The Lynching of David Seanor

Has it really come to this? Have the forces of political correctness so taken over that we can’t even discuss the topic of race in this country without being labeled racist?

You may have heard of the controversy created when Golf Channel anchor Kelly Tilghman, in a moment of breathtaking stupidity, said that the only way to beat Tiger Woods would be to “lynch him in a back alley”, a comment which practically had co-host Nick Faldo scrambling for a crowbar to help her get her foot out of her mouth.

Nice going, Kelly. Given the number of black men who really have been lynched in back alleys, the remark was profoundly stupid, insensitive, and unfunny.

Not surprisingly, this caused a major uproar. Al Sharpton, the man who has never met a television camera he didn’t like, predictably called for her firing. Interestingly, Tiger Woods himself, acting with characteristic maturity, downplayed the whole incident, and accepted Tilghman’s apology. Tilghman was suspended for two weeks.

Enter Golfweek Magazine. Again not surprisingly, they ran an article on the whole sorry affair, and the cover of that issue (pictured above) featured a startling image of a noose.

This caused even more of an outcry than the story it was covering. Faced with (what else?) the threat of advertisers walking out the door, Golfweek fired editor David Seanor.

Am I the only one who sees a certain irony in all of this? Kelly Tilghman makes a stupid, racially insensitive remark, and gets off with a slap on the wrist. David Seanor attempts to examine not only this incident but also the larger issue of race as it relates to this overwhelmingly white sport, and he loses his job.

Seanor explained to the Associated Press, “Most people who are objecting to it—within the golf industry—are saying this episode was just about over,” Seanor said. “I think it’s indicative of how, when you bring race and golf into the same sentence, everyone recoils…I wish we could have come up with something that made the same statement but didn’t create as much negative reaction…but as this has unfolded, I’m glad there’s dialogue. Let’s talk about this, and the lack of diversity in golf.”

Now before you start sending me the hate mail, let me make something perfectly clear. Blacks have gotten screwed in this country for hundreds of years. The way blacks have been treated in this country is an evil blot on our history. Whites, at least some of them, have much to answer for.

But what is so very troubling about this is how when the subject of race rears its ugly head, rationality seems to be the first victim. Seanor’s heart was, from all accounts, in the right place. Golf is just about the most lily white sport there is–to this day there are country clubs which don‘t allow blacks–and this incident provided an admirable place to examine this issue. What we have here is a classic case of shooting the messenger.

Was David Seanor being provocative? Sure he was, but last time I checked, that’s what editors are supposed to be. Even if he did cross the line, what was warranted, at most, was an apology, and frankly, I don’t think he has anything to apologize for. As editor, his job is to intrigue the reader, make you want to read the article, and hopefully, make you think.

This has not happened here. Indeed, people seem to have stopped thinking. Sadly, it seems as though everyone is too busy focusing on the cover to actually read the article. Had they done so, they would have read a thoughtful exposition of not only the controversy in question, but of the issue of race in golf in general.

But even more troubling is how the notion of freedom of speech is being subverted by political correctness, which is in reality nothing less odious than censorship masquerading as benevolence. If the concept of freedom speech is to have any validity, then it must apply to everyone, not just to those who are saying what you want to hear. Not everything that is said is going to be intelligent, or kind. But the price you pay for being able to say or write what you want, is that you have to put up with everyone else saying and writing what they want.

As I read this story, all I could think of was the stories of David Howard, a Washington, D. C. mayoral staffer, and Stephanie Bell, a fourth grade teacher from Wilmington, NC, who both got themselves into hot water for using the word “niggardly“, a word which has absolutely no racial connotations except to the uneducated and hyper-politically correct. David Howard lost his job. Stephanie Bell was ordered to write a written apology and attend sensitivity training! This is what happens when political correctness replaces factual discourse.

As a strange little sequel to all this, I read in the paper yesterday that, when asked if Bill Clinton was the “first black president”, Barak Obama stated that he would have to “investigate [Clinton’s] dancing ability” before he could “accurately judge whether [Clinton] was in fact a brother”. So, like any good American, I checked out the video.

The audience laughed. Hillary laughed. I laughed. John Edwards looked extremely uncomfortable, as well he should have. He knows damn well that if he had been that “witty” he’d be out of the race by now. You can check out the video here.

What is happening in this country is that this most cherished of our freedoms is being eroded by the twin forces of political correctness and advertising dollars. What Kelly Tilghman said was stupid, but she did not deserve to lose her job. In fact, it seems as though the Golf Channel wasn’t going to punish her at all until it was pressured by advertisers, resulting in her two week suspension.

Is it fair that David Seanor, whose only crime was a desire to report the incident and create dialogue, should suffer a worse fate than Kelly Tilghman? I think not. It bodes ill for us all if we cannot even discuss the issue of race in this country without being labeled racist.


7 Responses to “The Lynching of David Seanor”

  1. January 23, 2008 at 11:21 am

    Who knows, maybe Golf Week had some other reasons, too, that played into their firing of Seanor.

    Just this morning, I was reading some of a discussion forum on a website where people use their Texas Blue Lacy dogs for hunting hogs and one of the Users had this as part of their signature “A free society is one where it is safe to be unpopular.”

    Here’s to being unpopular!

    Works for me every time! 😉


  2. January 26, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    Evening Mr Smith…i did have a read through this, but have been flat out like a lizard drinking so didn’t manage to find the time {yet} to go through the whole story…I’m reluctant to comment until I have the whole picture {understandably} so will check it out later tonight..it didn’t get a lot of press over here is the thing…all we’re getting at the moment is how “wonderful” hillary is..and i have to say I’m getting to the point where I hate opening my news reader!
    Anyhow, will be back later my friend..I hate to not comment on a post that has obviously had a lot of thought put into it, but like I said, prefer to have the whole picture before I do
    ah’ll be baack!
    {imagine arnie here ok??}

    Fair enough. I’ll look forward to your next comment. By the way, just how much does a lizard drink in your neck of the woods? 😉


  3. 3 ~m
    January 27, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    Many good points here, Mr. Smith.
    The PC bandwagon is so loaded right now with the likes of gasbags like Sharpton and J.Jackson that it will never leave the station.
    Bullshit sense of entitlement and the tightly shut eyes of society serve to cloud and focus on the negative and inane.
    There are so many things wrong with this entire situation and I doubt it will ever be cleared up.
    With stories like this and that of the Jena 6, we need a small miracle to make people see.
    Until then, we’re royally screwed.
    And the tension will continue and escalate.
    Profoundly sad . . .

    And the irony of it all is that Tiger Woods has always conducted himself with dignity and class, even when things have been said about him (e.g. Fuzzy Zoeller) that would have given him justification for being ticked off. I think Tiger Woods is smart enough to realize that he doesn’t need “friends” like Sharpton and Jackson.


  4. 4 Red
    January 27, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    I, too saw the Obama/Clinton dance gig comment and thought to myself, “Self, if it had been the other way around, instead of a black/white thing, it was a white/black thing, would it had been looked at as humorous?”
    I think not.

    Very true! And if it had been John Edwards who had said it, he’d be out of the race by now


  5. January 28, 2008 at 6:21 am

    it’s nth queensland…hot, humid, steamy and with an o’night minimum of 76 – 80f, so the short answer? shit loads!

  6. January 28, 2008 at 6:54 am

    just one thing before i give an opinion on this debacle…
    tiger woods is a golf player, not a social commentator, so i applaud him for not getting involved..i’m no tiger woods fan, however in this instance i admire him for taking the attitude he did..he spoke to the culprit, they sorted it out and as far as he was concerned that was the end of it…but nooooooooooooo
    i struggle with what’s happened here, i really do..one bimbo makes a remark wihtout thinking and some else loses their job?
    imho they went one step too far with replacing him…having said that, i hate to be the one to say it, but i don’t agree he was merely attempting to report and create dialogue…it could be {and was} seen as inflammatory, and was perhaps a little over the top…
    **It was a naked attempt to inflame and keep alive an incident that was heading to an appropriate conclusion.**
    that’s a statement i agree with…not convinced naked is the right word, but the sentiment is basically correct..
    there are far too many people trying to “do the right thing” and the issue will eventually become so clouded that noone will remember the original remark which is what started the entire shit fight to start with
    summary? yes, they went too far in firing him, however i believe he went just a tad too far with his attempt to report on it…if anyone should have been the sacrificial lamb it’s her…but then if they’d done that, women’s rights groups would have bitten in wouldnt they? no, it doesn’t bode well if the issue of race can’t be discussed without being labelled racist, however there are ways of going about it and i’m not convinced this guy went about it the right way…problem is, his superiors screwed it totally…
    my aoplogies for the long winded comment, but i needed to make myself clear here…i rarely bite into these things, and rarely disagree with a blgo owners opinion, however, like i said, i’m not convinced he was merely trying to create dialogue…if i’ve missed the point entirely, well, i’ll just go home and sulk!

    No apology needed. Feel free to disagree with me anytime you choose! You bring up a very valid point: should Golfweek have simply let the matter die? Were they not in fact fanning the flames just to sell magazines? Each person who becomes familiar with this issue will no doubt form their own opinion. I suspect the correct answer draws a little from Column A, and a little from Column B.

    Thanks for stopping by, Mum! I appreciate your very well thought out comment. 🙂


  7. January 29, 2008 at 5:05 am

    I believe Golfweek would have been far better off using a less provocative visual representation, which is of course what propmted the person responsible to lose his job, so he may think so too by now!
    it’s not that they did the wrong thing {per se} in reporting it, but the manner in which they went about it was a bit over the top..the problem as i see it, is they recognised it had been taken a little too far, the knee jerk reaction took over and a man was crucified..
    I have no issue with people reporting situations such as these in the truest sense of the word “reporting”, it’s the associated crap that goes with it as it has in this case..but for someone to lose their job? that sucks…
    far too many times these days the media {and i include all forms when i say that} go for the cheap, sensational headline in order to convince people to buy, and this is absolutely the case here, but again, i don’t think it was worth someone losing their job over it..
    is there really a “correct” answer in these situations?
    in an ideal world, it would have been addressed in an adult manner, discussed, a decision made on any damage that may have been done and someone might have got their butt kicked…then it could have died a natural death in a reasonably short time frame…
    tiger woods, i believe got it right…he addressed it a reasonable, adult manner, said his piece to the culprit and went to play another game of golf…if executives were half as sensible and level headed as him, we wouldn’t be having this conversation, a man would still have his job and the bimbo would have been busted back to delivering mail..
    but that way the whole country wouldn’t be talking about Golfweek would they?

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