Elvis is Dead and so is Journalism

Elvis Is Dead and I Don’t Feel So Good Myself is a nostalgic account of Lewis Grizzard’s efforts to survive in a changing world. However, I do not think Grizzard could have ever anticipated the changes of this current world in which we are forced to live. And, I don’t feel so good about the state of journalism right now either.

My usual contemplations revolve around politics on the national stage and of late, have been focused on the failings of the Biden Administration. The Afghanistan debacle, rising inflation, the crisis at the Southern Borden, the loss of energy independence and on and on. However, I recently saw an article on Facebook that raised the question of journalism and how the bias and slant of reporters ultimately reflect in their stories.

From this particular reporter’s supplied bio, I garnered, he is originally from Boston, who has landed a job at The Post and Courier, which is the 98th ranked newspaper in all the land. Of course, this is most certainly a step up from his previous post at the Greenwood Index-Journal, a fine local paper by all accounts, but still far, far away from his hometown and The Boston Globe. No doubt career positions like these could result in the second-guessing of one’s life choices. Anyway, this reporter posted a smear piece on a local candidate running for a school board position.

Initially gaining access to the candidate by proposing to do an interview on her campaign issues, he immediately attacks with a nearly decades-old now-defunct Twitter account and tweets that were made when the candidate was barely out of her teens. Personally, I am old enough to thank God that the internet did not exist when I was in my teens, but I digress.

Queue the Cacophony of Cackling Hens and keyboard warriors of Facebook to pounce on this revelation. You would think that there must be an open spot for an upcoming audition of “Housewives of Irmo” or possibly “Southern Charm” Irmo edition. Some people live for drama and will take it wherever they can get it or create it themselves if found lacking. Do you really think there are very many of these people that could withstand the kind of scrutiny of a political campaign without something falling from their closet? But that doesn’t stop them from wrapping themselves in the cloak of righteous indignation and pounding away on their keyboards. Stones. Glass Houses. You know, the thing.

Claiming that he had done thorough investigations into all the candidates he proceeded with the article, but did he really do a thorough investigation of all the candidates?  Were the other candidates so squeaky clean that he was unable to turn up any negative or possibly embarrassing information? Had he asked the other candidates if they had deleted information of an ideological bent from their social media accounts? I think not. It’s the internet, right? These are not hard to find. So really, who cares if there is another candidate running in this conservative district that is a Ruth Bader Ginsburg fan? Oops.

And where did he receive his tip that there was a decades-old Twitter account in the first place? My guess is, this was the handiwork of a former school board member who lacked the intestinal fortitude to fulfill their term.  Where I come from we call those people quitters. This begs the question that the reporter, had he been completely transparent, should have asked or at least attempted to provide an answer. You know the…Who, What, Where, When, How and Why questions.  Do journalism schools still teach these basic tenets of journalism?

Who gave you this information? And Why?

What was their political motivation?

Where are any articles for the other candidates?

This reporter probably thinks that he has done a good job and deserves a pat on the back. And I am also sure that there are some people that would be glad to provide that obligatory celebratory pat for him if he will get his hand out of the way. Keep up the good work, hopefully, you may someday make it back home to Boston and the Globe. I would even consider paying your fare, but you would have to promise not to ever come back.

Now, before I can get this letter to the editor penned, I understand there is a different reporter from another paper that had no qualms about contacting a candidate’s employer to ask what they thought of her stance on masking and vaccines. This before ever contacting the candidate personally to ascertain what her stance actually was. Would this reporter mind if we called his employer to inquire about his financial situation, maybe his health status or sexual orientation. Look, I get it. This is politics and politics can tend to get nasty. Very nasty. But “C’mon Man”. Is there no tactic that is too low? No dirty trick that you won’t turn.

And more importantly, is this the kind of world in which we choose to live?

There is a reason that newspapers are closing at an alarming rate today. And reporters like these with these shameful tactics must bear some of the blame.

Elvis is Dead and so is Journalism

And so it goes!

Jeff Dickson