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Shrimp 'n Grits

“Inside the whirl of newspapers” - Burger Barf
Lee Walton

Ken Burger should stick to sports; at least then he wouldn’t create his own “credibility gap”. Yes, many newspapers across the nation are dying because of increased multi-media competition for shrinking advertising revenue, newsprint’s inability to adapt to new technology, and falling circulation. But for many, the calculated decision to take highly polarized political positions and interpret or control the news instead of providing unbiased, factual reporting has also been a major contributor to the death of their credibility and, justifiably, their market share.

Newsprint subscribers nation-wide are being “turned-off” in ever increasing numbers by politically biased reporting and are seeking alternatives that provide better, more fulfilling choices as news sources. Multiple new reporting technologies and one old survivor are now spilling into the widening abyss created by increasingly politically biased newspaper reporting. The Internet, cell phones, and AM talk-radio are racing to strip the bones of print journalism and doing it quite profitability. The differences most alternatives offer are timely, unbiased choice and journalistic credibility, two qualities now missing in most print journalism.

Several newspaper owners, including the “third-floor suits” of the Palter and Chatter, have shamelessly sacrificed the “…premium on quality news, credibility and a source you can trust” for political alliances that offer profitability from sources other than newspaper publication. Political cronyism, deal-estate development (the Palter and Chatter owns over two city blocks on Columbus. King, and Meeting Streets) and the proverbial “quid pro quo” for the public advertising dollar have lately become greater driving forces than journalistic ethics. Ken Burger’s column this past Sunday conveniently ignored the nearly four-decades of soft balls and loppers thrown to Mayor Riley from the southwest corner office of the Palter and Chatter News Room. Having the audacity to claim any journalistic moral high-ground for the Palter and Chatter reeks with hypocrisy when one considers the many local news worthy events in the City of Charleston that have either gone un- or under-reported when the accountability of Charleston elected officials was in question.

As for Berger’s contention that “Internet search engines rely on newspaper reporting to fill their endless appetite for facts”, when was the last time he attended a Charleston City Council Meeting? If he ever did, he should check his notes against David Slade’s consistently pitiful whitewashes typically hidden deep in the bowels of page 3-B. Better that Burger should read the in-depth coverage of every Charleston City Council Meeting reported by Charlestonwatch that offers detailed factual reporting, including all the Mayor’s and his hand-picked stable of emasculated sycophant’s, warts and zits just as they are - free from politically motivated world-class bias.

The saddest testament to the Palter and Chatter’s lack of journalistic ethics was the constant, universal, and unquestioned cover given to Mayor Riley and former CFD Chief Rusty Thomas while firefighter professionals across the nation, bereaved families and relatives, and thousands of local citizens were demanding that these two be held personally accountable for the lack of adequate leadership, training, and equipment that was the direct cause of the deaths of nine brave men. If ever there was an award for journalistic shame, the Palter and Chatter earned it on this travesty of “…quality news, credibility and a source you can trust.”

Good try Ken, but you struck out this time; maybe Warren can do better.

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