Along the Tracks

Saturday, December 06, 2003

First-hand experience of liberal media bias

or Bryan gets slammed!

Attention all Bryanites: The New York Times has declared our town "dead."

If you think I'm exaggerating, check it out yourself. The key quote:

"Still, workers said the biggest hole in their lives after Etch A Sketch moved was the death of a community that had bonded over many years." (Emphasis mine.)

I'm flabbergasted. I'm angry. Words normally come easily for me - yet right now, I don't know what to say.

The NYT writer, Joseph Kahn, provides picturesque prose to prove he really visited the Fountain City, but twists the images with malevolence to cast a hopeless pall upon our town:

"The William County Courthouse, a 110-year old Romanesque Revival structure, hints at the loss. Its turrets and towers give it the aura of a fantasy castle. Toy soldiers guard the doors. But the oversize Etch A Sketch that once decorated the courthouse lawn through the Christmas season is gone."

Tell me, when you are driving on U.S. 127 and see that Courthouse from miles away, all lit up for Christmas, does it "hint at loss"? The "fantasy castle" is a gathering point all year long, from summertime community band concerts to Jubilee to Christmas caroling and Santa's Workshop.

Of course, Kahn recites the typical liberal lies on which working-class tales of communal misery rely: "tax base is eroding" ... "loss of manufacturing" ... "population drain."

Let's see ... false, false ... and false! Tax revenues took a downturn nationwide, not just in Bryan - the "base" is still there, and actually improving. Manufacturing is cyclical, and right now, it is also coming back around. Williams County and Bryan are growing, according to the census.

Those examples, by the way, all come from the same sentence - the article is chock full of liberal media assumptions, pushed and smooshed into each tear-jerking sentence.

One shot went right across my bow:

"The Bryan Times is full of notices of home foreclosures and auctions."

Mr. Kahn, don't use MY newspaper to defend your lazy-assed lies. Since many, if not most, of you read the Bryan Times, I don't need to prove my point here. For those who are only familiar with the Times (Bryan, of course) through this site, let me assure you: The Cullis family is not getting rich off ads for sheriff sales.

And how about this little observation:

"The town's central square is in repose. The drugstores, real estate offices and bars look more like relics than marketplaces."

How do you feel now, Ringers, Mohre's and Schuck's? What do think of Mr. Kahn's opinion of your business office, Mr. Hallock? Aren't you proud of the exposure, Peebles and Hawk's?

I guess the Williams County Community Theatre better rethink its plans for a "theatre district" at Butler and Lynn across from the southwest corner of the Courthouse. Why bother? After all, the town has been declared dead by the New York Times!

The denigration of Bryan's downtown ought to go over quite well with my boss, Tom Voigt, who has fought tirelessly - and not always with appreciation - to keep the central square vibrant and attractive, which, in fact, it is.

I'm a good friend of former Mayor Bill Runkle, who guided this town through thick and thin for two decades until his retirement two years ago. Etch A Sketch was just one of his calling cards. Dum Dum pops were at least as well-known, and he passed out a lot more of those. Mayor Doug Johnson has similarly kept Bryan moving forward, and it is a travesty to dismiss his efforts, and those off all the city's council members, BPA members and staff as some sort of failure.

Has Bryan suffered some because the Etch A Sketch line moved to China? Of course. Nobody likes to see layoffs, and that Ohio Art product gave our city worldwide recognition. But Ohio Art is still here. The Killgallons are still devoted members of our community. And somehow, Mr. Kahn failed to note other job losses in Bryan and throughout our area, which have made the last three years trying for many.

But Mr. Kahn, a well-paid, highly-trained journalist at the most important newspaper in world, entirely missed the story. Bryan has survived. The people of this community have pulled together to help those who lost incomes and opportunities during the recession. Friends and neighbors have devoted their time to bringing in jobs, expanding businesses, keeping the city clean and inviting, providing for those in need, and keeping the spirit of confidence and determination alive and well.

You know what? Bryan is doing fine. The job situation is improving. Businesses are seeing the upturn. The Bryan Times classifieds have far more "Help Wanted" ads than foreclosures and auctions. Certainly, there will be challenges ahead - there always are. That's called life. And that's my whole point: Bryan is alive.

Of course, if you live here, you already knew that. The offensive words of a condescending New York "journalist" don't change reality.

"CHINA STEALING U.S. MANUFACTURING JOBS" is one of the hot topics for the media elite, so Mr. Kahn cherry-picked the Etch A Sketch line move for a quicky sob story: "Trade Policies Kill Close Knit Town." But the truth is very different than the headlines and their underlying assumptions.

This is just one more reminder, perhaps closer to the heart: Don't trust the liberal media!!!

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