Daytona Beach: Truth or Consequences

Selling newspapers is a hard dollar.

The media at the local, regional and national levels have taken it on the nose recently – and it looks like they have finally met their match in President Donald Trump.

Love him or hate him, despite withering criticism of his every move, and increasingly dubious reporting – something he refers to as “fake news” – Mr. Trump continues to prove that he is the best counter-puncher in the ring.

And his recent “press conference heard ‘round the world” proved that he can hold his own against all comers.

It looks like our “mainstream media” – the 24-hour talking heads on the big three-letter networks (frankly, MSNBC lost all credibility years ago) and certain old timey print media types are having a collective nervous breakdown.

It seems the bully is now being bullied by the new guy in the sandbox.

Is all this healthy for the most powerful nation in the world?  I don’t know, but it sure is fun to watch.

As I’ve said before, I have a great deal of respect for our local media outlets, especially the Daytona Beach News-Journal and all those who work extremely hard to put it out.

That doesn’t mean I agree with their editorial views.

It seems that Gatehouse Media never met a local “economic incentive” it didn’t like – and they continue to run interference for the powers-that-be, providing cover and concealment while our elected and appointed officials spend our money to create an artificial marketplace.

In my view, that’s a recipe for disaster.

Trust me.  In Volusia County, when no one is looking over the shoulders of government, anything is possible.

Being ‘pro-growth’ is one thing, but it’s patently disingenuous when a media outlet fails to report all sides of incredibly important civic issues – like the synergistic impacts of rushed massive development and open corporate welfare – which, when combined in a service economy, can have catastrophic effects beyond the individual parts.

Instead of looking out for our collective interests, it appears the News-Journal has fallen victim to the revenue trap – serving as a propaganda machine for speculative developers and those in government who feed the machine – rather than maintaining journalistic objectivity and a healthy suspicion of those in positions of power.

There now, is everyone over on Sixth Street sick and tired being harangued by some uneducated retired cop with absolutely no understanding of professional journalism – or the realities of wringing a profit out of a print newspaper in today’s environment?

I thought so.  It stings when people who know nothing about your industry or profession make sport of it – or grind a negative until it paints everyone with the same brush.

I do it all the time.  Spouting off about things I know nothing about is kind of my “deal.”

Look, let me get to the bee in my bonnet – in this morning’s editorial, “Fallout continues from former deputy,” once again the News-Journal’s editorial staff decided to wag their bony finger and lecture local law enforcement about the importance of following the rules.

It seems that every slow news day finds News-Journal editors trotting out the terrible case of disgraced former Volusia County Deputy John Braman – who resigned after video evidence found him stealing cash from criminal suspects – then using it to sanctimoniously bash cops, as though everyone who ever swore the oath is somehow guilty by association.

As I’ve said before, John Braman is an aberration – a law enforcement officer suspected of heinous felony crimes – and I can assure you that Braman, and all he represents, is despised by every good cop who pins on the badge and goes in harm’s way to protect and serve.

No one hates a bad cop more than a good cop – and I join my brothers and sisters in blue in standing behind Sheriff Mike Chitwood’s decision to send Braman’s tarnished badge to the smelter.

So why does the News-Journal insist on this over-the-top upbraiding of local law enforcement?

“Let that be a reminder to other law enforcement officers that their performances don’t just reflect on their jobs, but also on their profession and the system of justice they are sworn to uphold.  Actions can have sweeping consequences.”   

 Really?

The vast majority of law enforcement officers are dedicated professionals who perform a difficult and dangerous job with little recognition, and for far less than they deserve – and the News-Journal knows this.

With so much happening in the Halifax Area – good and bad – I find it difficult to understand why the newspaper continues this weird lashing out at local law enforcement?

Did someone over there get a traffic ticket?

Or is it some half-baked smokescreen to deflect our attention from the real news of the day?

Frankly, when I must turn to the Wall Street Journal to learn that all is not well in the House of France – one of our areas largest employers and a private enterprise that claims to bring over $1-billion dollars to the regional economy annually – well, that raises my concerns.

When the biggest catastrophe in sports history is occurring right in our own backyard (literally), one might think we would learn about it from our local news media.

Right?

No, our newspaper of record is too busy lecturing cops on the importance of professional ethics. . .

Strange.

In an incredibly insightful article in yesterday’s WSJ, we learned that NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France apparently sold off his grubstake in the family-owned billion dollar motorsports dynasty over 10-years ago – and, apparently, he couldn’t care less about the future of the sport.

In addition, the internal dysfunction and lack of a unified leadership structure at the very top of NASCAR and International Speedway Corporation, threatens to derail perhaps the only thing left that gives our struggling community a sense of identity and relevance.

Look, I could give two-shits about the internal bickering of a couple of uber-rich kids who are actively driving their grandfather’s once-lucrative business into the retaining wall of history.

That’s a story as old as time.

What concerns me is that those of us who live and eke out a living in Volusia County had to hear about this impending community disaster from the Wall Street Journal.

To coin a phrase, “Let that be a reminder to the Daytona Beach News-Journal’s editorial board that their performance doesn’t just reflect on their jobs, but also on their profession, and the ideals that true journalistic integrity demands.” 

How about a ‘heads-up’ next time?

Inaction truly can have sweeping consequences.

 

 

 

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