That damned media
Yes, the evil, can’t-be-trusted bunch of liars known as “the media.”
I’ve been part of “the media” for over 30 years and, as the host of a rock and roll radio show that plays Jerry Lee Lewis every week, you could say the media killed the Killer’s career.
When the Lewises landed in London the English journalists got curious. Imagine that. Who are you, young lady? His wife? How old are you? Fifteen (she was thirteen, and Jerry Lee’s second cousin)?
The media was doing its job.
I was 13 or 14 when I saw All the President’s Men at the Cedarbrae Cinemas in Scarborough. Watergate was fresh in my mind but at that age, I wasn’t “bigly” interested in politics. Even so, the Washington Post’s dogged search for the truth…follow the money…captivated me. It was a thriller, based on facts.
For any Fox “News” followers out there, facts are things that really happened and are accepted as the truth, as opposed to the opinions of right wing blowhards or “journalists” too lazy to report real news so they invent conspiracies like the War on Christmas.
Did Redford and Hoffman’s…I mean, Woodward and Bernstein’s takedown of Richard Nixon inspire me to become a journalist? Maybe. I didn’t decided to pursue a career in that field until I was 18, and I still remember my interview with Centennial College program coordinator John Lott, who likely shot down many an aspiring reporter with the question:
“Why do you want to take this program? And don’t say it’s because you like to write.”
I did. I still do. I enrolled and graduated.
Truth be told, I didn’t set out to be Woodward or Bernstein. I wanted to write for Rolling Stone and interview Stevie Nicks. I ended up writing for Insight on Collectibles, The Owen Sound Sun-Times and Schizophrenia Digest.
I fell in love with a photo of wildlife artist Liz Lesperance and drove to her studio in Paris, Ontario to write a profile of Liz for Insight. This pic is from ten years later though Liz was still quite lovely. I also interviewed Owen Sound Attack players like Corey Roberts (who hailed from a small town in PEI and had one great season for the Attack but never played beyond the university level) and Mike Lankshear (pictured below) and got paid for stories about them in, respectively, the Charlottetown Guardian and the Burlington Spectator.
Like Woodward and Bernstein, and (swoon swoon) Robyn Doolittle, I took great pride in my research and interviewing skills. Remember how Doolittle and the Toronto Star were accused of being on a witch hunt because they allegedly didn’t like Mayor Rob Ford and were making things up to remove a fine family man from office?
Uh huh. Witch hunt.
It is the duty of a newspaper to comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable.
That quote has been attributed to legendary journalist H.L. Mencken (portrayed by Gene Kelly as E.K. Hornbeck in Inherit the Wind). There is some debate about that, though in his book of quotes, Mencken gave the credit to an unidentified author. Then again, H.L often quoted himself anonymously.
I believe most of what I read.
If it comes from The Washington Post, The New York Times, The (Manchester) Guardian and most major newspapers and magazines. They employ reporters and fact checkers. Think The Toronto Star published Doolittle’s stories the same day? No, they double checked the info, corroborated every piece of the saga, ran it by editors and lawyers and then…okay, it’ solid, let’s run the story.
Unlike many “news” sites that get reposted on Facebook. I could concoct a story alleging that Kellie Leitch is a robot created by a secret conglomerate that includes Trump, Putin and Colonel Sanders. Okay, that’s true. I read it somewhere.
But I won’t because the journalist in me says, don’t accept it at face value. Investigate. Read, and fucking read more. It’s easy to accept articles that reinforce our beliefs but hey, even Liberal comedian Bill Maher said he wanted to kill himself after watching a few hours of the Liberal-slanted news network, MSNBC.
So here’s to H.L. Mencken, Woodward and Bernstein, Robyn Doolittle, Matt Taibbi, Emma Teitel, Tabatha Southey, the Boston Globe “Spotlight” team and everyone else trying to get the story right, hold those in office accountable and expose corruption and hypocrisy.
Thanks. We need you more than ever.