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From AJR,   April 1995  issue

Rooting Out Socialists and Advertisers   

Newt's plan just requires a little sacrifice for the cause.

By Reese Cleghorn
Reese Cleghorn is former president of AJR and former dean of the College of Journalism of the University of Maryland.     

Advertisers, boycott those socialist newspapers. Thus sayeth Newt.

He especially has his eye on all those socialists in the editorial departments of dailies throughout the land. In dropping their advertising from these papers, the House speaker told a private audience in Washington, corporate executives should find "alternative methods" of reaching their audience.

This was a very thought-provoking challenge, for editors and for corporate executives.

For editors the big challenge is to find the socialists and root them out.

They've got to be there somewhere. In election after election, some newspapers endorse Democrats, despite the Republican tilt of editorial pages throughout most of this century. This is clear evidence that there are socialists on editorial boards. These particular editorial writers are sympathetic to the views of about half of the country's voters, who are socialist to the core and want to bring down the capitalist system.

Tony Blankley, who is employed to reconstrue Speaker Gingrich's remarks each day, offered a good interpretation of this bit of Newtspeak. He said, perhaps just a bit defensively, "There's nothing un-American about being a socialist." He said Gingrich probably was referring to people who think taxes don't affect people's behavior.

This analysis also is thought-provoking, and a challenge to all good Americans. If you ever hear someone say raising or lowering taxes does not affect how much money people spend, according to Blankley, you've got a socialist right there. You should phone the speaker's office. If it's an editorial writer, also phone the editor.

And make an indignant call to cancel your want-ad in that paper. You don't have to advertise with those socialist guys. This may take a little explaining to the ad department, but you can always refer them to Mr. Blankley.

As for the speaker's advice to corporate executives, he is certainly right. Why should they support socialists? After all, socialists don't think taxes affect people's behavior. Any good corporate executive knows that taxes cause sleeplessness and the gout. These are bad for business, so businesses should cancel their advertising.

The speaker is not usually opposed to free-market forces. Or I think that's right, though Mr. Blankley may need to clarify their position on this. It would seem that the speaker's position on how to handle editorial writers who don't understand the effects of taxes is just an exception to his usual free-market policy.

We can understand that. The need to expose socialists and punish the corporations that employ them must supersede normal business considerations. Everybody has to sacrifice a little something in this struggle, and corporations that buy advertising can certainly give up the little bit of business they get from that.

Down on the ground level, for instance, car dealers can just stock somewhat fewer cars, since people may not know about their availability. But, though the dealers may not understand at first, this is really a very small thing they could do for capitalism.

1he Gingrich approach may hurt business a little, all around, but it's worth it to save capitalism. Profits are not everything. In this case, maximizing the prophet is more important. l