Two weeks ago, to its discredit, The Baltimore Jewish Times printed a scurrilous attack on Ron Smith by one of its writers. I sent in the following response, which they published on their website.
--Richard E. Vatz
To the Editor:
As perhaps the most frequently appearing in-house guest professor on Ron Smith’s WBAL-Radio talk show over the last decade, I take exception to the canard issued by writer Issachar Friedmann regarding “the indisputable fact” that Ron was “the No. 1 media anti-Semite in the Baltimore AM dial” or that he was anti-Semitic at all.
If Ron was an anti-Semite, he hid it pretty well. I am Jewish; his favorite producer was Jewish; he had Jewish colleagues who revered him, and his guests sported many Jewish experts. I knew Ron for decades and never heard him make an anti-Jewish slur. Never.
It doesn’t matter. To accuse a recently deceased man of such a horrible label is easy to do through age-old logical fallacies.
Guilt by association: Ron liked the political positions of Joseph Sobran; ergo, he must be an anti-Semite? He liked Pat Buchanan. I was with Pat on Crossfire and his radio show – am I an anti-Semite?
Argumentum ad populum: “Ron Smith was widely viewed as racist by the local African-American community.“ Well that certainly is dispositive. Where is the evidence for that claim? How could C-4 and Gregory Kane never see that side of Ron?
Non Sequitur: Friedmann says Ron was “not much taller” than Michael Bloomberg, yet called him the “Little Mayor,” allegedly proving Smith’s anti-Semitism. Where to begin with that one? Ron was about 5 inches taller than Bloomberg, and if making remarks disparaging height were evidence of anti-Semitism, we would have to adjust the estimate of anti-Semitism up about one thousand notches.
It is hard to say whether Friedmann’s ugly column alleging Ron Smith’s anti-Semitism is more illogical or cowardly, waiting, as the author did, until after Ron’s death to print it.
Friedmann’s poorly researched calumny will not stain the preeminent talk show host Ron Smith’s memory among sophisticated people, only among gutless and desperate rumor-mongers.
Richard E. Vatz, Ph.D.
Towson Distinguished Professor
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