May 21, 2003
KANSAS CITY: It’s been raining quite a bit here, and the farmers are glad. And not just in Missouri and Kansas, but all across our middle west. They tell me most of the corn and soybeans were planted in April, so this rain is just what the crops need to get off to a good start.
This country is back on Orange Alert. I can’t remember if that means we need to stock up on duct tape, but one thing is certain, if you’re flying, you had better wear clean socks. These airport security folks are not about to let anyone sneak on a plane with explosives in their shoes. You take off your shoes and they run ’em through an x-ray, and maybe a microwave oven and pasteurizer. All I know is, when my leather boots came out they had more shine than usual, and not a trace of black powder, dynamite, or mad cow disease.
Down in Ft. Worth, Texas, home of “my” old friend Amon Carter, Annika Sorenstam is taking on the men tomorrow in a golf tournament. Every man on the course has just two goals; win the championship, and above all, don’t finish behind Annika.
Tiger Woods called her to wish her luck. Yes, and you’ll notice that Tiger had the good sense not to play against her this week. He’s going to let Phil Mickelson and the rest of the boys sweat this one out in the Texas heat.
The New York Times has been in the news (rather than reporting the news), because of a reporter named Jayson Blair. That’s where the problems started; he called himself a reporter instead of a humorist. See, a humorist is allowed to exaggerate, or even encouraged. Now mind you, good humor is still based on fact.
Where a good reporter writes down every word, or records it, a humorist just hears something and remembers it the best he can. And sometimes he remembers it funnier than it was said. This is not only accepted for a humorist, it’s applauded.
But a reporter, if he makes up a quote or a fact, or claims he is in Washington interviewing the President when he’s really sitting on his back porch on Long Island, well it just isn’t done. So Jason Blair is not a reporter, and probably never was.
Is he a humorist? I don’t know, but nobody at the Times is laughing.
Historic quote from Will Rogers:
(Will started writing his “Daily Telegrams” at the request of New York Times publisher Adolph Ochs in July 1926. Within weeks they were appearing in 600 newspapers, 6 days a week, through the McNaught syndicate. But the Times was not always pleased with Will’s writing. On at least two occasions they did not print his column, and once they wrote a condescending editorial half-apologizing for Will’s views. A few days later Will got the last word with the following DT, which of course was published across the whole country.)
“I would like to state to the readers of THE NEW YORK TIMES that I am in no way responsible for the editorial or political policy of this paper. I allow them free rein as to their opinion, so long as it is within the bounds of good subscription gathering.
But I want it distinctly understood that their policy may be in direct contrast to mine. Their editorials may be put in purely for humor, or just to fill space. Every paper must have its various entertaining features, and their editorials are not always to be taken seriously, and never to be construed as my policy.” DT #1979, Dec. 7, 1932