|By G. Michael Dobbs|
Remember the old story about the blind men trying to describe an elephant? That's how I felt last week when I read The Republican's story about the appearance of the chair of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, Stephen Crosby.
My story certainly didn't jive with what The Republican printed. I wondered if they had actually bothered sending a reporter, but he was sitting behind me.
I came with my digital recorder as well as a notebook as I hoped Crosby would be candid in his remarks. He certainly was, but you couldn't tell from the stunted story The Republican ran and then buried inside.
I saved my front page for the story in three of our four editions. That's how I much valued it.
For some reason, this latest Republican abuse lit my fuse. The casino issue is one of the most important questions facing the region. A casino represents an economic development investment that is in the same dollar range as Westover Air Force Base and the expanded University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
This is hugely important.
Crosby was essentially an Old Testament prophet that day issuing warnings about the necessity for the communities involved to go through this selection process slowly and correctly or be prepared to suffer the consequences.
You wouldn't know that reading The Republican.
For Springfield at least, the outcome of not landing the license is quite dire and so much is riding on either MGM Resorts International or Penn National Gaming coming to town. Don't the residents deserve to learn as much as they can about this issue?
Apparently the city's daily paper doesn't agree, since they would directly profit from Penn getting the license. They want a status quo to be established and maintained. For them, the goal is to have Penn receive the license so they can get rid of their building that is now too large for their needs.
As I've said before, there are many good reporters and editors at The Republican. I value many of them as friends and colleagues. I just can't be silent, though, when I see such a misuse of media power.
I hope readers will begin to question the casino coverage they see in the daily and understand that having Penn win the license will directly benefit them. One of the questions they need to ask is whether or not the awarding of a license will benefit the rest of us.
Sen. Lindsey Graham had an interesting quote this past weekend about the Boston Marathon bombing, according to a report publishing by the Christian Science Monitor.
"The ball was dropped in one of two ways," U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) of South Carolina said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday. "The FBI missed a lot of things, is one potential answer, or our laws do not allow the FBI to follow up in a sound solid way.
"It's people like this that you don't want to let out of your sight, and this was a mistake," Sen. Graham said. "Either our laws are insufficient or the FBI failed, but we're at war with radical Islamists and we need to up our game."
"Either our laws are insufficient" is a phrase ripe with unsaid meaning. Will these bombings prompt new erosions of civil liberties as those that were the result of the events on Sept. 11, 2001?
Will people turn the tragedy in Boston into political talking points like the idiot Arkansas legislator Republican Rep. Nate Bell who posted on Twitter, "I wonder how many Boston liberals spent the night cowering in their homes wishing they had an AR-15 with a hi-capacity magazine?"
What an insensitive ideologue.
I don't want to live in a police state to feel "secure," do you? It's important to watch what happens next.
Agree? Disagree? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 280 N. Main St., East Longmeadow, MA 01028. As always, this column represents the opinion of its author and not the publishers or advertisers of this newspaper.
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