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April 7, 2015

Irresponsible Reporting Still Popular

Harry M. Covert

A bunch of us are age-ing alarmingly. Surely it is evident in these days and times our society and lifestyles grow in all sorts of ways. This is truly exciting and adventurous. The fast pace of modern day and coming of “the New America” is worth considering and frightful.

Of late a retrenching of values is cause for consternation and concern that all the “new stuff” may not be all that good. Frankly, I’m concerned about the “new America” I see.

Fortunately I grew up with wonderful school teachers and administrators and classmates who were the best. Never once in my youth did we ever see a policeman show up at school or have to walk through screening devices to detect knives, guns or anything above firecrackers.

It is time to recall good days when following rules was a good thing, when truth telling wasn’t an anomaly, when school events weren’t threatened by knuckleheads, trouble makers or gangs of youthful criminals. Okay, I may be living in my dreams in this engaging time of 2015.

There was no such thing as getting away with robbing stores, no matter if it were a candy bar, or smokes or potato chips. Stealing is and was stealing – theft. Truant officers in the old days looked for students who just didn’t want to go to school.

Newspapers were morning and afternoon prints. Everybody raced to read local stories, but mostly scores from high school games. Editors in days of yore – ’40s, ’50s and partially the ’60s – demanded facts, not innuendos and half-truths and quotes from named sources.

When I think of the history of the late 1930s and 1940s, lots of Americans closed their eyes to the growing threat of the German corporal. Obviously no one wants war – or to fight a war. Finally, after seeing the fall of Europe, “Lucky Strike Green Goes to War” and other slogans, the “Winds of War” grew on America and fortunately the best and brightest got into action and literally saved the world.

Think for a moment. Again Americans have set around nattering and allowing the horrific growth of another demon, a devil. Islamic terrorism. Lots of young Americans have paid the prices with their lives, wounds and devastation worldwide. Unless the nation considered the best, the most powerful and the example of what is good for everybody, takes forceful action, the lessons learned in the rise and fall of the hateful Austrian’s time, the growth of terrorism as we see and live it will continue to be out of control.

Indiscriminate journalism abounds on all levels today. Imagine the irresponsible reporting of a national magazine about a gang rape at one of the most prestigious university’s in the nation and world? Disgraceful at best. Just smear people at will and no penalty.

On a Frederick County level, the once respected daily newspaper appears determined to smear elected officials their editors just don’t like. The latest came Sunday. The sheriff’s office acquires state of the art technology for policing. Naturally the idea is the leader must be fooling citizens. Taxpayers were actually saved thousands of dollars in the purchase by travelling at the vendor’s expense to examine the technology.

It should be pointed out that the travel expenses were first and foremost approved, authorized and proper. In advance!

All of the do-gooders in the public prints ought to get The Facts before attempts at smearing. All of the altruists should re-examine their own thoughts and ideas.

A fellow by the name of Dale Carnegie wrote a fantastic book called “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” This should be required reading by the ins and outs, wannabes and every school student from pre-kindergarten to the 12th grade and beyond.

All reporters in today’s age ought to be taught first and foremost how to report and write little league baseball games, how to write obituaries and then get to know the communities they serve.

Yes, the world has changed and will continue to move ahead as we age. The slogan, “Be Prepared” has served people well.

Locally, lots of do-gooders like the idea of more and more ethics commissions. What in the name of all that’s good is wrong with expecting leaders to be honest, truthful and lead with such principles? If those elected are not open and fair in their efforts why elect them anyway?

As the age-ing matter is alarming to all – and should be the expectation is the public prints should be factual without reservation. Just because the press is free, doesn’t give the purveyors a right to mislead for political reasons or for any reason.

Wake up friends. The time is nye to wake up, save the lifestyle we like and bring an end to the world-wide threats that are real.

We’ve all heard the line, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” That was first uttered by George Santayana. There’s another one quite appropriate today: “Only the dead have seen the end of war.”

One more, please, to consider the world as we know it, “Walk softly but carry a big stick.”


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