Editorial

Letís talk about all this negativity

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

An all too common rebuttal to CN editorials (and even some news articles) is to not even attempt to refute what is said, but simply brand the piece as ďnegative.Ē Iíve seen examples of this on websites and various social media platforms and Iíd like to take an opportunity to address it.

The CN is not on some dead set mission to pull skeletons out of closets. What we are here to do is to present facts in our news. Fact is defined by Oxford Dictionaries as ďa thing that is known or proved to be true.Ē Facts cannot be spun to fit the interest of those in power; they simply are what they are.

In our editorials, we get to put our voice into the piece. I can state my opinion on a topic and write about what I believe. When I write an editorial, I do my best to write about what I think will both interest and inform people. I do not choose a topic based on what I believe will damage a particular group the most. Columns can be a different way of presenting an issue to the public. They are vastly more personal than regular news articles and allow for the writer to give their own opinion on the topic.

Just because a column exposes the actions or issues of a person or persons, does not mean the piece is negative. In fact, I would argue that often it is the action performed by the said person or group that is negative.

Am I to understand that telling the truth and informing the public of situations they need to know about is negative? Or is negative simply having the audacity to question the actions of the established authority? We live in a country that guarantees the right of a free press and if our local leaders cannot take criticism, then perhaps they should consider stepping down from their positions. I think we need to reevaluate what negative means. Negative means lacking positive qualities. Negative does not mean ignoring facts or sugarcoating a situation.

I understand it would be a lot easier for our elected officials if we simply ignored their mistakes and sung their praises, but that isn't going to happen here. When we write news stories, they are objective and non-personal. The news contains facts not opinions. When we write editorials they are subjective. We can express our opinions and in doing that there is no obligation to restrain our point of view by defending those whom we believe have done wrong. If a column points out a wrongdoing, be it group or individual, that doesn't mean the column is negative it means it is issue-driven.

To give an example, if I were to write about how I can't believe the decision that was just made by the city council, I am not writing about it to put the council in a negative light. I write to inform the public of the decision; I have no negative agenda. I write because the Blytheville public should be informed about what goes on in its local meetings, be it school board or city. I understand that not all 14,375 residents of Blytheville can attend these meetings, but if it goes in the paper maybe a few more will hear about it.

What I would consider being negative is an uninformed public being governed by individuals who stretch truths and ignore facts to make themselves look better. I would consider leaders who make decisions that benefit themselves rather than the voters who trusted them to always do the right thing, as negative. What I wouldn't consider negative is shining light on those acts so that the voters know what is really going on.

And if you count yourself among those who would say, "Yeah, but you never talk about any of the good things that happen in the city," I have a response for you. First, yes we do in fact. I love talking about good things in Blytheville. Iíve written many articles about some of the wonderful things that have happened here in Blytheville. Secondly, maybe I would have some more "good" things to talk about if our leaders would stop doing things that were so undeniably wrong. But I donít see that happening anytime soon so I will continue to write about what I believe is important for the public to know.

If you would like to see more columns that put the spotlight on so-called positive things, let me make this suggestion to you. Get out and vote when elections come and make a change in our leadership; maybe others can make a difference in this town and make it a little more positive.

gwilliams@blythevillecourier.com