I am not a journalist.
I don’t gather the facts, condense them into a cogent story, and report on the issues that effect our lives – and I certainly don’t have the refined palate for discerning which carefully crafted editorial opinions will play to the masses – because, fortunately, my daily bread doesn’t depend on my ability to sell newspapers.
At best, I’m a dilettante commentator – a dull theorist who opines on the news and newsmakers of the day.
A critic, who, as Teddy Roosevelt said, points out where the strongman stumbled, or how the doer of deeds could have done them better – an incessant blowhard with internet access and an opinion about everything.
But, at the end of the day, I get my news, and the fodder for these screeds, the same places you do – and many of my friends and neighbors are getting increasingly suspicious of the plausibly deniable lack of local news in The Daytona Beach News-Journal during this election cycle.
Oh, there’s a smattering of area stories to nibble on – but nothing of substance.
On Saturday, I opened my copy of the Palm Beach Post/Daytona Beach News-Journal and was treated to all the homogenized “news” that is fit to print in this foul year 2020 – a dreary amalgam of coronavirus coverage that positions essentially the same story over-and-over again in a slightly different light.
Repetitive front page gloom-and-doom stories about COVID-19 which continue to expose the ineptitude at all levels of government, an inconsistent tally of “new” infection numbers that even the Florida Department of Health now admits are sketchy, and more maudlin hand-wringing over reopening schools, etc., etc., etc.
When I turned to what passes for the “editorial” page, I was met with some Pam Beach Post horseshit about the Orwellian benefits of rewriting the events of the past to controlling the narrative of history, complete with quotes by some uber-woke “progressive consultant” (whatever the hell that is) advocating the removal of historical statuary and monuments because, to turn a phrase, progressives seem “Ever eager to exploit a cultural rift” in their violent push for “social change” – which is beginning to look a whole lot like anarchy to me.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I can name numerous important issues that are having a detrimental impact on the lives and livelihoods of Halifax area residents – stories that deserve more than a passing glance by our newspaper of record.
Instead, The Daytona Beach News-Journal chooses to fill its pages with redundant gibberish about the importance of wearing a mask, washing your hands, and practicing social distancing – coupled with editor Pat Rice’ ominous lecture lamenting the fact face coverings have become part of a “culture war” – a divisive battle the ownership of his newspaper has encouraged for months.
On Sunday, we learned (through a piece originating from the Minneapolis Star Tribune?) that 3M has investigated thousands of reports of N95 mask fraud and counterfeiting, were bored to tears by the impacts of coronavirus on rural Oregonians, and yawned at an editorial cartoon taking the governor of Georgia to task for banning mask mandates.
Then, we were treated to a Community Voices piece by a medical doctor that began, “…wear a mask and encourage others to do the same. Who knew that wearing a mask could become such a divisive issue,” and ended with “Please, wear a mask, wash your hands and maintain social distancing.”
Got it. Thanks, Doc. . .
Is there anyone in the known universe who does not know the benefit of wearing a mask at this point in the pandemic?
And is there anyone who does not question why infection rates continue to soar in the face of government mask mandates and closures?
Yet, with what appears (at least to me) to be near 100% mask compliance in local stores and indoor gathering places – we are still being harangued, 24/7, by media outlets flogging the importance of wearing masks – while some local politicians who are running for reelection continue to squeeze even more publicity out of unenforceable mask mandates by adding fines.
In turn, the News-Journal continues its incessant editorial push for stronger, crueler, more onerous and severe sanctions for the insignificant number of the New Monarchy’s subjects who will not be forced to cover their face by the diktat of some overwrought city council. . .
There was a time in this country (about four short months ago) when people could still be trusted to do the right thing, for the right reason, if they were given credible information by recognized public health experts without being beaten into submission by the tag team of nanny state proponents and the progressive media.
I hope our “local” newspaper will come to the conclusion that this obsessive-compulsive repetition will eventually cease to be persuasive – the argument, even for important public health practices, becomes weaker as people become less receptive, less critical, and simply ignore the message altogether.
Again, I’m not a newspaper editor, but perhaps its time The Daytona Beach News-Journal realizes that there are equally important stories here in our own backyard that need their journalistic attention during a local election.
Now is the time for probative questions – and a demand for hard answers – by those seeking to retain their high office.
And I don’t mean some half-ass “virtual debate” where candidates regurgitate canned answers to questions like, “What’s your favorite color?”
In my view, this laser focus on masking, and obviously redundant filler from outside USA Today affiliates, gives the impression of a strategic diversion from the core civic issues that continue to plague Volusia County governments during a time when incumbent politicians should be explaining themselves.