By Angela Gary
Let’s blame the media
It’s easy to blame the media for all that is wrong with the world. People with special interests have been taking pot shots at messengers since the time of Jesus.
Test scores are down. Let’s blame the media for reporting the scores.
Taxes going up. It must be the media’s fault for reporting it.
I’ve heard time and time again that “negative press” is the problem. I don’t know how many times I have responded, “We just report what happens. We don’t make the news.”
The decline in the real estate market is just another example of the media being blamed for something we have no control over. Yes, we have published stories on the increase in the number of foreclosures and the overall drop in home sales. We would not be doing our job if we didn’t report those important facts. The number of public notices we’ve published on foreclosures has increased dramatically. Readers can’t help but notice that information. We have to report on it if we are doing our job.
I was at a Jefferson Area Business Association meeting last week where one of the amazing forecasters from the Norton Agency spoke. Matt McCord began his comments by asking if anyone from the media was present. When I raised my hand, he said having someone from the media would change his remarks. This is a sure sign that a spin-doctor has arrived.
“Just the facts then, today… no opinions,” he said. “Glad I asked. That happened to me once and you’ll never forget it.”
McCord then began to outline his opinion that the real estate market is not as bad as it may appear. He said the 40 percent decrease in real estate sales in 2007 was due, in part, to 2006 having had two huge projects which inflated the overall figure. He said 2007 was the best year for Jackson County, other than 2006.
McCord also commented on the foreclosure situation. He said people who are being foreclosed on had their homes up for sale anyway. He also said foreclosed homes really didn’t change the housing market.
I don’t follow that logic. If the people had been able to afford their homes in the first place, they would not have them up for sale or would not have been foreclosed on. Perhaps it is the fault of the greed in the financial system that created easy 100 percent mortgages and that pushed people into buying homes they couldn’t afford?
Nah, it couldn’t be that. Must just be the media.
At the end of last week’s meeting, several people questioned who is benefiting from all of the “negative press,” hinting that it must just be hype by newspapers to sell more papers.
But we are not benefiting from the housing crisis or the overall economic slump.
We, too, feel the effects of the economy.
At the end of the day, we’re just doing our job in reporting on the economic situation. The media didn’t create this crisis and efforts by some to spin bad information into good won’t help resolve it.
People may disagree with what this crisis means for the county and the nation, but please, don’t put on blinders and blame bad press for problems that run much deeper.
Angela Gary is associate editor of The Jackson Herald. She can be reached at AngieEditor@aol.com.
SSG. SHAUN WHITEHEAD
By Mike Buffington
The ultimate sacrifice
It was touching to see people line the streets in Jackson County last week as a tribute to SSG. Shaun Whitehead as his funeral caravan slowly made its way home.
During another controversial war 40 years ago, there were no such tributes to soldiers who had been killed in Vietnam. In that era, both the dead and the living came home to an ungrateful nation which had been torn apart by the conflict.
Perhaps it is a sign of a more mature country that in the current controversial war, people of all political persuasions can stand together to honor the dead. Political parties and personal views didn’t matter to those who stood on the streets last Friday to salute Staff Sgt. Whitehead.
SSG. Whitehead didn’t start the war in Iraq. He didn’t make any decisions regarding how it should be conducted.
SSG. Whitehead simply answered the call to serve. In doing so, he laid down his life for his nation.
There can be no higher calling and no deeper sacrifice than this.
In the long term, we hope that SSG. Whitehead’s death will not have been in vain, that something good and constructive will come from the war this nation has undertaken in Iraq.
But for now, such questions seem far away as this community pauses to mourn the death of one of its sons.