In “Business Week fingers the perp” we noted the column by BW writer Diane Brady commenting on the controversy generated by the graduation remarks of Indra Nooyi at the Columbia Business School MBA recognition ceremony last Sunday. We yield the floor to our man in Baghdad with the Improvised Explosive Device Task Force who is shortly to be “deployed forward”:
Dear Ms. Brady,
Thank you for your commentary on Ms. Nooyi’s comments. I am glad that you brought more attention to the issue. It is hard for me, however, to understand your conclusion that it is a “shame” for so many concerned Americans to speak out in disagreement with the message delivered in a public address by the president of one of the world’s largest consumer goods companies. Surely you do not believe that it is appropriate for you to use your voice as a commentator to speak out for your beliefs, but that it is a “shame” when others do it. The blogs just happen to give people like me a chance for to be heard.
To that end, I have attached below a letter [included here] I wrote to PepsiCo, which Scott at Power Line was kind enough to post with a preface. I have also cc’d Power Line, and they are welcome to post this, as your magazine is welcome to do the same.
Citizens of America are blessed with many wonderful freedoms, including those of speech and press, and those freedoms allow both you, and I, to have our voices heard. In this great land, anything less would indeed be a shame.
UPDATE: Diane Brady writes to Major E.:
Hi, I don’t think it’s at all a shame that people expressed their views. I just think that everyone, including Ms. Nooyi, is entitled to their views. Thanks for the feedback. Diane
Major E. has responded to Brady:
Thank you for your response. I appreciate your taking the time to do so.
There is no question that Ms. Nooyi is entitled to her views, but I still do not understand what you feel is a “shame.” Your response indicates that while people like me and the others who wrote to Power Line are entitled to our views, you think we have no business disagreeing with the opinion of Ms. Nooyi, who is the President of Pepsico.
If that is the case, perhaps the same principle applies to a public opinion stated by, say, the president of Halliburton, or Texaco. If they stated an opinion about the role of the United States in the world in a prepared public speech and many people wrote to blogs to express their disagreement, would you also consider that a “shame”? Would the person who writes your headlines consider the Halliburton or Texaco president a “victim”?
I suspect the answer to both questions is, “No,” so I hope that the truth is something other than what I am starting to wonder: In the elite media, perhaps some opinions seem more welcome than others. In contrast, the blogosphere makes room for many voices. That is why, when I choose internet news sources with a click of a mouse, I go to blog like Power Line first, regardless of which finger I use.
Thanks again for writing back. I look forward to reading your pieces in the future.
For the record, it should be noted that Brady’s commentary concluded: “[I]t’s a shame that one executive’s carefully worded opinion at a college speech should prompt such a backlash…” The only “backlash” Brady refers to in her commentary is the expression of views by us and our readers taking issue with Ms. Nooyi’s speech. If Brady isn’t saying that’s “a shame,” I join Major E. in my inability to discern what she’s saying.