Roberts’ insult

Newly released documents from John Roberts reveal an insult I find offensive. He sniped at a Congressional vote to give its Gold Medal to the late Rep. Leo Ryan, who died taking people away from cultist Jim Jones’ suicide camp in Guyana. Roberts wrote:

The distinction of his service in the House is certainly subject to debate, and his actions leading to his murder can be viewed as those of a publicity hound.

This is a personal one for me: I was at the Examiner in San Francisco then and edited many of the stories that led to that trip and many of the stories that came afterward and saw one colleague killed and another injured there. This was hardly PR.

  • MIke K

    I remember the story well and agree that Roberts’ comment was snarky. Still, if this is the worst they can find…

  • http://n/a briankk

    I remember this, and thought at the time that it was pure PR. Leo Ryan had about zero cred or traction in Guyana, flew in a plane load of photogs to document his “efforts” on behalf of his SF constituents.

    Roberts called it straight up the middle.

  • rick_d

    Right you are, Jeff. He comes across as a common-cloth political flack on the lookout to score a point or two, whatever the expense. Here’s hoping he’s matured considerably in the meantime (not an unreasonable wish).

    I’d be curious to hear Jackie Speier’s response.

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2003/11/16/INGEM3070L1.DTL&type=printable

  • I.F. Stoner

    Jeff: with all due respect, don’t confuse the SF paper’s great coverage with Ryan. Trashing the latter isn’t trashing the former. Robinson lost his life covering an important story, but saying that Ryan lost it on a PR mission is fair comment.