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Wednesday
Jan302013

Media Ignores Real Fireworks To Cover Pissing Contests

            Talk about screwed up priorities, the media continues to devote dozens and dozens of column inches to tabloid-type stories while ignoring items which would have major impacts on the lives of people of our state.

            The latest case in point is today’s Union Leader which devotes 30 column inches (and a banner page two headline) to a story by its lead reporter Jon Distaso dealing with the pissing contest between former Speaker Bill O’Brien and the Democratic party.

            At the same time, we don’t see a word, not a single word, on a four hour Criminal Justice Committee hearing yesterday on banning fireworks as a response to last summer’s tragic accident in Pelham.

            Graphic heart rending testimony was presented; the state fire marshal released a preliminary report on the accident; fireworks sellers flooded the room to oppose to bill, yet no media (which I could find) deemed it worth even a word of coverage.

            I know; I know; so much is happening these days that the media can’t be everywhere.

            However, at the same time the Union Leader ignored this major hearing, not only did it foist 30 column inches on the pissing contest upon us, it gave devoted more space to another pissing contest, this one between  Rep. Peter Sullivan, D-Manchester and Free Staters.

            Beyond that, there was more space devoted to Rep. Patrick Garrity, also D-Manchester, pleading guilty to an assault charged and being sentenced to a year’s probation. 

            I admit to being fascinated by this story.  Here’s a State Rep, who was involved in another bar room brawl (in which a broken leg resulted as I recall) a few years ago.  Now, he pleads guilty to this assault charge, gets a six months suspended sentence, and yet walks free.

            With lots of ink to spare on such matters, the Union Leader never once posed the question of whether Garrity should be forced to give up his State Rep seat like Nashua Rep-Elect Stacy Laughton (D-Nashua) had to do back in November for having failed to fully pay her debt to society.  Is being on parole for an assault charge considered paying your debt to society?

            But…you see, I’m getting carried up in the main stream media tendency to focus on less consequential events and ignoring items which should be talked about.  Of course, this is merely a blog, not a major news outlet, but even here, I feel compelled to write about the fireworks bill. 

            Reams of documentation were presented to the committee.  Nearly everyone who spoke offered personal recollections of that July 3 night in Pelham when a fireworks rocket went astray and ignited 350 or so other fireworks on a porch leading to serious injuries of nine children and five adults.

            The question, of course, is whether we should ban all these type of fireworks because of one admittedly horrible tragedy.  I tend to think not; no more than we would ban all automobiles because of a terrible accident in which several people are killed.

            Committee members, including I, had numerous questions of the fireworks purveyors yesterday.  One seller even handed out a lengthy list of warnings he said were handed out to all buyers of fireworks.

            You wouldn’t know any of that if you simply followed the Union Leader and other main stream media outlets because they are too busy giving far too much space to pissing contests.

            The fireworks ban is House Bill 336.  I suggest someone in the media might want to take more than a quick look at the file and come up with some type of story.

            The banner Union Leader headline is “Former GOP Speaker appeals dismissal of robo-call suit.”

            The two-column head on the Sullivan story is “State rep’s tweet leads to war of words (I’d call it a pissing contest) over Free Staters.”

            The two-column Garrity story is headlined “Garrity gets probation for assault on ex-wife, friend”.

            I’ll offer opinions on those items in separate blogs, but my purpose here is to wonder what the hell has gone wrong with the media when it comes to priorities.    

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