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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
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Author:  Mike Bates
Bio: Mike Bates
Date:  February 3, 2009
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Why I Quit The Reporter

The Reporter, a suburban Chicago newspaper, included on its commentary page last week this editorial announcement: "The Reporter newspaper regrets to inform our loyal readers that columnist Michael Bates has chosen to discontinue his services after nearly 20 years writing for our commentary page. "Mr. Bates is a polarizing commentator beloved by some readers and detested by others. . .

The Reporter, a suburban Chicago newspaper, included on its commentary page last week this editorial announcement:

"The Reporter newspaper regrets to inform our loyal readers that columnist Michael Bates has chosen to discontinue his services after nearly 20 years writing for our commentary page.

"Mr. Bates is a polarizing commentator beloved by some readers and detested by others. . . We know some readers won't be upset by his departure, but we also understand those members of the unofficial Michael Bates fan club will be extremely disappointed. One or two readers have actually told us over the years that Mr. Bates' column is the reason they read The Reporter." The notice went on to say something complimentary about my writing and to wish my family and me well.

The statement was wrong about how long I've taken up space in The Reporter. It's been well over 20 years. Then again, since the editor was in elementary school when I began cranking the emphasis here is on crank out a weekly column, his error is understandable.

I do think the editor owed readers the explanation for why I quit writing for The Reporter. Since he didn't provide it, I will. The details likely won't be seen by a majority of "the unofficial Michael Bates fan club," newspaper subscribers who've loyally read my columns and been most generous in their approval. Still, I want the reason to be a matter of cyberspace record. You just never know what might someday be Googled.

Back to the grounds for discontinuing my services. I titled the last column I wrote for The Reporter "Include Me Out," penned the day before the inauguration. The principal point was that Obama's presidency will be a fiasco. (In his first hours, he kicked things off by coddling terrorists and killing unborn babies, so I'm still most confident of that forecast.)

The Reporter's editor changed the column title to "Success for Obama would be disaster." He's changed titles before and, although I didn't like some of his modifications, I never made a big deal about them. He is the editor, after all, and that's part of his job. Besides, neither he nor any of the previous editors tampered with column content and that was what primarily mattered.

This time, however, he also added a sub-headline: "Bitter conservative can't wish U.S. well." It took about 30 seconds from the time I saw that to call to complain. "What part of it didn't you like," he asked, "the bitter conservative?"

No, that element wasn't a problem. I am indeed a bitter conservative, bitter that leftist loon Obama is now destroying the nation.

No, the objectionable portion was his claiming I can't wish my own country well. It implies I'm unpatriotic. That isn't accurate. Well, he went on, if Obama doesn't succeed, then America will fail. How can you not wish Obama well if you love your country?

I replied that Obama is most emphatically not the United States, even though his admirers habitually think so. His "success" in imposing his radical agenda means America loses. National victory requires a vigorous rejection of most of Obama's schemes.

The Reporter has been drifting leftward for a while. If memory serves correctly, the newspaper never endorsed a presidential candidate before, certainly not a Democrat. Yet this year it urged readers to vote for Obama. Last week its front page announced:

"Tears flowed, cheers erupted and in some dark, lonely and bitter places teeth undoubtedly gnashed when Barack Obama was sworn in Tuesday. . . " How's that for balanced, objective reporting? So perhaps it wasn't a surprise that he slapped the sub-headline "Bitter conservative can't wish U.S. well" over the column.

One reader contacted me and asked if I had written that. Since my picture and name appeared right under the statement, it's easy to see why she'd be confused.

The editor is entitled to do his job. Obviously, he's free to voice his opinion and slant the news about those dark, lonely and bitter places as long as the publisher lets him.

But he doesn't have a right to question my devotion to America or assail my patriotism simply because I hold Obama's policies in contempt. I don't want to work with someone who'd do that.

And that's why I quit The Reporter. I'll still do some commentaries and perhaps a few discerning Web sites will occasionally use them. My Townhall.com blog (http://bates.blogtownhall.com/default.aspx) will continue to be updated, as well as my Web site (michaelmbates.com).

But the unofficial Michael Bates fan club previously headquartered through The Reporter is hereby disbanded. It's been quite a run and I thank you.

Mike Bates

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Biography - Mike Bates

Mike Bates wrote a weekly column of opinion - or nonsense, depending on your viewpoint - for over 20 years. Additionally, his articles have appeared in the Congressional Record, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Mensa Journal. He has been a guest on Milt Rosenberg's program on WGN Radio Chicago, the Bruce Elliott show on Baltimore's WBAL, the Jim Sumpter show on the USA Radio Network and the New Media Journal's Blog Radio. As a lad, Mike distributed Goldwater campaign literature and since then has steadily moved further to the Right. He is the author of "Right Angles and Other Obstinate Truths." In 2007, he won an Illinois Press Association award for Original Column


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