Dog Poop and Hurricane Sandy
It is a privilege to write this column every other week. And I am fully aware that with this opportunity comes serious responsibility. No right afforded to us as United Sates citizens is as precious as a free press, not subject to censorship by government or anyone else.
I truly believe that in this age of instant communication and expanded cyber-media, many of the bloggers and other members of the so-called “new media” abuse their privilege and fail to take seriously their responsibilities. Many practitioners of the all-too-easy blogosphere post whatever pops into their heads at a given moment, without any oversight or proper regard for the truth of what they say. They harm us all.
I do my best not to be among that group. I am stickler for accuracy, as is our editor here at TheTentacle.com; and I take my responsibility to the public very seriously, to be a responsible member of the online media. I may not always get it right, but it is not for lack of trying. And I try to always keep in mind my obligation to not waste my readers’ time, nor my editor’s space with untimely insensitive ramblings.
This is why I found the editorial in The Frederick News-Post the day after Hurricane Sandy so troubling. I have taken my share of shots from the News-Post. I have certainly disagreed with them from time to time. But I have never questioned their right to question me; and, if it suits their political purposes, even attack me. I am a public figure and that comes with the territory.
But, as I said at the beginning of this column, with that right comes responsibility. And in my view, on October 30 The Frederick News-Post failed to serve this community in a meaningful way.
On the morning after a strongest storm in memory, with one third of the county without power, with dangerous power lines down all over, and with Marylanders unfortunately having lost their lives, we may have wanted to open the paper and see how the editors viewed the circumstances. Maybe even get a few comforting words for those who had suffered. But that was not to be.
Instead, the editors of The Frederick News-Post on that cold dark morning ran an editorial on dog poop. That’s right, no thoughts on our tasks ahead to clean up, no historical perspective on the storm; instead an admonition to clean up pet waste.
Now, I am the first to agree that pet owners have a responsibility to police their dog’s droppings. But Mr. or Ms. Editor, there is a time and a place for everything. And you missed the boat on this one.
There was a time that I took the local paper seriously. Like Hurricane Sandy, that has blown by. They have let us down, and have failed to uphold the precious trust we had placed in them. And in a one-and-a-half newspaper county, that is a shame.
For all of you hit by the storm, my heartfelt sympathies and best wishes for a quick return to normalcy. In this community we always come to each other’s rescue, and I am sure this time will be no different.
My best wishes and prayers to one and all.