Thursday, July 12, 2007

Breaking News In York Beach

No matter how frequently bias in reporting is discovered, it still makes me catch my breath and often causes a bit of stomping about the house and in extreme cases, some pontificating to the Retired Guy (who always listens patiently) about incompetence in journalism. I hate to call out an alumnus of my esteemed institution but in the interest in fair and balanced reporting and to protect the image of our little village, I must do so.

If you happen(ed) to be watching Robin & Company on Headline News this morning, you probably saw this story reported on. A twelve-year old boy is arrested by the York Police for stealing a 25 cent bubble gum cigar from a candy store in York Beach.

As a rule, we try to avoid the madness of York Beach (tourist trap--it screams) from about June 15 until October 1 and the interview on CNN with Peggy Fennelly (Headline News got her name wrong) did nothing to make us change our mind. She looked grumpy and vindictive. We were upset that she made such a mountain out of a 25 cent cigar. Why make such a big deal of it? Sheesh, we thought.

At the end of the report, CNN does mention that Fennelly is trying to get the charges dropped because the young man wrote a letter of apology, but it's a quick sentence at the end, provided without context or more detail. Then I got to wondering why such a story would make national morning news at a time when more and more Republican Senators are urging us to change our Iraq strategy, Bush has ordered his counsel to snub Congress, wildfires are burning up the West......this is news? There must be more to it all. So I investigated a bit more.

The editorial (linked above) in the Portsmouth Herald provides a very different take on the situation. It says that Fennelly might be the best friend this young boy ever had for caring enough to teach him such a valuable lesson. You might not agree with the editorial but at least you've got enough information on the situation to form a better opinion. It provides context, additional information and balanced information. Based on the the letter of apology that the boy wrote, I rather agree with the editorial:

"Dear Mrs. Fennelly,

"I am very sorry about what happend in the candy shop today and I will never do any thing like this again for the rest of my life. I am dissapointed in my-self and my parents are also dissapointed and supprised at my actions. As my father said on the phone this is very unlike me. Also for the next few weeks I will have to give my allowance to charity and do extra chores around the house as punnishment. I will remember this for the rest of my life. As I have said before I am very very sorry and I have been taught a very valuable lesson and hope you can forgive me for all the trouble I have caused you."


Margaret Evans Porter said...

I saw the story broadcast last evening. I, too, feel that the outcome was positive--and I expect the lesson will last a lifetime.

mainelife said...

I'd say so. :) Can you imagine the terror of a twelve year old facing a police officer?

Anonymous said...

It is like the pot calling the kettle black in this instance... How long have the Fennelys lived in York and had their vehicles registered in New Hampshire??? Kind of like stealing as well don't you think?? JMO

mainelife said...

Dear Anon-
I actually don't think that's "kind of" like stealing.
I think it's totally like stealing...thanks for commenting.