People love to hate us
Our recent editorials appear to have had as much trouble scoring points as Marion’s basketball team does.
We urged legislators not to gerrymander. They went right ahead and overrode a veto to do so.
We urged commissioners not to borrow more than law allows just because they can get a good interest rate. Unless voters pass petitions to force an election, they voted Monday to do just that.
We urged city officials to follow laws instead of suspending or nullifying them. They, of course, did just the opposite — promptly threatening in response to call their own website a competing newspaper and publish legal notices in its ephemeral ether rather than permanently in print.
We don’t mind that politicians don’t take our advice. Newspapers exist not to parrot the party line or gush over whatever’s popular. We’re supposed to offer alternative views, uncover things people would just as soon keep covered up, and let people know the other side of what’s going on so they can make decisions based on information more than what they have been spoon-fed.
Facebook and other anti-social media seem filled these days with people who speak first, think later, and rarely consider anything other than their preconceptions.
Last week, when we reported that dispatchers sent police to a local watering hole post because someone threatened to “shoot the place up,” an employee immediately went online to deny it.
A handful of ditto heads chimed in with comments like: “Just goes to show everyone that most news is fake.” “The MCR falsely report something??? Shocker!!!” “Tabloid journalism.” “How hard is it to get something right in a town that size?” “That’s a pretty huge mistake, and actually shocking.” “Truly incredible.” “It’s about selling a story not the truth!”
Among them were a clergyman who seems to go out of his way to criticize us, a business person we recently strongly defended editorially, and someone who called a few days later to renew her subscription for two years.
Not one of them managed to say anything when we responded by posting the original recording of the police call, clearly indicating that our story was accurate.
When Marion’s mayor sought opinions on how best to publicize public notices, he didn’t get responses answering the question. He got acquaintances wanting to attack us: “The Record is trash and our town deserves better.” “Totally support this. Not one more dime to that newspaper.”
The biggest complaint most of these haters typically level at us is that we’re negative. Unfortunately, so is a lot of what qualifies as news.
Do we cover everything perfectly? Of course not. Even Aaron Rodgers throws an occasional interception.
Before retiring as a faculty member, I used to have a line in speeches I was invited to give from Tokyo to Toronto to London. Give me any newspaper — even the best — and I can find at least five errors on its front page. I never failed to meet the challenge.
Publishing close to a whole book’s worth of information each week, some of what any newspaper publishes is likely to be in error. Respectable newspapers like ours try to avoid errors and to promptly correct them. But they’re going to happen, just as we’re going to continue covering things even if they aren’t popular and don’t represent a viewpoint someone is trying very hard to make everyone believe is the only source of truth and light.
If readers want to hear only positive affirmations each day, buy a smart speaker and have it recite them to you. But please don’t insist that just because you want to blind yourself to reality, others should be blinded as well.
— ERIC MEYER