Monday, August 13, 2007

Don't believe everything you read in the newspapers

I can't help it. When I go to lectures, I count the audience. Same thing at parties. It comes from being a reporter. If there is an explosion, I want to be able to say, "Yes, there were 42 people in the room when fire broke out."

You don't think reporters fly everywhere with the President because they like him, do you? It's called the Death Watch. Reporters need to be around to report the news if the plane goes down.

Maybe that's one of the reasons the public has such low opinion of journalists these days. We have duties similar to the undertaker but lack his charm.

Years ago when I published a community newspaper, the middle school principal got angry with a story and headline, called the kids to assembly and griped about our newspaper. "Don't believe everything you read in the newspaper," she railed.

At first, I was mad as hell. But, upon reflection, I realized the principal was right (for the wrong reason). You should not believe everything you read in the newspapers. Especially today when the news industry is owned by capitalists whose only truth is the bottom line. News gathering used to be a civic responsibility. No more. Now, it is for the cash register. Ca-ching.

There's much more wrong with news that we'll talk about later. Stay tuned.

But I meander. Over the weekend, the Mystery Woman and I attend a dinner party (yes, there were 26 people in the room when...). Across the room, I noticed a guy who had all the signs of a retired reporter: squinty eyes, cheap watch, a ballpoint in his shirt pocket, and the white horse he rode in on parked at the curb.

Once a reporter, always a reporter.

Actually, the ballpoint gave him away. He was either an engineer or an old reporter. Thankfully, he was a retired reporter. I have trouble talking with engineers once we get past pi.

You see, we old reporters wear ballpoints like women wear jewelry. We have to. We have to have something to write with when the explosion...

There's more. But I have to go feed my horse.

4 comments:

ramsey said...

Why is is a ballpoint? I went into the dry cleaners next to the Dallas Times Herald to see if they could rescue a shirt that had a blot of ink at the bottom of the pocket. I'd put a felt tip in my pocket without the cap.

"Ah," said the lady at the counter. "Reporter's nipple."

Anonymous said...

Reporter's nipple? We need a support group.

James said...

Hey...I was wearing my good watch. Oh, well. We can't hide, no matter how big the crowd...

jcf

Ken Martin said...

Youse guys are giving away your age. Nowadays it's a laptop computer that gives away the motley bunch formerly known as ink-stained wretches, although I must admit I haven't caught anyone lugging one of these machines to a social affair. Anyway, thanks for the laughs, George and to Ramsey for "reporter's nipple."

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