King vs. Newsbusters Blogger

May 7th, 2008 | by Sqotty |

The Bangor News, in Maine, is carrying a piece on Stephen King firing back at blogger Noel Sheppard at, who published an article on a statement King made when addressing a group high school students at a symposium held at the Library of Congress.

What was it that Stephen King say at this symposium to set things off” This:

I don’t want to sound like an ad, a public service ad on TV, but the fact is if you can read, you can walk into a job later on. If you don’t, then you’ve got, the Army, Iraq, I don’t know, something like that. It’s, it’s not as bright. So, that’s my little commercial for that.

This is, as Sheppard pointed out, reminiscent of John Kerry’s 2006 statement about studying hard, doing your home work, or you get stuck in Iraq.

It also ranks up there with the Letter to the Editor from an SF high school math teacher carried by Inside Bay Area that assumes if you don’t know math, you don’t have any options other than the military.

These kinds of statements are insulting and harmful to the morale and integrity of those who choose to put on the uniform of our Armed Services. To insinuate that those who, unlike Stephen King (okay, he was rated 4-F) , choose to serve their country, even in a time of war, as doing so due to a lack of opportunity, is ignorant.

King’s response to the criticism (from Bangor News):

“That a right-wing-blog would impugn my patriotism because I said children should learn to read, and could get better jobs by doing so, is beneath contempt,” he said in a statement posted on his Web site.

But the Bangor News cut short the full statement. On King’s website, King continues with:

I guess he feels ignorance and illiteracy are OK when the country needs cannon-fodder. I guess he also feels that the war in Iraq has nationwide approval. Well, it doesn’t have mine.

There is, of course, much, much more than this, some of it covered in the Bangor News.

First off, no one, including the Sheppard, has impugned King’s “patriotism.” For King to claim such is patently false. No one, including Sheppard, claims that ignorance, illiteracy, or, in the case of the SF math teach, lack of math skills are OK, regardless of what else is going on in the world. No one wants our troops to be used as cannon-fodder, especially those who have chosen to serve in the Armed Forces. It si people like King and kerry who falsely imply that there are people who believe it is okay to not develop the basic skills people need to thrive in life. No one has ever claimed that this war has 100% nationwide approval. Quite frankly, however, it did not need Stephen King’s approval. If he wants things done only on his approval, he should run for president.

King ended his rant with a request encouraging people to email Sheppard and tell him that King says to “shut up and I agree.” Maybe someone should start an email campaign to tell Stephen King to shut up as well.

Sheppard of Newsbusters has this response for King: “It’s some of his best writing in a long time, wouldn’t you agree?”

Yep, I agree.


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