Now, let’s get this out of the way.
What happened to U.S. figure skater Nancy Kerrigan from within the social circle of her rival, Tonya Harding, was a tragic crime. Folks went to jail for assault and conspiracy, and lives were forever tarnished on both sides of the vicious attack on Kerrigan just before the 1994 Winter Olympics.
By Peter Nieckarz • Guest Columnist
The Trump administration in mid-February unveiled its proposed federal budget for 2019. The proposal calls for the total elimination of federal appropriations for public broadcasting. The present level of funding to public broadcasting ($445 million) represents a microscopic portion of federal spending, but the impact this proposed cut will have on public broadcasting will be anything but small, particularly for public radio and the countless communities served by it. Federal budgets may seem abstract and not immediately relevant to us, but as the old saying goes, “All politics is local.” With respect to this, it is important for us in Western North Carolina consider the impact that a defunded public radio could have for our region.
That feeling in the pit of my stomach is familiar. I imagine it’s something like what people with ulcers feel — nervous, tightening, churning, almost painful. It’s telling me that there is very likely going to be fallout from a story we are about to publish. I won’t sleep well that night after we send the paper to press. After all these years and so many editions, it still comes with certain stories.
Is what we are about to publish going to hurt a friend? Are we being fair? Have we told both sides if that’s what the issue demands? Did a community leader I admire do something bad that we are about to report? Are we obligated to publish a story that is going to cost us advertising dollars, taking money away that we could use to invest and make the company stronger? Are we sure this is a public figure we are writing about, because if it’s not we could face libel charges?
There’s a road in Waynesville called the homeless highway. It runs from Frog Level to Hazelwood and during any given week, you’ll see folks walking back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. The end points of this beaten path are The Open Door and Haywood Pathways Center, two establishments offering physical and spiritual nourishment to weary souls.
Last year it was still just a quaint, silly little term — fake news.
In this holiday season, I have much to be thankful for. At least that’s the way I see it, though others may call me crazy for what I consider my blessings.
Skip past this column right now unless you’re OK with a little self-indulgence while I talk about what we do here at The Smoky Mountain News. I mean, it’s an odd business: we gather information from throughout the region — news from various sources and paid advertisements from businesses — package it in print and online, and give it away each week in hopes you’ll read and find what we do relevant, useful and interesting so we can do it again next week.
Every once in a great while, I come away from a book like some near-sighted fourth-grader who has just put on his first pair of glasses. The math problems on the whiteboard leap out at him; the words in his Open Court Reader are no longer a blur; the dimple in Jeannie Godine’s cheek is as fetching as her voice. I can see, the kid says to himself. I can really see.
“A lie can run around the world before the truth has its boots on.”
That’s one of the few quotes or sayings I can summon up at will. At some point it was etched into my memory. An internet search credits it to Terry Pratchett, a recently deceased but very popular British author of fantasy novels whom I have never read.
By Norman Hoffman • Guest Columnist
Some time ago a cartoon had Donald Trump’s press secretary and Kelly Ann Conway dressed as Burger King employees under a banner “Home of the Whopper” and Conway saying, “Do you want lies with that?” Lies seem to be the staple of the Trump administration.
Something newspaper editors never say: “I wish that fewer people responded to that piece in last week’s paper.”
Well, thanks to the nature of the online world that we currently live in, I’m going to buck tradition: I wish fewer people responded to that piece in last week’s paper.