I attended a memorial service for the ultimate “Gadfly” Friday – Charles Lester Kinsolving. He had so many “lives”: ad man, Episcopal priest, newsman, radio-talk host and White House press correspondent – a real one, an entertaining one, not a fake one like some others who have been booted for harassment.
When Les got booted, it was because he was asking questions like a gentleman.
I missed Les all over again, after hearing from his daughters and his “baby brother,” William, who sang “The Impossible Dream” in tribute artfully and tastefully.
It was as an unpredictable White House correspondent Les was best-known to the world – most recently for WND.com.
But the part that is most forgotten in the long, strange tale is how he broke the story of Jim Jones’ death cult – five years before the rest of the media caught on to it.
What took so long for that story to be told?
And after the warning signs were revealed, why did the mass suicides of 900 in Guyana surprise everyone?
After reviewing the clips displayed at his memorial Friday in Virginia, the answer was crustal clear.
One death cult covered up the looming slaughter of another one.
The Peoples Temple was a left-wing death cult that was covered up by the San Francisco Bay’s left-wing media, cultural and political left-wing death cult back in the 1970s, just as they are today.
I remember hearing Les tell me the stories from those days. Even an eight-part series in the San Francisco Examiner couldn’t persuade one big death cult to warn off the public about another smaller one.
Six years before the Peoples Temple became the biggest story in the world in 1978, Jones was already stockpiling weapons, ransacking homes – including Les’ – and exploiting welfare recipients for their government checks.
In fact, half the series was spiked by the paper – much to its shame. It cost Les his job – and 900 others their lives.
As Daniel J. Flynn, the author of 2018′ “Cult City: Jim Jones, Harvey Milk, and 10 Days That Shook San Francisco.” recalls on his own WND tribute last week: “While Kinsolving lost his job, Jones won appointment to San Francisco’s Housing Authority Commission in 1976, quickly becoming chairman. Mayor George Moscone said of his clergyman backer, ‘Rev. Jones examines his conscience more thoroughly than anyone I know.’ A local civil rights organization awarded him the Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award in 1977. Willie Brown, Harvey Milk, Phil Burton, and other officeholders heaped praise upon Jones.”
It’s almost a metaphor of what we’ve seen the left-wing media nationwide morph into in recent years.
To the Washington Post, Les was “best-known in Washington for his oddball, outlandish questions at White House news conferences and for voicing his ultraconservative views for 28 years on Baltimore’s WCBM-AM (680).”
Did Les ask questions that ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous? Yes, he did. But characterizing his views as “ultraconservative” really say more about the Washington Post than Les.
Les’ politics were wildly unpredictable. And he was no “oddball.” He was one of the most generous, eloquent, thoughtful and genuinely humble man you could ever know.
I doubt we will see his like again in this fractured world – until His Savior returns to restore it.