Gossip and Hearsay

It was shocking to read Nick Welsh’s opinion piece on the murder of Dr. Henry Han (Angry Poodle Barbeque, “Dog’s Not Dead II,” April 7, 2016), but I would have ignored the article as a disrespectful expression of ignorance and personal showcasing had I not been also offended by its oblique jabs at Dr. Han’s reputation. Welsh’s account of the hearsay surrounding the murder of a brilliant healer reduces Han to fodder for sensationalist theorizing and The Independent to a purveyor of gossip. In perpetuating stories that Welsh himself declared unsubstantiated, it was as though he had been saying, “I just heard this somewhere. I don’t know it’s true or not, but I’ll pass it on.” Not only did he pass the stories on, he also placed them in an order that elicited speculation about relationships wholly created by his word choices and sequencing. Discussing the details of other people’s crimes while establishing that Han knew those people creates an association between him and those crimes whether or not it existed. Explicitly comparing a cosmetics scam with Han’s stem-cell research suggests the latter to have had a similar intent and reveals the poverty of Welsh’s actual knowledge about Han’s research plans and goals.

I understand that sarcasm and offhandedness are to be expected in this regular feature of Welsh’s, but as such, the subject of Han had no place in it. Welsh’s irresponsible conjecturing and his flippant tone were rough treatment for a fresh wound, insensitive to the loss of a respected and beloved person for whom the community mourns.

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