I used to, on occasion, enjoy visiting World Magazine’s website and perusing the latest articles. I’ve found them in the past to have some pretty smart articles. Of late I find myself visiting less and less, and lamenting that fact, primarily do to articles like the following: Did Richard Land deserve to lose his radio program?
For those not familiar with the situation, not to long ago Land made some outlandish comments that at best would be considered highly insensitive (“[A black dude] is statistically more likely to do you harm than a white man. Is it tragic that people react that way? Yes. Is it unfair? Yes? But it is understandable” along with other, more politically charged comments).
It then came to light that a significant chunk of his radio program discussing the Trayvon Martin case was lifted from a Washington Times article. Plagiarism is the word folks kept throwing out. From the head of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC). Ethics committee.
The ERLC rightly investigated and disciplined him by pulling his show among other things; this is something that they should be commended for. When the situation initially happened, I rolled my eyes and thought “this will just be swept under the carpet.” It’s encouraging to hear that it wasn’t.
But it’s discouraging to see World Magazine respond that this is talk radio’s normal operating procedure, and refer to Land’s transgressions as “sloppy” rather than the shameful affair that they were. Ethically we have a responsibility for our words, for what they portray and what they inspire in people. And our standard isn’t now, nor has it ever been, the normal operating procedures of the world.