrs. Moon, hopefully will come forward and demand they put a stop to their lunatic antics.

Note: Most all of'em come from a certain part of the County? Of course, they have a few friends in Ringgold and elsewhere to give the appearance of being more spread out.

February 3, 2012 at 3:07 a.m.
ldurham said...

The letters hit the nail on the head. There's no organized campaign. Just widespread disappointment in what used to be a decent newspaper. Now it's just an attention-seeking tabloid, featuring a burned-out cartoonist thirsting for a better gig. Timing is everything, and the Times looney-tune lefty squad published this piece of crap a few days too early.

February 3, 2012 at 8:05 a.m.
riverman said...

Sorry Wilby, the Democrats did not lose the south when the blacks got the vote in 1965. As recently as 1994 Tennessee had 2 Democrat Senators and the Governor. Georgia did not elect a Republican Governor until 2002 and had had only 1 Republican Senator up until that time. As recently as 2008 Louisiana had a Democrat Governor and Senator. And it took 40 years for the Republicans to gain control in Southern Legislatures. Of course I hate to confuse a liberal Democrat with the facts.

February 3, 2012 at 8:05 a.m.

Sorry Riverman, your historical analysis is incorrect. You can clearly see the electoral switch of the South with a bit of perspective. Certainly it was not an immediate one-day process, with no cross-over, but I don't think that WILBOURNE C. MARKHAM was intended to say that, just recognizing that it did happen.

If you don't believe me, go check out how many politicians switched parties. Take a look at Rick Perry in particular. Go check out the Presidential races.

You aren't in possession of the facts, you're just grasping at straws.

ldurham, the more you accuse, the more doubts I have. Especially since I'm quite sure you'd completely switch directions were it some other subject closer to your own sentiments.

February 3, 2012 at 9:21 a.m.
riverman said...

Oops, correction. Georgia had 2 Republican Senators before 2002. Also forgot that North Carolina now has a Democrat Senator and Governor.

February 3, 2012 at 9:22 a.m.
riverman said...

Bulb,what part of,"the Democrats lost the south WHEN the blacks got the vote," do you not understand? If Wilby did not mean to say that he might have written, the Democrats BEGAN losing the south when the Democrats got the vote. Glad to see he has such a high opinion of his fellow southern Democrats.

February 3, 2012 at 9:29 a.m.

Well, if you wish to suggest he rewrite it for clarity, that's fine.

I don't believe your suggestion is simply one for improvement though, you were just trying to prove him wrong. But you just admitted he was correct, you just wanted it expressed differently.

February 3, 2012 at 10:45 a.m.
ldurham said...

"happywiththenewbulbs"... I can assure you, if Mr. Bennett were to doodle one of his ha-ha cartoons about a liberal hero, like Tommie Brown, in the period between her death and her funeral, I would be just as offended. Of course this would never happen, nor should it happen...to anyone.

February 3, 2012 at 10:55 a.m.
rolando said...

idurham, you got it right. This rag is desperate in its attempts to remain afloat and panders to the Progressives among us...all the while paying PPoor lip service to the rest of us.

February 3, 2012 at 10:59 a.m.

ldurham: Does it have to be Mr. Bennett? What if it's some other artist? Can we see your offense demonstrated somewhere? I'd post some images, but that'd be kinda suspect since you could just say "Of course I'm offended" now without it being necessarily genuine.

February 3, 2012 at 11:34 a.m.
ldurham said...

If you can show me other examples of when the TFP ran an obituary of a respected local official on page 3, and a demeaning cartoon on the next page, I'll be happy to express my offense.

February 3, 2012 at 12:27 p.m.

What good would that do? If you say you're offended now, that's no test of authenticity.

For that, I would want you to provide a prior example of offense in such circumstances, preferably ones that had nothing to do with your own animosity towards Clay Bennett or your favoritism towards the Subject matter.

So you can say you hate Clay Bennett for something else. That's nothing. Show me your criticism towards somebody who you agree with, and who would be saying something you supported.

February 3, 2012 at 3:09 p.m.
ldurham said...

In other words, you can't show me a previous example of the TFP doing something this stupid. I didn't think you could. Where does it say I hate Clay Bennett? Never met him. I have no desire to do so. It would show a great deal of class on his part, if he would apologize for the heartless timing of a demeaning cartoon.

But what are the chances of that? Hopefully the publicity he's getting from this (his main purpose) will send him on to greener pastures... perhaps a liberal hotbed where his "genius" will be appreciated. Because most folks in this town think he sucks.

February 3, 2012 at 3:23 p.m.

I could tell you lots of times when people get outraged at something Clay Bennett drew. I already mentioned one in my first post. Did you not see it? Do you want me to link back through it, or to the numerous letters expressing outrage towards it?

I don't know why. This discussion isn't about that or him. Why on earth are you thinking about that it is? For me, this discussion is about you. You're coming across to me as somebody who is antagonistic towards him. Haven't you noticed your animosity towards him in your own posts? You just gave another, when you make a bombastic claim about how "most folks in this town think he sucks" which is further evidence to me that you're a card-carrying member of the Anti-Clay Bennett Club. If you're not, you should join, I hear you get a discount on haircuts!

And you expect me to believe you wouldn't ignore someone making a similar drawing if it were a sentiment you agreed with. I think you'd be completely indifferent, at best, and more likely supportive. You're certainly trying to duck the issue here, with your dodging of the issue.

So...yeah, keep pushing your offense, I'm beginning to think it's more and more fake, not genuine, just part of your campaign. You hate Clay Bennett. So whatever he does, you'll find an excuse to criticize him on it.

Or will you produce an example of you expressing outrage at another cartoon, by some other artist, where it was a sentiment you supported?

No? Don't you want to prove you're genuine?

February 3, 2012 at 4:27 p.m.
rolando said...

Idurham -- newbulbs, along with his messiah The Obama, follows the Saul Alinsky rules of offense; accuse without basis, say anthing, attack, use red herrings, etc.

He is using you. He attacks, you feel you must defend against them.

Don't. Just tell him to go suck rocks...and keep repeating it. He can't stand that and soon leaves you alone. There are a number of others here who use the same attack method.

February 3, 2012 at 5:01 p.m.

Rolando, I wonder if you take your hypocrisy pills in the morning, or the evening?

I guess it doesn't matter. The fact is, the people against Clay Bennett, like you, and the current crop feeding on Judge Moon just come with criticisms, much as you accuse others of doing.

And this is why none of it matters. No integrity. No honor. That almost makes you a bad opponent since your complete lack of character serves as no check at all.

I'd much rather have enemies with values, then at least sometimes they might offer valid criticism.

February 3, 2012 at 5:44 p.m.
ldurham said...

Let's see... still waiting on another instance in which the TFP ran a demeaning cartoon of a freshly-deceased local elected official before his funeral. Geez, it must be tough to find one. Kind of like trying to find a Clay Bennett apology. I don't believe it exists.

February 3, 2012 at 5:47 p.m.

I'm waiting on you to produce an instance of you criticizing somebody for saying some sentiment you share but in a tasteless way.

I don't believe you ever did it. In fact, from your continued dodging of it, I'm convinced more and more that you never have, that you probably cheer dozens of examples of tasteless comments from those who share your sentiments.

It's like the folks who praise the adulterous Newt who conducted his acts while condemning others. No honesty to you.

February 3, 2012 at 5:52 p.m.
ldurham said...

Tick...tick...tick... still waiting. (yawn)

February 3, 2012 at 6:40 p.m.

Why are you waiting? Shouldn't you be actively showing your own probity with examples of how you have offered criticisms of those whose sentiments you shared?

Yes, you should. You can't. Instead, you try to dodge it, by doing what? Oh yeah! Pretenses of obliviousness!

February 3, 2012 at 7:13 p.m.
rolando said...

newbulbs 00 I wasn't talking to you. Go suck rocks. And take your unfounded criticism with you.

February 3, 2012 at 7:32 p.m.
ldurham said...

Oh, so I'm the one doing the dodging. I see. Meanwhile criticism from sane people is raining down on the TFP and its attention-seeking cartoonist. And they're "dodging" their moral responsibility of apologizing to a deeply offended community.

Part of being a man is owning up to mistakes. So far, Mr. Bennett has not lived up to that title. He has, however succeeded in attracting attention to himself. Mission accomplished, at whatever cost.

February 3, 2012 at 7:40 p.m.

rolando, gee how many days ago were you attacking those who tried to silence others? I don't think it was even a week.

ldurham, seems to me you expect more of others, but nothing of yourself. See your complete indifference to demonstrating that you are an honest critic. And yet you chide others for not being responsible. How does that work?

February 3, 2012 at 8:39 p.m.
PinkSalmon said...

Aren't these the same right wingnut conservatives attacking Clay Bennett the same right wingnut conservatives* who went after tfp cartoonist Bruce Plante and had the tfp run him out of town? 'Nuf said

February 3, 2012 at 9:10 p.m.
ldurham said...

Defending the indefensible isn't easy, is it? Just keep trying. Bennett's reputation, such as it was, is lower than a caterpillar's belly in this town. He's unable, or unwilling to man up. Hopefully his next job will be in a town more suited to his "talent."

February 4, 2012 at 8:19 a.m.

And you said you didn't hate him. But you keep showing examples of you hating him. How's that work?

Here's what I believe, you would not even bat an eye if it were some sentiment you shared, you're just using this as an excuse to justify your attacks because you believe we won't dare to question your reason.

But I've seen quite enough of this kind of criticism that it doesn't hold water. You attack one for any offense, but condone your own.

It just doesn't work, and the more you fail to recognize that, the more I know you're false in your outrage.

February 4, 2012 at 9:50 a.m.
ldurham said...

No, my outrage isn't false. I, along with many others, continue to be outraged that a once half-decent local newspaper allowed a delusional cartoonist, drunk in his own power, to publish an offensive cartoon on the day of a respected citizen's funeral. Period. I know that's hard for the Bennett Band of Loonies to understand. Though, frankly that's easier to believe than the fact that Bennett himself is too smug to apologize for his poor timing and incredibly bad taste.

But no worries: every couple of days, he'll stamp out another mediocre drawing, and you lap dogs can suck up at his trough. Until he gets another job, which his newfound notoriety will surely allow him to do. Meanwhile, the TFP continues its slow but sure descent into total irrelevance, as the impotent suits sit back and watch it sink.

February 4, 2012 at 12:11 p.m.

And yet you said earlier that you didn't hate him. Going back on that already?

Gives me more reason to think you're just picking that reason as justification for your attack, since it seems so superficial compared to your deep loathing for Bennett.

But your animosity keeps showing more more. Look at how you're attacking others in such a hostile manner. Your criticism is showing itself to be less authentic by the post.

February 4, 2012 at 12:37 p.m.
ldurham said...

Tell ya what, Skippy. I'll give you the last word. You probably don't get that at home with Mom.

I'll close by saying that Mr. Bennett has now had a full week to apologize to Judge Moon's family and friends, as well as Judge Bales, and has not done so. He has exposed himself as a callous, attention-seeking coward. Enough said.

February 4, 2012 at 2:49 p.m.

Oh, somebody who just insulted somebody for living with their mother calls someone ELSE a coward.

Tell you what, you learn some decency yourself before you get to look down at others.

You're far more cowardly than Clay Bennett.

February 4, 2012 at 5:19 p.m.
rosebud said...

Hey, happy bulb boy: give it up. You've been owned. And Clay Bennett is a ball-less wonder.

February 4, 2012 at 7:12 p.m.

Again, we see the typical Anti-Clay Bennett fan club rallying around each other and cheering...for another complete failure?

February 4, 2012 at 8:21 p.m.
shoe_chucker said...

you Bennett bashers have got it all wrong. i would expect nothing less from the slack jawed mouth breathers around here.

in the ventriloquist puppet relationship the ventriloquist is a god. if anyone should be offended it should be judge bales.

February 4, 2012 at 10:48 p.m.
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