Every so often I’m reminded of why I despise the leadership of the Lowell Sun. Today the paper dipped deep into its bucket of ideological sleaze to smear a young combat veteran who had the audacity to support Niki Tsongas. During his six years as an infantry officer in the United States Army, Joe Goodwin served tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan and was awarded the Bronze Star for valor in combat. No longer on active duty, Joe has taken advantage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill to further his education, a benefit available to every veteran who has served since that fateful day. Joe recently appeared in a Tsongas campaign ad in which he thanks Niki for her advocacy of this new GI bill.
But Tsongas is not the Lowell Sun’s candidate, and as is so often the case, the newspaper’s ideological slant infects its news coverage (or the little original news coverage produced by the handful of remaining reporters). So today the Lowell Sun outed Joe Goodwin. His crime? He’s the son of author Doris Kearns Goodwin and former presidential speech writer Richard Goodwin. In the Sun’s twisted world, Joe’s parentage makes him undeserving of the benefits of the GI Bill.
The decision makers at the Sun sought to keep the blood off their own hands by dredging up a couple of third-tier candidates, both unknown and unfunded and willing to say anything about anyone just to get their names in the paper, to go on record criticizing Joe. But it was the leadership of the paper that created a story out of nothing and stuck it above the fold on the front page.
I’m supporting Niki Tsongas and I’ve participated in a number of meetings and events as a “veteran for Tsongas.” In that context, I’ve been with Joe Goodwin at least a dozen times. He’s friendly and intelligent and has the type of quiet leadership skills that would be invaluable in combat. And throughout that entire time, I had no idea of the identity of Joe’s parents. I only knew Joe as a patriotic young American who volunteered to serve his country in time of war, who chose the branch – infantry – most likely to put him in grave physical danger, and who performed heroically as a leader during two combat tours. For someone like that to be smeared by the ideological zealots who run the local newspaper is utterly contemptible.