This strange work of writing and wondering | Our Corner

It’s an amalgamation of talk, tattling and at times tawdry titters, all under the headline of truth sleuthing.

This writing stuff is a strange business.

It’s an amalgamation of talk, tattling and at times tawdry titters, all under the headline of truth sleuthing.

Newspapers, books, television, social media, magazines and internet sites all make varying claims to some type of protean veracity.

I read an article this week about a woman in Walla Walla who worked for a daily in the city. After Donald Trump was elected she saw a sign making an accusation her paper was fake news — the new wonder cliché of the year.

The woman went home and told her husband and began to cry. Although the accusation was not directed at her, it was pointed to her paper and she felt the fire of hot-gas rhetoric.

It occurred to me after reading the piece, our newspapers need writers like that, young women and men who care enough to cry about jabberwocky talk, then keep writing.

I put little stock in agenda agents trying to turn the screws of coverage. For anyone in the news business it is as common as a deadline.

If I had been her editor I would have told her in the political trenches both sides try to use flame throwers. Groovy clichés are grabbed off the shelves to prevent that darn thinking and pondering. Bumper sticker diplomacy is much more accessible. And the results? Only winning matters.

I probably would have told her, if they use groovy phrases you’re OK. If they start saying your facts are wrong, and can back it up with something beside pointy fingers, check your notes.

My tack is always listening to what a person has to say, because one never knows. I always tell reporters, listen to all, sometimes the one who is way out in the wheat field stumbles across a stray dollar that can’t be explained. Writers must never take the easy way. It dulls the edge and leaves one missing the overtones.

My stumbling years of writing about politics taught me a few truths.

A political race, particularly a hot-house campaign, is similar to death. It can bring the best and worst out. If you want to witness the inner tides of a soul, follow a campaign battle to the last vote on the last day. And don’t worry about the winner; it’s the loser who will show the seams. Those losers keep writers awake at night — wondering.

The best writers will in time discover what they witness in the dark times, what they hear and see, is in them, too.

Politics is people – the good, bad and sad. As a people we have taken the term politics and made it the snake in the tree.

It is us, the snake; no fake news, it is all of us.

I am ending this column with a quote that has been rolling around in my air space for a while. My inner illogical logic says it fits right here and now… not sure why.

David Blight, history professor at Yale who teaches a course titled, “Civil War and Reconstruction Era,” pointed out this passage from Abraham Lincoln in 1838 : “All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio River or make a track on the Blue Ridge Mountains, in a trial of 1,000 years. If destruction is to be our lot we must ourselves be its author and its finisher. As a nation of free men we must live through all time or die by suicide.”


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@courierherald.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.courierherald.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 500 words or less.

More in Opinion

Be safe, be clean — but also keep perspective

Nothing is known for sure, but the world isn’t ending.

Change in the time of coronavirus

Here are three large ways the world will shift.

Opinion: Public deserves honest information on sex education

The Washington comprehensive sex education bill passed in the Senate on March 7.

A note from the publisher

We’ve lifted online paywalls on our sites so our community can stay informed.

Grocery store staff are working hard to keep the shelves stocked during the COVID-19 pandemic. File photo
Thank you grocery store clerks

Recognizing the sacrifices of our unsung essential workforce.

Courier-Herald may move online until pandemic ends

We’re working hard to ensure you will still have a paper to wake up to — but even if we can’t make that happen, we are still here.

How our our grocery stores protecting us from COVID-19?

They have some protections — but is it enough?

When faced with tough times, head for the Goldilocks Zone

The government has to skate the tightrope of being too controlling, and being too lax in response to COVID-19 — and both spell disaster.

Win a few, lose a few

I’m not much of a gambler, but I’ve seen some people win big.

Most Read