“Made it Ma! Top of the world!”
Posted by Buzz Beeler on 19th January 2017
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October 17, 2014 12:51 pm ET

Where should the attention go – this blog or the issues?

Source: “Made it Ma! Top of the world!”

For those of us into the film noir genre, there is a film that stands out for an iconic line is the James Cagney crime drama White Heat, where he plays a gangster whose mother pushes him to the “Top of the World” in his pursuit to be the baddest of the bad.

The scene I highlighted is the films climax where he did make it to his Ma’s top of the world only to have it blown to bits.

So, with that thought in mind, I might have just a tad bit of fun with this blog. You see, I am never one to shy away from attention. After all, that is why I write this blog—to get attention for the topics I address here. With that said, it seems as though I am getting more than my fair share of attention these days. However, I don’t really mind.

In fact, I take it all with a grain of salt. I know that they say that salt might be bad for you, so I might just throw a little pepper on the topic as well.

The amazing thing about all of the attention thrown my way is that both Steve Matrazzo, the editor of the Dundalk Eagle, and our fearless County Executive, Mr. Kevin Kamenetz failed to do their homework when they tossed the attention my way. In addition, they added a ton of new clicks on my “click meter” as I was taken to the shed and given 40 whacks.

That is the one issue that I find is the most important issue as a journalist—do your homework, or get whacked by nuns with a yardstick.

Though, in my case, it seemed more like several whacks with a 2×4.

But back to the story, folks. You see, all of this started when I wrote a blog about Republican Todd Crandell’s tax problems. The Eagle hired a backhoe and dug a little deeper and revealed some more issues.

It was my opinion that the final results were the same—Mr. Crandell is addressing his tax issues with our IRS (as long as he didn’t email them—they have problems in that arena.) No matter how I or the Eagle spin it, the results are the same. Taxes are being paid, regardless of the year, the situation, etc.

If Mr. Crandell was indicted for some crime associated with his tax problem, then there would be a new twist to the story.

I took issue with Eagle Reporter Ben Boehl, who interviewed Mr. Crandell’s opponent—Joe DiCara, who (naturally) said a whole bunch of stuff about Mr. Crandell, none of which was inspiring. That was my point. Did Ben think that either candidate would give an unbiased response regarding the other?

Now if this was a mudslinging event started by either candidate, then you go to the slingers and say, “What’s Up?” But in this case, the story which was generated by my blog, and the Eagle’s follow up didn’t suit my tastes. I say let the facts speak for themselves. In my opinion, which I am allowed to express on my blog, Ben was correct in interviewing Crandell regarding his tax plight, but I thought going to DiCara for a comment was a forgone conclusion.

In any event such as this, and unbiased comment is unlikely, and the opposition candidates remarks are a forgone conclusion.

Apparently, my taking issue with the matter in my blog raised the ire of Ben and his editor, who decided to use space in the paper to take me to task. Now, Ben Boehl is a seasoned reporter, so why he needed his editor to speak for him is beyond me. But that is what happened.

Let’s start with this quote from Mr. Matrazzo: “On the other hand, while suffering the slings and arrows — and owning up to it when they’re merited — is part of being a journalist, I’m not about to stand by idly when unwarranted public pot shots are taken against those who produce this paper’s award-winning journalism. They’re my staff, and I hold them in the highest regard both as people and as professionals. I’m proud and grateful to have them — and I will damned well stick up for them when they are undeservedly slimed in a public forum.”
(Blogger’s note: Definition of a forum from Merriam-Webster: a medium [as a newspaper or online service] of open discussion or expression of ideas.)

Folks, you get “slimed” on a kids TV show, not in the media.

Now, granted, the Eagle does involve and serve the public in a variety of ways. But does that mean that everything the Eagle publishes is the epitome of the highest standards of “award-winning journalism?”

Not by a long shot.

Steve, I think you need to watch this bit of journalistic discourse unfold.

Here are some more quotes form Steve that should have been vetted before he let his fingers do the typing: “More than five years ago, I wrote in this space about my worries regarding online ‘citizen journalism’ and the accountability-deficient amateurism of a world in which, as Nietzsche put it, ‘there are no facts, only interpretations,’ where we get only the news we want, not the news we need. And quite possibly not the truth.”

My response to that backlash is, “balderdash.” Or, if you prefer, “poppycock.” Steve, you need to come into the 21st century and read this. I will probably rattle your “etched in stone” cage, but things are changing. Social media is highly regarded by the American public as having more credibility than the mainstream media.

To that end, I’ve moved onward and upward to a new forum before all of the paper forums are gone.

It seems that Mr. Matrazzo failed to do his research on my writing background, which I say with humility is quite extensive. I am not a so-called “citizen journalist.” My AFL-CIO Union card says so!

Steve, all you have to do to check my background is search for me on Google. That, in the biz, is called vetting. I have worked for the Sun, the Baltimore News American, and the Sunday Sun magazine, along with writing and producing videos and traffic safety spots and a feature film.

I believe that hardly puts me in the “citizen journalism” category. It’s not like I’m some 20-year-old kid with no journalistic background who just started spewing words on a blogging site one day. I think I’ve earned my stripes.

Tooting my own horn a bit, I have to say that writing a column that appeared next to one of the true greats, Andy Rooney, is not exactly writing in crayon.

There is more, but you’ll just have to take a peek at my work by performing that Google search.

This is about one issue—the ruffling of some feathers with the truth.

However, truth be told, all of this attention has been great for business.

Am I angry at anyone? Yeah, my golf game. I can’t putt or hit the ball as far.

Steve, I do remember when your paper did the piece on me that lead to the ADA investigation, and all of this is just business as usual.

One more issue regarding the photo of Steve: Photo credit News.blogs.wlu.edu

In my next blog, I’ll talk about the County Executive’s comments, both about me and about other issues.

Time to head out to the shed, so to speak…

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