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Newspapers Tell You Everything You Want To Know – And Then…

     Ah, newspapers. They tell you everything you want to know – and then publish a retraction the next day. Oops. The name we published, Jan Smythe, was wrong. It should have been Oliver Wendell Holmes. Sorry for the error. We hope you didn’t have to pass a multiple choice test on that.

     Ah, newspapers. They tell you everything you want to know – except why there were ten police cars, three fire engines, and a sheriff with a huge cop dog three blocks over from your house last night. Scoured the paper – not a word. Read about the disturbance of the peace call on the other side of town; some guy ran a red light but no one got hurt; and there’s going to be a garage sale on Emerald Avenue next Saturday. Nothing about ten cop cars, three fire engines, the sheriff and the cop dog three blocks away.

     Ah, newspapers. They tell you everything you want to know – with lots of commentary to explain it in case you didn’t get the drift the first time. Commentary on the left; commentary on the right. Just gotta buy the right paper for your needs.

     What you don’t find is commentary by the guy/gal who wrote or said what they’re all commentarying about. “When I said taxes are too high, what I really meant was the economy’s doing just fine but it would do much better if we’d lower taxes and by the way, I’m a little to the left of middle – not slightly to the right of left, and whatever it takes to win your vote, well – that’s exactly what I meant.”

     Ah, newspapers. They tell you everything you want to know - and then ask you what that is. Which comic strip do you want us to dump? Which comic strip do you want us to add? So you tell them. By golly, you stop right in the middle of breakfast to call the eight hundred number and soon as you get home from work, you go straight to their website to make sure they recorded your vote and when the time comes, it turns out a thousand and three other people agreed with you one hundred percent – but by gosh, a thousand and four people didn’t and you lose. The paper drops Cathy and adds Boppers.

     And then one fine and sunny day, a reporter from your favorite newspaper calls you and says he’d like to do a story on your project about the moonflies and could he come out and talk to you and if it’d be okay, he’ll bring a cameraman along and maybe take a few photos of you with your very finest moonflies, but you say no thanks, because you’re afraid he’ll get it wrong and have to print a retraction the next day and nobody will read the retraction and your moonflies will suffer from bad press and so that’s the end of that.

     Ah, newspapers. They tell you everything you want to know – continued on A16. So you awkwardly unfold your newspaper, being careful to miss the scrambled eggs and toast beneath it and refold it at A16 catching a smear of raspberry jam as you fold but nowhere on A16 can you find the continuation of “Candidate Sweeps the Polls.” Nowhere. So you unfold from A16 and return to A1 and gosh darn, the title you were supposed to look for on page A16 is “Sunny Weather.”

     When you finally find “Sunny Weather,” it turns out the wrong candidate swept the polls and this time you wish the newspaper wouldn’t tell you everything you want to know because (continued on page A16. See “Turtles Togs.”)

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