Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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September 26, 2012

Critics prefer leaving media in pieces, not peace

Given the current epidemic of citizens great and small smacking the news media about the head and shoulders repeatedly and with great vigor, it can’t help but hurt the feelings of a sensitive and fragile soul … such as yours truly.

I am a journalist. Hath not a journalist eyes? Hath not a journalist hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, heal’d by the same means, warm’d and cool’d by the same winter and summer?

… If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, do we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that.

The Shakespearean scholars among you will readily realize that I have plagiarized the Bard’s speech by Shylock in “The Merchant of Venice,” Act 3, scene 1, cleverly (OK, maybe not so cleverly) substituting the word “journalist” for “Jew.”

As I am a member of both profession and religion, I felt entitled. Further, I thought this past week that I could find refuge from the slings and arrows of outrageous accusations of media bias that have become daily shots to my industry’s solar plexus. This, I felt, could be accomplished by attending synagogue during the Rosh Hashana holiday.

I’m not the most observant Jew, but to me, Rosh Hashana, the solemn Jewish New Year, has through the years become sort of a two-day island in time. I generally don’t watch TV or go on my computer. In getting away from my three non-family obsessions — politics, the Yankees and my newspaper — it’s a nice time-out for my poor, old brain.

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