Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Sam Smith: The Web’s Favorite Liberal

A good read and wondeful profile of the editor of UnderNews -- one of my favorite sites -- appears in Newsmax, a conservative journal. I emailed him once with comments regarding one of his articles and he was kind enough to respond back right away with words of encouragement ... Sam Smith is a genuinely nice guy.


What does Smith try to communicate in his books?

“I think it is interesting that three of my four books – at the choice of the editors, not me – have the American flag on the cover in some form. That pleases me because I like to think of myself as being part of a long American rebellious tradition that has made our ideals something more than just words on paper. I have strong progressive, populist and ecological values, but I also want things to work.

“And I believe deeply in the idea of reciprocal liberty – that I can't have my freedom unless you have yours. This is something we constantly have to negotiate. It comes in part, I suspect, from being from a large family where you learn that politics is really a matter of who gets the window seat, when, and for how long.

“And finally, I subscribe to Walt Kelly's great principle: the right of all Americans to make a damn fool of themselves.”

What are his biggest disappointment/grandest success in his many crusades?

“My biggest disappointment is watching American growing tired of being America and my biggest success is having started out at young age to do something crazy and fun and having gotten away with it.”

How does the dynamo spent his average work day – favored sources/modus operandi in approaching a breaking story?

“First, I work on IF Stone's principle that most of what the government does wrong it does out in the open.

“Second, I favor the two most underused sources in Washington: the printed word and numbers.

“Third, I try to follow Harold Ross' dictum that if you can't be funny you should be interesting.

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