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February 14, 2014

When Scribes are 'Dissed'

Harry M. Covert

On this day when love may be bursting all over, we shut-ins have time to contemplate a world of this and that. Today in this space there is a correlation between sports and politics where amour is missing more often than not.


For example, who out there gets more free, gratis, gratuitous news coverage than the sports field, both pros and amateurs, and the 'beloved' politicians at all levels, both those on the campaigning and current office-holders?


News print and the public airwaves, constantly blab about sports teams, players and fanatics. At the same time, POTUS, FLOTUS, SCOTUS, COTUS, GOVOFMAD, GENAS*OFMAD, COMOFFRMAD, ad infinitum are gumming us to death.


Let's explain the above: No 4, Congress of the United States, No. 5, Governor of Maryland, No 6, General Assembly of Maryland, No. 7, Commissioners of Frederick, Md.


It’s exciting that baseball season is coming and the political year is well underway.


I've been perturbed this week by Brian Billick, the Super Bowl winning coach of the Baltimore Ravens a few years back. He has garnered lots of free publicity in the public prints. His recent snub of Joshua Smith, Frederick News-Post sports editor, is inexcusable.


The coach, who spoke this week in Frederick, would not take time to give a pre-speech interview with Mr. Smith, a pretty good sportswriter. Mr. Billick may have been a coach of large repute, but he doesn't know anything about good public or media relations.


Josh Smith does a fine job covering local sports. He's a fine writer. He didn't deserve being "dissed" by a figure now on the pro football dole. Mr. Billick obviously is not in the same class as Cal Ripken, Jr., Peter Angelos, the late Art Donovan, Johnny Unitas and many others.


Scribe Smith told his story earlier this week. I'm offended for him. As far as the former coach, his name has been scratched from this notebook. He's ungrateful to the people who helped him.


On to the politicians. It was H. L. Mencken who wrote: "If a politician found [or she] had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner."


That's rather harsh and doesn't include Frederick's leaders. Sure, it's fun to see all of the partisanship. And some would bet on which fly would take off first.


Thankfully, the public prints and broadcasters report on all antics of city, county and community people and events. Without newspapers, how would family scrapbooks be filled with clippings of school achievements, gardens, sports and latest business openings? Not the same with Internet stories, of course excepting this site.


I don't want to appear as a curmudgeon, like some people I know. It does irk me when sports figures and political enthusiasts often beg for press coverage of their derring-do and then treat reporters as second or third class citizens, especially when their "derring-don'ts" are news. Those in the news gathering and writing dodges must have iron pants.


It's been my habit for many years to start mornings by first reading the obituary columns. So far my name has not appeared there; second, the sports pages for the scores and nowadays to see which of the "greats" are in jail; third, the front page for the hottest news. Fourth, the editorial-opinion pages, just to read what I might want to believe. Okay, on No. 4, I'm just kidding.


On this day as love truly abounds, yesterday's snow day was one of rest and relaxation and looking through personal book shelves.


I couldn't help but scribble these notes from Mr. Mencken. I can't resist sharing:


"If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner."


"Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence."


"A newspaper is a device for making the ignorant more ignorant and the crazy crazier."


Now, I'm scouring for funny lines from some local athletes who can speak simple sentences and campaigners, along the line of Harry Truman's “I don’t give them Hell, I just tell the truth about them and they think it’s Hell.”


Gosh. I miss the man from Missouri even though one of my favorites, William Donald Schaefer, had some good words to live by.



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