Friday, December 21, 2007

Deja Vous—Again?

Despite my diatribe yesterday, I do read the Richmond Times Dispatch every day. Without it, I couldn’t write this blog. Where else would I get my information? The local broadcast news only reports on four things—crime, accidents, weather and sports. So, for me, it’s the TD or nothing. (Well, not exactly; I occasionally find meaningful stories in Style Weekly or the Richmond Free Press.)

In case you’re interested (and even if you’re not) this is the way I read it. First I look at the cover to see what non-news item the editors have chosen to make the lead story. Then I immediately go to the editorial/op-ed pages where all the action is. I especially pay attention to the letters to the editor. Every once in a while I’ll find a gem of inanity that deserves my “most wonderful letter of the day” award. I also like to see the kind of letter that the editors deem worthy to be their Correspondent of the Day. (For the record, my maveness has won this award; I have not.)

Well, today, the lead story on page 1 was “Richmond jail forms mental-health unit.” I guess I’ll concede that is news. The editorials consisted of a tribute to my favorite local congressman for his opposition to taxes and some kind of religious piece about Jamie Lynn Spears (who has embarked on the family’s favorite activity, teen pregnancy.) If I hadn’t attacked the editorial yesterday, I’m sure I could have found something useful in these pieces. Oh, lest I forget, I was quite impressed with the editors’ observation that “[t]he slotting of six Democrats and six Republicans in next year’s presidential primaries suggests Virginia could be a battleground.” I can only guess at the logic behind that statement.

So, I looked at the Correspondent of the Day. It was a letter asserting that the founders intended the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms to apply to everybody, not just state militias. That sounded amazingly familiar. I got this eerie feeling that I had sat and read that letter before (but who knows where or when?) Counting from the time of conception, my brain is over 64 years old. And, during the dark times of the year, it only functions at about 37% capacity. So it was entirely possible that my gray matter was deceiving me. But the earlier letter seemed so real.

I went looking for an earlier TD. However, since our resident recycler allows papers to accumulate for only 36 hours in our home, I had to log onto the TD website. I looked through the letters for December 20; nothing. I looked through the letters for December 19; there it was! The Correspondent of the Day on December 19 (that’s about 48 hours ago for those of you who can count) was a letter asserting that the founders intended the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms to apply to everybody, not just state militias. Wait a second! Did they mistakenly print the same letter twice? Did they mistakenly print the same letter twice? Nope—different letter, different correspondent. I started hearing the familiar music and Rod Serling’s voice saying “There’s the signpost up ahead...”

But seriously, how can the same newspaper award the same award to virtually the same letter first on December 19 and then again on December 21? The Richmond Times-Dispatch is certainly entitled to its editorial policy, although you and I find it to be rather Neanderthal. If they want to rave about Nancy Pelosi, that is their right. But, I would expect that their editorial policy would not affect their choices of what letters to print and award each day. I don’t care if they feel a lot safer packing their Glocks, they need to be objective about the letters they print.

How I long for the Brooklyn Eagle!

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