Egregious Ranting

You published a letter from Melissa Saunders on Jan. 27 in which she attacked Noam Chomsky for allegedly making money from books and speeches, and called him an "anarchist/socialist/whatever" with millions of dollars in a trust fund. ["The Chomsky™ Brand"]

Whether or not her facts are accurate, she has committed an egregious logical fallacy: She seeks to discredit the speech—before it was made—by a personal attack on the man.

Attendance was not affected by similarly held sentiments. I got there over an hour before the speech and barely made it in. Every seat was taken and many were turned away. Chomsky gave a thoughtful speech about the serious problems facing our nation and it was respectfully received, as befits a man of his standing in the world, and as befits the students of an institution of higher learning.

Walter Cronkite is quoted as having said that he feared our nation had lost its ability to govern itself. If we regularly mistake ranting for thoughtful and rational dialogue, I am afraid he might be prophetic.

Carol Krauss

Knoxville