Saturday, October 20, 2012

Some people have suggested that...

As a blogger, I don't really have to conform to the rules that should apply to a straight news story.  After all, a blog is a forum for opinions, mine and those of others who may comment from time to time.  I do try, however, to back up my opinions with proof of my assertions.

There are many ways that a writer can fake popular support for a particular viewpoint, and unfortunately these tactics have been found in straight news stories.  For example, if I preface something with "Some people have suggested that..." I can state almost anything and expound on it, even if it is an absurd view. After all, others believe it too.

"It has been reported," or "Sources have indicated," or "Popular opinion has it that," are all phrases that can be used to suggest that others support any view I may take.  It's a trick.

Southbridge Evening News Sound Off.

On Thursday, October 18, 2012, an anonymous "sound off" appeared in the Southbridge Evening News. The writer used the forum to warn the townspeople of the terrible discipline problems at the new Southbridge Middle/High School.  The final question asked by the soundoff writer says ominously, "How safe are our children and employees at the Middle/High School?"

Sound Off Writer States Source.

The anonymous sound off writer says that the sources of his or her concern are "local blogs."  As a writer of one of those blogs, that concerns me.  So let's get to the bottom of this.  The blog being referred to by the writer is Ken O'Brien's "The Ozone."  In a blog post about the reported problems of cell phone and police radio reception at the Southbridge Middle/High School titled "Where's the Outrage?"  O'Brien stated "...there is still the risk that a student may suffer because of the inability to report a crisis condition in a timely manner. But what’s the risk? After all, according to unconfirmed reports there were only eight fights at SMHS last Friday." 

Using this one sentence from O'Brien's blog, ("After all, according to unconfirmed reports there were only eight fights at SMHS last Friday.") the sound off writer asserts to learning the following information:

1. Eight fights occurred at the Southbridge Middle/High School over a two-day period.

2. A ninth fight occurred on the bus.

Anonymous Sound Offer Suggests a Cover-up. 

Because these alleged fights have not been reported by The Southbridge Evening News, and because the "fact" of these fights has not been publicly stated by the Southbridge School Committee, they must be colluding in a cover-up to hide these incidents from the community.  In addition to this assertion, the sound off writer manages to libel certain individuals.

1. Principal Tammy Perreault: The sound off writer states that Ms. Perreault was not working at the school on Friday, October 5, leaving the three assistant principals to handle the alleged fights.

2. School Committee members Lauren McLoughlin and Kara Donovan have failed to deliver on their campaign promises for greater transparency on the Southbridge School Committee.

3. Superintendent Eric Ely would not be aware of these fights unless they occurred at the Cohasse Country Club where he spends most of his time.

Here is My Opinion.

First, please note that I am not using any phrase to suggest others believe what I am about to say.  Anyone who writes such critical commentary as the anonymous sound off writer did is a coward. No guts.

The sound off writer expounds negatively about the school, the administration, and the newest members of the Southbridge School Committee.  That sort of takes away a bit of the writer's anonymity.  Clearly he or she is connected with those who lost their ability to control the school system in the last election.  There has been a clear smear campaign by the power-possessed losers.

In Keeping with the Golfing Theme.

Let me conclude by saying that the anonymous sound off writer and those who hold a similar view may or may not be golfers.  But they clearly spend a lot of time at the nineteenth hole.