Monday, July 16, 2007

values, viewpoints, & the bottom line

a couple days ago, i posed this question of
the once mighty and respected the des moines register:
"remember when this paper didn't suck?"
back in the heyday of newspapers, folks put in long hours, smoked cigarettes, investigated, followed leads, wrote stories, and, often, righted wrongs. newspapers won pulitzer prizes for their efforts. the des moines register and tribune won several of them. but, unfortunately, they are almost as dusty as the university of iowa's heismann trophy [1939].
gannett owns them now, and they don't really give a rat's ass about anything that might require stepping on toes, or offending big advertisers. think they aren't licking their wounds following the resounding defeat of the "project destiny" tax relief proposal?
it wasn't always like that. below is the front page from the cedar rapids gazette from march 25, 1996, following the death of my friend and teammate chris lillig in a hit-and-run accident south of iowa city. click on the image to read and appreciate the importance that the paper attached to his death. then, click here to read more of that day's article, and other related articles about his death.

is it any wonder i'm more than pissed off at the local newspapers when they flatly refused to discuss the possibility of exploring prosecutorial inaction in the rash of recent deaths and injuries of area bicyclists? the reason i say local "newspapers" [plural] is because of exchanges i've had with cityview about maybe THEM doing what the register fears to do.
"thanks, we'll call you if we ever decide to cover that" i was told.
you wanna volunteer to die for their cover shot?
then look again at the cover of the cedar rapids gazette from 1996.
a color photo of the victim. interviews with friends. a history of the driving record of his killer.
what's more, the driver was charged, sent to prison, and actually did over 6 of the 16 years he was ordered to serve.
again, mighty des moines register,
friend of all cyclists--in july, anyway--
i challenge you:
show you REALLY care
about the lives and safety of ALL bicyclists.
investigate and report why NOTHING is being done
to protect, prosecute, and educate.
the state of iowa really DOES depend upon you for this one.

7 comments:

Bart said...

Chris Lillig doesn't enter my thoughts as much as he used to, only once a week while I'm out riding it seems..............

You would be fortunate to meet a person like Chris, maybe once in a lifetime, he was that rare of a soul. Supportive, energetic, fun, never a bad thing to say about anyone, and a friend. With the goings on it seems like he died for nothing, or am I wrong? I don't pray but I hope I'm wrong.

bryan said...

Reggie just wants your RAGBRAI money. After that, he doesn't care.

Anonymous said...

Rev, I think this Bryan kid has hit on something. "Reggie" just sees dollar signs and doesn't give a rat's ass about who gets hurt in the process. I think Reggie feels quite smug that they have Mr. Lie Strong back again. He gets run over by a gravity box and we'll see who gets charged! Who gives a shit, he's just using it as p.r. to further cover the trail of lies and cheating that is tailing him and trying to distance himself from the 7 Lies. Wait until Jan talks, it'll hit the fan baby! Later, Travel Gravel! Greg Moore, Boone P.S.See my editorial cartoon in the upcoming 'Toons !

the mostly reverend said...

mr. boone--
see if you can convince mr lemke to bring some of those 'toons to capitol city. i've tried over the years, to no avail.
it's good humor!

Anonymous said...

Patience is a virtue and the wheels of justice sometimes move slowly, you as an attorney should know that.

the mostly reverend said...

the topic of the sermonette was not legal justice but journalistic integrity.
newspapers live and die by daily deadlines, and the likelihood of anyone at the register screaming "stop the presses!" for an article decrying the lack of ANYTHING being done on behalf of bicyclists in the near future is slim, at best.
meanwhile, the abuse continues, and we die.

bryan said...

Actually, I was aiming more toward how Reggie likes to put his bike-friendly foot forward sometimes. But then when the Reverend had a conversation with an editor about bikes (which didn't involve making money off said bikes), Reggie didn't want anything to do with it.

I can see where Reggie is coming from, though. Investigative reporting takes a lot of time and a lot of effort. If his newsroom, like most across the country, is understaffed, it's hard to pull regular beat writers out of the rotation and lock them in a closet filled with police reports, crime scene photos and case histories.

But on the other hand ... newspapers were once seen as the advocate for the people. But that was back when the 'people' (Betts Cadillac/Hummer/school bus/whatever and the like) weren't keeping the paper afloat with huge color ads.