Fired Newspaper Editor Shows How To Save America

Printed from:

If America is to be healed of its ills it’s going to take people challenging leftist absurdities in public, even if they suffer for doing so.

Denis Finley, recently the executive editor of The Burlington Free Press in Vermont, did just that. He got fired for it last week by Gannett Company, the national corporation that owns the newspaper.

How’d it happen?

Earlier this month Finley came upon a tweet praising a proposal in Vermont to create a “third gender” for Vermont driver’s licenses as “awesome.”

Three tweets later, he was out of a job. Here they are:

“Awesome! That makes us one step closer to the apocalypse.”

One “third gender” supporter said he likes the driver’s license idea because it provides “recognition.”

Finley responded:

“All recognition? Any recognition, Tim? What if someone said it’s awesome they are going to recognize pedophiliacs on licenses? I’m not being snarky, I’m just asking. Not all recognition is awesome.”

Then someone asked if Finley thinks the world is coming to an end, since he used the word “apocalypse.”

Finley responded:

“The world isn’t coming to an end yet. I think it’s just falling apart, piece by piece.”

To be fair, Finley’s “pedophiliacs” tweet is inelegant, because it leads predictably to an equivalence claim. (Transgender people = pedophiliacs.) But that’s not what Finley was saying. His point was that “recognition” alone is a hollow argument:  it matters what is being recognized. And you get from his drift that he doesn’t agree recognizing a “third gender” is a good idea.

There are two ways you can go with this one. The first is to say Finley is a martyr for free expression. He expressed views that many outspoken people in Vermont didn’t like, and that the company that owns the paper found inconvenient, and therefore he got fired.

That’s the tenor of his interview Thursday night with Tucker Carlson on Fox News Channel.

Carlson asked Finley why what he said about a “third gender” is “out of bounds.”

“I’d say it’s out of bounds because I didn’t agree with it,” Finley said. “… And really, I believe that if I had said, ‘That is great and courageous. Awesome. That’s great,’ I don’t think we’d be having this conversation here today, Tucker.”

He described a situation where the chorus of his enemies got too loud for the corporate drones at Gannett to deal with. Whether the suits at Gannett believe in any principles or policy objectives, they fervently believe in don’t-rock-the-boat-ism.

“I don’t think that they’re objective. I don’t believe that they want debate. I think they want us to conform,” Finley told Carlson. “And conform to the prevailing ideology that’s out there, and the prevailing ideology that’s out there is leftist. And when the leftists take you on, they’re big in number, and people are afraid to say anything against them, so they often win.”

So yet another American worker expressed disagreement with the left-wing orthodoxy at his large corporation and lost his job for it.

But there’s another way to go with this story.

You could call Finley a martyr to truth.

Because the point he was driving at is true.

How so?

There are two sexes:  male and female.  There are gender characteristics associated with each:  masculine for male and feminine for female.

The claims that biological sex is a construct, that gender is a construct, and that gender identity confusion is a neutral or even good thing are false.

More than that, though:  These claims are hurtful.

When you tell people who are experience gender confusion that there’s nothing wrong with them that acceptance and accommodation won’t fix, you’re telling them a lie – and a lie that hurts them.

Here’s an example.

Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore pioneered sex change operations in 1966. But in 1979 the hospital stopped performing them. Why? A study had shown, according to the hospital’s chief of psychiatry at the time, that sex change operations weren’t curing the mental and emotional problems the patients had when they first sought treatment. Instead, Dr. Paul R. McHugh found, the hospital’s program “was fundamentally cooperating with mental illness. We psychiatrists, I thought, would do better to concentrate on trying to fix their minds and not their genitalia.”

In October 2016, the hospital announced it would start doing sex change operations (“gender-affirming surgery”) again, 37 years after McHugh ended them. The hospital’s letter refers obliquely to the role of McHugh (now retired) in opposing such surgeries, and defends academic freedom, but it makes no argument whatsoever to justify sex change operations. It is purely a paean to what it calls “the LGBT community.” (As in:  “Johns Hopkins Medicine’s commitment to the LGBT community is strong and unambiguous.”)

And that’s the point for the Left:  Keep repeating the lies over and over until no justification is needed.

McHugh is a practicing Catholic. To some feverish leftists, that’s equivalent to being irrational, bigoted, and cruel. But facts are stubborn things. It doesn’t matter who’s saying them. It matters whether they are true.

In 2004, The Guardian, a left-leaning English newspaper with no noticeable interest in religion, asked expert researchers to review more than 100 medical studies on what the article called “post-operative transsexuals.” The conclusion:  “There is no conclusive evidence that sex change operations improve the lives of transsexuals, with many people remaining severely distressed and even suicidal after the operation …”

What has changed between 2004 and now? It’s not the science. It’s the politics.

What can change it back? People standing up and telling the truth in the face of lies.

People like Denis Finley.

And people like you.


Matt McDonald is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of New Boston Post. See other articles by him here.