A look at last month’s good, bad and ugly in the ol’ emailbag. As usual, our readers let us know when something is a tad askew — or hits the target.
As usual, both are appreciated.
The first item comes from David Scott of Mebane and was actually about something published in our weekly Ups and Downs editorial on Dec. 1.
As usual I read with passing interest today’s Ups & Downs; I appreciate your mentioning again Eddie Harris’ passing. Eddie was certainly a positive force to be reckoned with in all areas of High School bands. But there is one small mistake in your mention of Eddie; he did not start the band program in the Western school zone. Admittedly, he took a struggling program and made it great, but we did have a band before Eddie’s arrival. The band began the first year the schools were consolidated, 1962-63. We actually marched in the both the Graham and Burlington Christmas parades in December of 1963; I have video footage of the Graham parade. My dad took the old 8mm movies because I was the drum major. My main competition for the job was a trumpet player; I overheard the director saying that they needed the trumpet in the band much worse than they did my poor clarinet, so, by default, I was the first drum major. This became a bragging point when Eddie made Western one of the best bands in the state. Now-we don’t need any correction: for all intents and purposes Eddie really did start the band program for real in the Western zone. I just wanted you to know that a long time reader was still reading the Times News.
Keep up the good work.
MY TAKE: It’s nice to get such a positive note that points out an inaccuracy. I will mention this in the next edition of Ups and Downs on Dec. 8, even though Mr. Scott didn’t ask for a correction. We should clear the record whenever possible. And thanks to Mr. Scott for his kind words.
Going to school on athletics
And I got a nice note the following day from Jim Jensen who lives at Twin Lakes and is a member of our Reader Advisory Board. He had this to say about my Dec. 2 column, “Let us count the symptoms” about the problems within college athletics these days.
I always enjoy your Sunday columns, which are well-written and carefully crafted to steer a non-partisan middle course. … But I particularly liked your December 2 piece, which took a strong position on a subject of consternation to both of us. I, too, am nonplussed by what’s happening to college sports. It’s been a sad situation for a very long time, but the pace of courting money seems to have picked up. How can anyone maintain loyalty to a conference and traditional rivalries when so many schools switch allegiances so quickly? Who can keep track of where each school belongs, and perhaps who cares? How can Boise State be considered an eastern school? When Iwent to the University of Illinois, we were still pretty close to the days of sports being extra-curricular activities, as you note. When a high school star was lauded in the press, folks sort of hoped he’d come to Illinois. Perhaps there was a bit of coach recruiting; I’m not sure. But it was certainly different.
Thanks for a fine analysis and a welcome column.
MY TAKE: I had great feedback about this particular column, in which I listed all of the more questionable current events in college athletics today. And I never even got around to basketball and the sorry state of non-stop “one-and-done” non-student athletes on campuses such as the University of Kentucky.
It truly makes my heart ache.
Out of our error, something good sprouts
Our editor emeritus Don Bolden gave me some information after reading my column of Nov. 25, ‘Sometimes we still make a difference.”
Good column Sunday. A footnote I heard yesterday if you will. Remember that the paper reported initially that First Baptist would serve Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday? Then the correction? Well, an anonymous member of the church feared some would show up anyway, so for all those who did — and several did come — they were given a coupon that allowed them to go to K&W for a free turkey dinner.
MY TAKE: I wish I had known about this when writing the column on the day after Thanksgiving. But I was very gratified that someone had made a positive out of our mistake — which was made because we checked a web site and not an actual person when supplying information in print. Our wrong made a tremendous right. Glad to have great citizens in our community.
Election continues to rankle
A letter we published about the election outcome truly made reader John Kemp unhappy.
The Times News published a letter from Judy Gunderson in yesterday’s edition. This letter is about as mean spirited as I can imagine! And that your paper published it is highly outrageous! The office of the president of the U.S. intrinsically demands the respect of its citizens. This letter offered zero respect for the office. Beyond that, it greatly denigrated the office. There is no excuse for that.
I must say that I suffered greatly at the election and re-election of Bush II, but in neither unfortunate case did I remotely consider such a despicable attack as this!
Truly repugnantly disgusting, and the Times-News ought to be quite ashamed.
I am truly outraged!
MY TAKE:The tone of letter writing in this presidential campaign was truly awful. I tend to err on the side of keeping the doors open to both side on the political aisle. I may not do so going forward.
Nifty 90s is, well, nifty
And one writer paused to thank Charity Apple in our lifestyles department for her feature “Nifty 90s”, in which we offer a happy birthday to those over the age of 90 in our community. We’ve done it for a few years now, and it’s a feature readers seem to like.
… Thanks for placing Harold’s name in the paper. He is excited not only of celebrating another birthday but the honor of seeing his name in the paper. This is a very special service you provide for these senior adults. It doesn’t take much to make them happy, particularly at Harold’s age!
Hope you and your loved ones have a Merry Christmas!
MY TAKE: This was an idea of Charity’s and a good one. We will continue to do it.
The last word
Got a note from our former publisher Steve Buckley after my column about our frustration with wire coverage on the Benghazi incident. The column was headlined, “Bewilderment and Benghazi.”
Your column hits at some serious issues that threaten mainstream media. The bias has become apparent to people who have access to the Internet. When people can access facts (such as the excellent WaPo column about Benghazi) and either don’t see them or see them glossed over in he MSM, the question the credibility of the media.
I still haven’t seen much coverage of why Obama lied to the UN and Susan Rice lied to all the networks about the attack. The only thing I have seen or read with any regularity is that Obama is offended that someone would question him about it.
The AP not only doesn’t have the staff it used to enjoy but also it doesn’t have the objectivity it used to treasure. For an example, read the questions they asked in their “survey” about racism.
I have gotten to the point that I watch CNN and Fox News. I have given up on network news. I also rely more on web sites that I ever imagined I would.
The media that survive the web and cable onslaught long term will be those that regain their balance and objectivity.
MY TAKE: A month or so ago we were getting a lot of telephone calls from readers angry because of an overall lack of coverage of the killings in Libya, an incident that left a trail of troubling questions about the CIA and the Obama administration. Fox News was pounding a mighty drum about it — and still is.
And it’s still not being covered properly by the major wire services.