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Op-Ed: Will Smith Suffers The Aftermath Of A Reporters Poison Pen

By Pamela Jean     Dec 25, 2007 in World
We've all made statements that have been misconstrued, or worse yet, twisted into something decidedly different from what we meant. Seems Will Smith is the latest to suffer the consequences when a journalist decides to put his own "spin" on a man's words.
Will Smith recently made a statement regarding Adolf Hitler which was published in a Scottish newspaper. The statement read as follows:
"Even Hitler didn't wake up going, 'let me do the most evil thing I can do today.' I think he woke up in the morning and using a twisted, backwards logic, he set out to do what he thought was 'good.' "
Now anyone should be able to read this and understand that Mr. Smith was not inferring that what Hitler did was "good", but apparently the writer, for reasons that are unclear, decided to put his own "spin" on the comment. When publishing his interview with Smith he lead up to the quote by stating that "Remarkably, Will believes everyone is basically good."
Is that what Will said? Absolutely not. He was stating that Hitler, twisted and sick man that he was, did what he did because he, Hitler, thought what he was doing was good.
Following the articles publication celebrity gossip websites ran with the inference, and have since been flooded with articles stating that Smith thinks that Adolf Hitler was a good person.
Smith is understandably incensed by the thoughtless and maligning spin the writer for the Scottish Daily Record put on his comment.
Google "Will Smith Hitler Good" and you will see the huge number of links you'll get in return.
Hollywood.com wrote the following:
HOLLYWOOD - Will Smith has stunned the world by declaring that even Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler was essentially a "good" person.
The I Am Legend star, 39, is determined to see the best in people, and is convinced the former German leader did not fully understand the extent of the pain and suffering his actions would cause during his time in power in the 1930s and '40s.
In an effort to defend himself against his attackers, Smith issued the following statement in his defense:
"It is an awful and disgusting lie," Smith said in a statement Monday provided by his publicist. "It speaks to the dangerous power of an ignorant person with a pen. I am incensed and infuriated to have to respond to such ludicrous misinterpretation."
"Adolf Hitler was a vile, heinous vicious killer responsible for one of the greatest acts of evil committed on this planet," read the statement.
I found this article, and the subsequent response by Will Smith to be exceptionally timely, especially here on DJ. Many of us have witnessed various DJ'rs and CJ'rs taking others comments and then putting their own particular "spin" on them, twisting others words, misinterpreting what others say, all in an effort to.......well, what exactly?
Make the "twister" look good? Malign others? Grab the spotlight, so to speak, in an effort to look like the good guy, calling out those around them that don't agree with their particular positions on anything from politics to prayer?
Let this be a lesson to all of us that write and comment here on Digital Journal. This is a very public forum. It receives hundreds of readers day in and day out, from all walks of life, all over this globe.
Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839 coined the phrase "The pen is a mighter than the sword".
The French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), known to history for his military conquests, also left this often quoted remark: “Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets.”
Proverbs 15:4 in the Bible states "Kind words heal and help; cutting words wound and maim."
Your words are your wand, use them wisely.
Each and every one of the participants here at DJ are people. Flesh and blood creatures, with hearts that beat within their chests, feelings that can be bruised and battered. I think it is important, at this time of year especially, to remember that. We all come from different backgrounds, have walked different paths, and have differing opinions on a myriad of topics. The forum here at DJ is decidedly unique, as it gives each and every one of us a voice, and opportunity to be heard, to share our particular feelings on a particular subject without fear of retribution. (Or at least that is how it is supposed to work)
Many of us will be sitting down in the coming week to make our standard list of "New Year's Resolutions". Maybe we could put "think before you speak" somewhere on that list. I know I will be.
I don't think such behavior will diminish the wonderful discussions and debates that so often take place here on DJ. It might, however, help to stave off the hurt feelings and angry words we so often toss around, not stopping to consider just what the person on the receiving end of those bitter diatribes might be feeling.
So with that said, I'll get down off of my proverbial soapbox and offer up my wish for the coming year. A wish for a Successful, Prosperous and and above all Peaceful New Year for all of us here at Digital Journal.
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