Is there anybody whinier and more dour than a newspaper columnist? If anyone can find something wrong with, for example, a picture of a child and puppies frolicking through a sun-dappled meadow, the hack hunched over a computer keyboard probably can.
While most people might view the image as a captured moment of untainted innocence and joy, the writer might wonder out loud if the mutts came from a Chinese puppy mill and if the kid was in fact running away from a home for delinquents.
But, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I offer that there is a class of citizen given to more buzz killing and naysaying than even the most grizzled of journalists: politicians and the people who love them.
While writers brandish their form of cheeriness year ’round, the political-minded tend to be most active only during elections.
Print a photo of Candidate A at a forum and Candidate B will wail that a newspaper is biased for not running their glamorized campaign portrait (of course A will complain that the photo you ran made them look crazy and you are secretly working to get B into office).
The madness does not stop with photos. Include a letter to the editor that criticizes Official One and suddenly the Fourth Estate is in the business of censoring the noble-hearted but maligned politician (even though the elected and its supporters have never taken the time to rebut, rebuke, retort, defend, clarify or state its opinion in writing).
For being participants in the rough and tumble bloodsport known as politics, elected officials and their would-be successors certainly seem to have thin skin.
Nevertheless, it’s important for all to understand that, at least here at The Star-News, the door is open and the floor can be yours.
Heading into the final stretch of the election cycle a mad dash is expected. Incumbents want voters to know they are doing their job, challengers try mightily to paint a contrary picture and supporters on both sides want friends and neighbors to see things their way.
Unfortunately, other than complaining about a lack of or the wrong kind of coverage, those same people will chatter away and bemoan that the other guy won, in part, because the newspaper was biased. (C’mon, Doug Manchester hasn’t bought this newspaper yet.)
My only hope is that after election day has come and gone, the people in power, along with their fans, continue to write. Even if it’s only to complain. After all, why should people who get paid by the word have all the fun?