Not all stories are told correctly. In fact, most stories aren’t told correctly.
That’s OK when you’re talking about your high school athletic accomplishments, or one of those nights when everything was hilarious.
But then, there are stories which have to be told correctly, otherwise we won’t know the real truth or essence of the tale.
I was sitting in a bar in Valdosta some 25 years ago after finishing the newspaper. I sat with my friend Dean Poling, now the Managing Editor at the Daily Times and we looked around to see virtually no one there.
“Looks like a boring night,” Dean said.
About that time a Mariachi band walked in.
“I think things just got interesting,” I said, leaning back in my chair.
The true story is the band had been playing and wanted to stop for a drink and this bar was the only thing open. Later, and I don’t take full credit for it, but the trio broke out into many songs including the great “Devil Went Down To Georgia” and the once empty bar was full of loud celebrators and having the time of their lives for what turned out to be a great Wednesday.
Of course there are details there that are somewhat fuzzy, but the truth of the story is there.
As the local newspaper of record here in our community, we are bound to provide the details, the truth. We can’t be swayed by our feelings one way or the other, unless it’s here in column form, but the truth is critical.
I worry what would happen if we were no longer able to tell the story? Would our community just except every press release or government announcement without question?
Believe me, we could be closer to that type of scenario than many people imagine.
When that happens, you can count of the story never actually being told correctly.
And that, fine people, is really when the world will start to get ridiculous.
Without the proper checks and balances, our governments, local, state and nationally will have free reign on information and will be able to force feed the public with their “version” of the story, whatever that will be.
I have often gone after the national press, mainly broadcast news for picking a side on any story and bending the narrative to fit their desires.
I think most educated people can spot that type of story right now as the Biden administration is still trying to bend the story about the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
That’s on a national scale where American lives were lost, what’s to say we don’t have that same type of story here locally?
If the newspaper weren’t here, would we ever get the real story concerning how decisions are made concerning our safety, our schools, our children our taxes?
The answer is no.
There are plenty of stories that would not only “not” be told correctly, but they may not be told at all.
There is nothing so bold as a government body which feels it isn’t accountable to anyone.
We have all seen it at times and after many, many years in the newspaper business it still seems many politicians feel they answer to no-one and we should be lucky they are giving us their time and effort.
Could we, or should we believe we will get the correct story when something happens from these people?
Not if we are looking for the “correct” story.
Dee McLelland is Publisher of the Coastal Courier and Bryan County News.