Richard Fausset’s Intellectual Dishonesty

Richard Fausset, author of the New York times piece discussed yesterday on Howell & Yarbrough, made an appearance today on the show to defend his op-ed virtue signaling his deference to gun control legislation and defending his “ability” to read the pulse of Knoxville in the wake of Zaevion Dobson’s tragic death.  I listened to a good portion of Fausset’s interview, and I commend Katherine Howell and Bob Yarbrough for letting Fausset have an equal platform discussing his views and why he wrote his Times Op-Ed in the fashion he chose.  Bob and Katherine are excellent, compassionate journalists and their show is worth a listen every day.  They’re also nice.  I’m not.

Richard Fausset is a pathetic weakling who doesn’t have the guts or the temerity to view the positive steps in Knoxville following Zaevion Dobson’s passing.  He’s got an agenda the Paper of Record wants to support, so he wrote his hit piece in a fashion insulting Knoxville, the Dobson family, and everyone who doesn’t subscribe to his personal view of groupthink.

It’s not enough for Fausett that former gang members organize tributes to Zaevion with proactive steps and talent shows with a focus on eliminating gang violence in the region.  It’s not enough Knoxville as a whole took the time to have an honest discussion on how to prevent gun violence, and specifically gun violence at the heart of gang activity, to take action in the wake of Zaevion’s death.  It’s not enough Zenobia Dobson’s getting immense support from concerned Knoxville citizens to take care of her and her needs in the wake of Zaevion’s passing.  No, the most important thing is we take action President Obama wants and regulate guns through more laws we can’t even describe yet.

His interview with Bob and Katherine reeked of deference and a sign of cowardice.  While two of the best, most courteous journalists in Tennessee tried to give him a platform explaining his insipid tripe of an op-ed, Fausett did nothing more than inflame the dumpster fire that was his exploitation of Zaevion’s death to show his support for President Obama’s continued calls for gun control legislation and utter contempt for those who believe the Supreme Court got it right in D.C. v. Heller and actually follow the law.  From moment one of the interview, Fausett actually decided to take the position of “curiosity” as to why Knoxville’s citizenry would find his work anything less than completely praiseworthy.  It’s simple: when you insult a community united after a tragedy, you’re viewed as an asshole.

In case you haven’t noticed by now, I’m not a fan of Richard Fausett, his integrity, or his ethical position on life.  He could have done the right thing and defended his piece in a fashion with thoughtful, intellectual commentary and engaged people on a discussion as to why his op-ed made a point worthy of discussion.  Instead, Fausett chose the mealy-mouthed approach of praising Knoxville, praising Mayor Rogero’s stance on gun control, and trying to make nice with everyone involved.  A “journalist” would have taken the time to stand by his work and make a point worthy of discussion.  Fausett’s stance reeks terribly of intellectual cowardice, and I’ll be glad to debate him on the issues he raised if he’s man enough to do it.

I realize this is short, but I’ll close with this personal note to Richard Fausett, because I find it worth mentioning.  You took a media cliche and ran with it to advance an agenda you believe merited attention.  I don’t blame you for that.  Corrupt, unethical journalists like you do that sort of thing all the time.  Your decision to advance the narrative of gun control legislation by picking Zaevion Dobson’s heroic sacrifice of his life and Zenobia Dobson’s current suffering only shows you’re the worst form of human being currently occupying this planet.  Please take some time, look in the mirror, and examine the contribution you’ve made to dividing this country over an inflammatory, sensitive issue just to get clicks for your article on the New York Times’ website.

Oh, and your mention on Howell & Yarbrough that people could view it “for free” if they so choose?  That’s a classic sign of an attention-seeking narcissist.  If I were your editor, I’d strongly consider whether keeping you on payroll was a good idea.  Without realizing it, your rhetoric pissed off an entire community and strengthened support for a cause you find “problematic.”  Maybe you need to take a cue from Professor Kingsfield in “The Paper Chase.”  Take a quarter, call your mother, and tell her you have serious reservations over whether you are qualified to be a journalist.


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