(originally posted march 9, 2007)
Link to Dingleberry's editorial:
I am writing this column in response to the Editorial by Edwin Ruis on March 9, 2008. It is a column that I meant to write long ago and I have decided that the time to write it is now.
Mr. Ruis would possibly want to lead us to believe that The Tribune is full of macabre, death-obsessed, prejudice-inciting, "reality" because we, as readers, have an unnatural curiosity and appetite for it. I would say that The Tribune prints such horrible "news" everyday not because we can "decide to turn our faces if we don't want to see it", as Mr. Ruis asserts (which would be quite unfortunate for The Tribune employees' pocketbooks) but because The Tribune makes money by contributing to the atmosphere of Terror and Over-sensationalism of the Macabre that is the current national media.
I have a case in point, which is why I was going to compose this letter long ago. Until I read Mr. Ruis' article, I felt I would've appeared on the defensive- a grieving former wife and "Mama Bear". Now, I have the chance to be convincing on the offensive-as a member of the human community, who are desperately trying to shield our few remaining brain cells from the death-obsessed brainwashing of the Media.
Here is my example of how "Reality" is, and of The Tribune's commitment to "reflect the way things are without transforming reality into what we would want it to be", as Mr. Ruis defines "what journalism is all about".
Last July, my eight-year-old son was visiting his dad. There was a rainstorm, the storm cleared, and they went toy boat racing in the ditch in Eaton. Fun and Frolicking ensued and in one tiny bone-headed moment, my child's dad dove into the ditch. In that one millisecond, my son's father broke his neck and my child had to run and call 911 as his father drowned.
Did The Tribune report on the Reality of what his little heart felt like beating in his chest? Did The Tribune report on the Reality of his banging on neighboring doors until someone, anyone answered and he could call 911 and his mama? I don't remember reading about that in the week of intensive daily reporting of that millisecond that followed in The Tribune.
And I most certainly don't remember reading in The Tribune about the most heartbreaking "Reality" of this tragedy that, second to his father's death, is the most disturbing part of the Reality for my son, when he tells his story. The part where he "just wanted to be alone" but The Tribune reporter wouldn't leave him alone. The Tribune reporter that my son says made him feel like "he was Paris Hilton and the reporter was the paparazzi" minutes after his father was hurt and before he had a parent there with him.
This is the Reality that The Greeley Tribune feasts upon, digests to its own perception, and then regurgitates into the minds of its news-hungry readers.
Please do not forget this when you see front-page pictures of people in anguish when their houses have just burned to the ground, or third page pictures of shoes in fields where someone's father, uncle, mother, lover, or child has just been thrown from a vehicle. Please remember that The Tribune is most certainly "transforming reality" to sell newspapers and win journalism awards.
Reality is everything. Reality was a Tribune reporter bombarding my child with questions while he was all alone in the world with out a grown up as he watched is father get CPR. Reality is me, his mother, who has imagined writing about this in an impactive way since the day that happened to him, to me, to our whole family who had been shaken to the core and then had "coverage" in The Tribune. And Reality is you, the Reader, who has taken the time to read what I have written and should think very realistically if what you would want when the Unthinkable happens is a Tribune photographer with a zoom lens asking you, or worse, your minor child, about it in order to feed a macabre appetite that they seem to believe exists.
I am not sure what "looking in the mirror" has to do with the good or bad news in the paper, but I hope that the "photojournalists" who hounded my child can look in the mirror with pride at their "journalistic achievement", for I can certainly now look in the mirror with pride at having exposed it.