Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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September 26, 2012

Critics prefer leaving media in pieces, not peace

(Continued)

So, I’m sitting in the synagogue on the first day of the holiday, pleasantly detoxing from my cares and strife, when the rabbi begins his sermon.

But alas, for the better part of a half hour, the rabbi — who’s a friend of mine — lays into the news media for what he deemed is its bias against Israel. This opinion was based, as far as I could tell, pretty much on one column in Time magazine.

So much for detoxing from my cares and strife.

I sat there and took it, my gorge (as the Bard might say) rising, wanting to stand up and declare that Israel has never had as much support from Democrats and Republicans … and the news media … than it now enjoys.

But I didn’t, of course.

One doesn’t rise in the middle of a rabbi’s Rosh Hashana sermon in a crowded synagogue and tell him he’s full of beans. I mean, it just isn’t done.

For that matter, in our daily business day, newspaper folks generally let our critics give us the business in no uncertain terms and pretty much just take it. Whether it’s a letter to the editor from someone on either side of the hydrofracking debate or an angry — and often anonymous — telephone call from someone who thinks we are a communist cabal or a tool of big-money interests, we generally sit there and take it.

Not that we in the media don’t often deserve the abuse. We most certainly do. Everybody from the corporate genius who hires newscasters based on their glib and uninformed diatribes … to the editors who miss out on assigning important stories … to the rookie clerk who spells a name wrong in a box score.

That said, it gets a bit tiresome to see members of our profession portrayed in movies and television as voracious, unfeeling, microphone-waving mobs intent on violating people’s privacy. It gets even more noisome to listen to politicians complain of media bias because we accurately reported some colossally stupid thing they said or did. “Who are you going to believe,” they seem to ask the voters, “me or that lyin’ videotape?”

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