When I wrote about the death of Mike Wallace of CBS News’ 60 Minutes, I was moved by a comment by Arthur@AmeriNZ: “I have a troubled reaction to Mike Wallace…I did enjoy many of his interviews, and I grew up with his version of Biography. However, he also did CBS Reports: The Homosexuals for which I have a really tough time forgiving him. Noted activist Wayne Besen called that broadcast ‘the single most destructive hour of antigay propaganda in our nation’s history.’ And it was.”
Seems to me that in order to have such feelings, it has to be from someone you liked and respected. If Congressman (R-FL) Allen West says that about 80 members of the Democratic Party are members of the Communist Party, it doesn’t matter much to me, because West has been, and is increasingly moreso, a doofus. But when someone you admire lets you down, it’s another issue entirely.
I’m sure I have lots of examples in my personal life, but the one in the public arena involved the Reverend Jesse Jackson. He was running for President in the 1984 campaign, and I was inclined to at least consider supporting him. But when news of the ethnic slur against Jews came out early in 1984, it was all over for me. The initial denial by Jackson, followed by his conspiracy theory, did not help matters at all. Though I did love him on Saturday Night Live.
What public figure have you admired who said or did something so egregiously wrong in your view that you still haven’t quite forgiven him or her?