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November 18, 2019

Leaving Something To Be Desired

Jennifer Baker

Much has been said at the national level on fake news and spin of news events at the network level. Locally an accident happened 10 days ago that caused much turmoil in its coverage.

 

The accident happened in Washington County on November 9, 2019, involving three vehicles and four people sent to hospitals. Its cause was deemed cell phone use while driving and misdemeanor charges were filed.

 

The initial report of the accident was reported November 11, 2019, by Hagerstown’s WDVM-TV and Herald Mail newspaper.

 

The write-up on WDVM’s Facebook page included a stock photo of a damaged car, a brief description of how the accident happened, where it happened, and the names of the patients sent for medical attention.

 

The article notes the Washington County Sheriff’s Office did not release the condition of the patients.

 

The same day the Herald Mail reported on the accident with a few more details and noting one patient was transported to The University of Maryland’s Shock Trauma in Baltimore and two others were transported to Meritus Medical Center in Hagerstown.

 

Again, no pictures were shown of the accident, and the article noted two occupants were no longer listed as patients at Meritus Medical.

 

Per the article, no information was available on the juvenile patient and the allegedly at-fault driver, Lois Jarman, could not be reached for comment.

 

The Frederick News-Post finally reported on the accident November 12, with an article similar to the one in the Herald Mail. The picture shown was a lovely glamor shot of Ms. Jarman.

 

The article noted the how, when and why the accident happened, but no real details on the victims or how badly they were hurt.

 

Radio station WFMD/930 in Frederick also reported on the accident November 12, saying a local Board of Education member was cited as the driver at fault.

 

After the numerous articles published on the accident, family members of those injured started commenting on the actual details of the crash and how badly the vehicle occupants were injured.

 

The most seriously injured was Michelle Stowe, of Thurmont, who family members reported was in a medically induced coma after a torn aorta, both hips broken at the ball socket, a broken arm and a broken bone in her face.

 

Pictures released of the crash scene show two vehicles with serious damage, with one car so badly damaged it was hard to imagine someone survived the crash. A Medevac helicopter is shown at the scene.

 

News outlets failed to investigate the true nature of this accident. Originally, one would think it was a minor accident that was later shown to be a serious accident in which at least one person will be significantly affected for the long term.

 

The public is asked to elect officials based on their policy positions and any other information available on those running found online, in newspapers and on the radio.

 

How can the public make informed decisions when it is only given partial information with no later follow up with updates and further details?



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