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Opening Arguments

Sorry for the silly words

Wow. I've seen some embarrassing retractions before and even had to make a painful one myself (taking back our endorsement of Bill Clinton), but this one from the folks at Patriot-News in Pennsulvania is a doozy:

Seven score and ten years ago, the forefathers of this media institution brought forth to its audience a judgment so flawed, so tainted by hubris, so lacking in the perspective history would bring, that it cannot remain unaddressed in our archives.

We write today in reconsideration of “The Gettysburg Address,” delivered by then-President Abraham Lincoln in the midst of the greatest conflict seen on American soil. Our predecessors, perhaps under the influence of partisanship, or of strong drink, as was common in the profession at the time, called President Lincoln’s words “silly remarks,” deserving “a veil of oblivion,” apparently believing it an indifferent and altogether ordinary message, unremarkable in eloquence and uninspiring in its brevity.

In the fullness of time, we have come to a different conclusion. No mere utterance, then or now, could do justice to the soaring heights of language Mr. Lincoln reached that day. By today’s words alone, we cannot exalt, we cannot hallow, we cannot venerate this sacred text, for a grateful nation long ago came to view those words with reverence, without guidance from this chagrined member of the mainstream media.

Well, yes, "in the fullness of time," calling the address silly does seem, well, silly, since that short speech is always at or near the top of the list of the greatest speeches every made. But apologizing for what your predecessors said 150 years ago? Really?