Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Thursday, December 9, 2004 8:52 pm

Comeuppance, or, my homeboy opens up a can

Filed under: Salute! — Lex @ 8:52 pm

I began my newspaper career almost 21 years ago at the Statesville (N.C.) Record & Landmark. My 19 months there were not the happiest of my life, but I did learn a few things, a couple of which I have not had to unlearn and still rely upon today.

One of the first people I met there was an advertising guy named Tim Dearman. Tim was and, from what I hear, remains one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, in or out of newspapers. But we hadn’t kept in touch, so given the way the industry tends to chew up nice guys, I was pleasantly surprised to learn a while back that Tim had made it to the top: He’s now the Record & Landmark’s publisher.

I was even more pleasantly surprised to read on Romenesko’s site this morning that he’s one small-town publisher who clearly understands the role of a newspaper.

His editorial page recently ran a syndicated editorial cartoon by Gary Markstein depicting flag-draped coffins, with the caption, “I’ll be home for Christmas.” This cartoon offended certain members of the Iredell County Commissioners, who unanimously passed a resolution condemning the cartoon even though one commissioner who voted for the resolution admitted that — wait for it — he hadn’t seen it.

A lot of small-town publishers would grovel in the face of that. A lot more would never have allowed such a cartoon to run in the first place. But here’s what my man Tim said:

“Now that commissioners have resolved the easy issues that require no money, no courage and no thought, I hope they will begin doing the job they were elected to do, including getting our children out of classroom trailers.”

Memo to the commissioners: Homeboy served your hind ends. He didn’t just expose the baselessness of your gesture, he openly mocked you for it.

Many conservatives, including me, see significant value in public shaming for antisocial and un-American acts. Tim Dearman, with one sentence, publicly shamed the idiocy and pandering of the Iredell County Commissioners, calling them out for their lack of respect for American values. Good for him. More newspaper publishers like this, please.

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