Thursday, June 05, 2008

Third Largest City In The State Run By Volunteers (Staff Recommends Approval): Mayor Wants A Happy Medium, But There's This Blogging Stuff Going On...

The thurd largest city in the Great State of Missouri is run by volunteers: a volunteer mayor and a volunteer city council. Thanks to Jackehammer for these excerpts from the Mayor's State of "The City" talk.

"The challenges that this community is facing in trying to get the community to support things have increased many fold.

I (will) probably not make any friends right here, but I'll tell you that our friends in the media don't support the community like they used to. I think I am qualified to say that, not only as a person that's worked as a journalist and as an editor, but also as a person that's worked in public life.

It's not like it used to be, there's not the depth, there's not the scope, there's not the understanding on the part of the media, on the topics that they're covering. On top of that, we have this internet thing that's going on now, with this blogging stuff, where people used to, if you wanted to say something, you had to put your name to it, now, there's this anonymous character assassination that is encouraged in order to sell newspapers or other media outlets. It makes it very difficult to get your message out.

People in this room can tell you questions that a person from the media will ask you about some person in this town that everybody here has known of for years and the person who's charged with covering that has never heard of them.

How do you get a message out to the public, to the people that you're elected to represent if you no longer have a medium to do it with? It's a big challenge, and how do you get, with the amount of time and effort that it takes these days to deal with these issues, to get qualified people to step up to serve? You know, the only thing I'm banking on, and I'm betting on Springfield because this town has always been a town that when you presented a challenge, rose to it...." - Mayor Carlson, from his state of the city report, June 5, 2008.
How do you get a message out to the public if you don't have a medium to do it with? I think I am going to grab a cold one, pour it in a styrofoam cup and sit on the back porch and watch my grandson skateboard while I mull over that question. Vance Randolph probably had a pretty good start towards answering the Mayor's question when he quoted the Ozark oldtimer who lived down by Pineville: "Don't piss on my leg and tell me it's raining."Madame Marie was a fortune teller. Many, many years ago, up in Iowa, Madame Marie, while telling a woman her fortune, got to laughing uncontrollably. The woman's husband burst into Madame Marie's trailer and proceeded to strike Madame Marie repeatedly in the nose. "Why are you striking me?", screamed Madame Marie! The husband said his father always told him to strike a happy medium.

Madame Marie was a contemporary of Madame Murl. Below is an early picture of Madame Murl and some of her friends sitting outside her trailer and chit chatting. The picture was probably taken in Iowa in the 1930s. Madame Murl's banners, which are almost identical to Madame Marie's, are now in the possession of Madame Murl's namesake.

6 comments:

Jacke M. said...

"The woman's husband burst into Madame Marie's trailer and proceeded to strike Madame Marie repeatedly in the nose. "Why are you striking me?", screamed Madame Marie! The husband said his father always told him to strike a happy medium."

Hee hee.

I'm really glad you're back, Jim, you danged old blogger!

Jason said...

He's not wrong, Jim, when it comes to some "reporters" and media voices in the community. They're not really concerned with presenting the whole truth to the public but rather their slanted and shaded version of it.

Now, that's nationwide and not just specific to Springfield. Local media in all bigger media markets do the same thing. Still, it does make it hard when you have newspaper "reporters" and talk show hosts who do little more than filter everything through a particular agenda or party line and people accept what's said as factually accurate.

Do you really think that the Mayor would get a fair shake from some reporters we both know or radio/TV hosts we both know? He could cure cancer and some folks would run their stories or host their segments talking about how the Mayor's infringing on people's health care rights.

He's also not wrong on the anonymous blogging. You have the integrity to attach your name to what you post so as a result even when you're being critical you bring solid reasoning to what you post. You don't just post the typical character assassinations you see on other local blogs where the author hides their identity. That's why people can take your blog as a credible source of information. You may have your opinions but I have yet to see you deliberately distort things like I've seen on other local blogs.

He'll get slammed by the usual folks who like to slam him but at the core of what he said he's not wrong. Now, he painted with too wide a brush I think and I think using the term "don't support the community" was wrong. Perhaps saying they "don't always present the whole truth" would be better for the point he was making. I can only think of a few people I would say that you could build a case for their not supporting the community but it would be a stretch. Even those who pride themselves on lies and distortions of other people at least seem to care about having a good community.

Busplunge said...

Jason,
You may be right.

Anonymous said...

Yup, Jason is right, Jim .... if you could just see beyond your tiresome and reflexive hate-the-gummint prejudices, you would see that. The dismal state of the News-Leader's coverage is a widespread topic of discussion in this town. It's a very serious issue.

You're on a much stronger track when you point out that Springfield is a really big city that faces serious challenges of growth .... and yet it is operated mainly by volunteers at the top. This is a topic that merits serious discussion. Of course, Thomas Jefferson would have loved the idea of volunteer citizen governance ... it's his ideal of democracy.

But why discuss Jefferson, when it's so much easier to take a gratuitous slam at Tom Carlson, as you did when you said he had nothing to say? Blogging sure lends itself to the drive-by shooting, doesn't it? ... and that was one point Carlson sought to make. The way I see it, Carlson has devoted thousands of hours to trying to improve this city ... have you? I really don't think he deserves your cheap hit ...

--kk ... hey, that new vehicle looks really cool ... you know you just bought it for the snowplow!

Busplunge said...

kk,
you may be right

john lee said...

Jim:

The correct response to kk is:

Thank you for sharing your opinion with me.