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One Sorry Apology

by on September 3, 2010

I want an apology from Margaret Sullivan.  I am deeply offended by every word ever written by Jeff Simon, Jeff Miers, Rod Watson, Donn Esmonde, and Douglas Turner, not to mention that I have felt indignation after reading most of The Buffalo News’s unsigned editorials and much of its reporting.

As a result, I am owed a heartfelt admission of remorse.  If the rag’s editor is willing to proclaim she’s sorry about sharing facts, then those incensed by its biased coverage and nastily illogical opinion writing are owed contrition next.  The line starts behind me.

The accurate information in question came up when Sullivan attended an event where she fielded harangues regarding an article published following the City Grill shootings. Some people are upset that the News reported news:

It was a tough crowd for Margaret Sullivan. 300 people were at True Bethel Baptist Church, most of them angry at the Buffalo News Editor’s decision to publish a front page story reporting that seven of the eight shooting victims from City Grill had criminal records.

For the crime of getting a pertinent story right, Sullivan apologized like Barack Obama at a UN picnic held in Norway on the anniversary of the passage of Arizona SB 1070:

She said she’s a parent herself.

Sullivan, “I am very sorry that the news has caused your pain to be deeper.”

But Sullivan says if she had to make the decision again, “I have to be honest with you, it would be not entirely different, but would be substantially different, and you have affected me in what you’ve said.”

You can’t kill the messenger if they commit suicide first.  Sullivan should have stood up for what her paper published.  Even better, she should have skipped the even in the first place.  An email to the organizers noting that the story’s indisputable accuracy before pointing out that the checkered past of the casualties is relevant to understanding the events would have been sufficient.  But appeasing is a harder habit to quit for the reflexively politically correct than smoking is for the rest of us.

The figurative bowing will sadly undo the rarest of events, namely good work presented in The News.  To paraphrase another paper’s rather famous slogan, all the news that printed fit.  The relayed particulars were not only true but also germane.

It’s specifically newsworthy to note that the shootings weren’t random attacks.  Innocent people scared for their safety within Buffalo deserve to know the nature of this vicious mass homicide and wounding.  While it may offer little comfort following a wretched day in the city’s recent history, citizens should be aware that the victims were targeted after a dispute, not as the arbitrary prey of muggers.

It goes without saying that the shootings were indescribably awful regardless of the sufferers’ respective pasts.  As Sullivan justly noted, “There is nothing in that article that suggests that the victims deserved anything bad to happen to them.”

But questionable life decisions before that horrible night may indicate a tendency to come in contact with shady elements.  People who have been in dangerous situations may sadly find themselves near them again.  Avoiding the sort of lifestyle that may lead to trouble is a painful lesson that’s urgent to learn.

Worrying that the relatives of those shot may be upset by the story can’t be the priority of news gatherers attempting to classify the situation.  Noting the troublesomely related aspects of those attacked is an unpleasantly tough but necessary chore.

If you feel it’s coincidental that seven-eighths of the victims had their own legal issues, play the lottery before you’re struck by lightning.  The Buffalo News merely acknowledged the possibility of a correlation by reporting cold evidence.  The last thing they should do is feel bad about it.


From → Buffalo

One Comment
  1. It was a public flogging of guilt swung by the victim status locals…

    “Victim” was written 10 times in that article about Sullivan’s visit to the church…

    There are facts in this case that need to be known. If there is an assassination in Buffalo I want to know why; whether by the mob, a street gang, or a crazed ex-lover.

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