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| Guest Columnist | Harry M. Covert | Jason Miller | Ken Kellar | Patricia A. Kelly | Cindy A. Rose |


As Long as We Remember...

January 8, 2015

Easy Peasy With the Press

Harry M. Covert

A full-fledged mêlée has exploded. I don’t mean the murderers of free speech in France. I mean right here in Frederick. It is exciting and the result has hit the Internet, broadcast media and printed pages.


The brouhaha locally has not reached the high decibels as across the Atlantic. We don’t do those type things here. The Muslims are furious over publication of political cartooning and have killed an editorial staff. This is a complete and further threat to the matter of free speech. Are such devastating events going to spread in the United States? Good question, but police agencies now have more to fear than ever before.


In recent days, a Frederick free-for-all has broken out. It is not pleasant to see.


An elected official has taken deep umbrage at the journalistic style of local print scandalmongers. The argument reached its zenith when an official firmly said he didn’t want his name mentioned without his consent, ever.


I admit I was taken aback at the decision not to have his name in print, spelled correctly or not, without consent, including a photograph.


Since the effort was made, the local prints has gone overboard to use the council member’s name and picture. On the Internet, the resident word merchants have enjoyed great success and support. Naturally the occasion has reached high levels of ridicule.


The tactic did go astray. But, have the editorial people taken anytime to see just what the problems have been gurgling in the difference of opinions?


The power of the press is supreme and quite naturally freedom of the press allows us all to write, say and think what we want. I have enjoyed the pleasures of commentating at will for many years. The proof is in the pudding, the pen, typewriter, iPhone and other computers are mightier than the sword, even after the killings in Paris by those who would destroy society as we know it.


We’ve all heard a familiar adage, we may not agree with blabbers spouting what we call nonsense, but we’d fight to the death for their right to say it.


No doubt the present society is in a tumultuous battle of ideas, opinions, educations and religions. The mainstream media has changed considerably over the last half-century. Old time lifestyles are suffering attacks on the scale of nuclear assaults.


The local elected official has every right not wanting to be mentioned, editorialized or asked for interviews.


The media, which I call the press, has every right and duty to report on government and its officials.


It is easy peasy to pick and choose the electeds we may like above others and to write, report and publish what they may do and say.


There is no question it can be rather simple to manipulate the press, even those who may have it out for opponents. It is done every day and will always be so. How else is the public in all forms going to promote themselves, products and ideas, either good, bad or neutral?


Most public relations experts know how to take advantage of the media mavens. Or, how to tell the story to advantage. For example, an ecdysiast knew a bit about promotion of her show business talents. She just wanted her name spelled correctly and didn’t care a whit about how it was used.


I call attention to two special entertainers. Rose Louise Hovick and Fannie Belle Fleming loved all news coverage and earned millions. Rose was known as Gypsy Rose Lee and Fannie Belle was Blaze Starr, owner and star of Baltimore’s Two O'Clock Club. Research shows that an ecdysiast is a stripper, or adult entertainer,


Nowadays Rose and Fannie would have a difficult time getting their names in the public prints. The competition is so high on cable and Internet viewing.


The days are coming when fewer and fewer readers will be turning print pages. In the meantime, as I’ve been warned, political figures should not “pick battles with someone who buys ink by the barrel.”


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