Wednesday, May 21, 2014

How Do You Know the Truth in the Shoals?

“Why wasn’t it in the TimesDaily, if it’s true?” We’ve heard and seen this question many times in the past few years. There are also some who say that while they read something in the Quad-Cities Daily or Pen-N-Sword, they won’t believe it unless it’s published in the TD. So, just why is some news published elsewhere, but not in the TD?

We’ve said before that if you want to know what cooks in Sheffield, read the QCD. The owners live in Sheffield, work in Sheffield, and know all the elected officials and half the police force. We saw some criticism of the QCD (albeit from a very disreputable source) when they broke the story of an investigation into sex charges against a Methodist minister. The TD finally reported on the case, but long after the news had been more thoroughly covered in the QCD. Why? Was the TD covering up? Our opinion is the TD didn’t have a clue for several weeks about the case.

Last week a Muscle Shoals man who had quite a rap sheet in the area was murdered in Birmingham. Pen-N-Sword published several articles on the murder, and WHNT presented a brief segment on the crime, but so far nothing has been in the TD. Didn’t the TD think it newsworthy? We’re still scratching our heads over why this didn’t make the TD. Perhaps there was no room for the story without omitting some of the myriad articles on the Shoals’ growing industries or its harsh treatment of illegal immigrants?

Some omissions aren’t so benign. When Russellville activist Evelyn Servin pickets in the area, the TD publishes what we’re sure they consider a heart wrenching account of her plight. When Servin is arrested on multiple charges in Gadsden, the TD is suddenly bereft of any comments on the poor misunderstood Mrs. Servin.

How about convicted child murderer Christie Scott? Testimony (taped) from and concerning her boyfriend took up half a day at her trial a few years ago, yet not a word on this aspect of the case was published in the TD which had a reporter in the courtroom every day.

More recently, we have the vehicular homicide case against John Clark Burns Jr. We have no idea if the TD’s failure to report the Tennessee arrest warrant for Burns was simply shoddy journalism/saving space or if the TD didn’t want to publish a story about the grandson of the founder of Brunscraft Yachts. Burns has not yet had his day in court, and his victim’s family is suing “On the Rocks” in Florence. The TD did an article on the lawsuit, but still failed to mention Burns’ criminal charges.

Tomorrow: A few more words about John Clark Burns Jr. and a clarification on a recent blog.


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