Judging by the number of e-mails I'm getting each day, I know the political "silly season" already is up and running.
Of course, all the e-mails are from political candidates' campaign workers contacting my newsandsentinel.com account, usually to "announce" some "important" position the candidate has taken in a not-so-veiled attempt to get a news story about how wonderful the candidate is and how disastrous the opponents are.
Some of the "announcements" even have the audacity to seek donations to their campaign funds; like I would ever do that ... even if I had the money, the desire or such a total lack of professional ethics, which thankfully and rightfully prohibit news people from financially supporting a candidate.
In fact, I see red whenever I see a political bumper sticker on a news person's vehicle or happen to drive by a sign in a news person's yard. Obviously, on a personal level my wife and I vote for candidates, just like everyone else should, but no one knows who that candidate might be nor is there ever a sign on our vehicles or in our yard. And, it doesn't do a political candidate or group much good to check my voting record, as some party officials have done in the past, because I'm a registered party non-affiliate.
But none of that stops the political telephone calls, brochures and e-mails from arriving at my home and office.
There has been much news coverage this past week on Michele Bachmann's statement of her not having any monetary gain from her father-in-law's farm, which receives federal farm subsidies, when according to an Associated Press fact check she has been receiving tens of thousands of dollars in income from the farm for years.
Of course Bachmann, a declared candidate for president, also didn't know that it was John Wayne Gacy Jr., a serial killer, who was from her hometown of Waterloo, Iowa, not the legendary movie actor John Wayne. Nor did she know it was John Adams who was a Founding Father, not John Quincy Adams as she asserted. She also has asserted the NATO bombings in Libya might have killed as many as 30,000 Libyan civilians, for which there is no substantiation and hangs on the words "might have."
Unfortunately, political campaigns are filled with misstatements, exaggerations and downright falsehoods, all with the calculated intention of misleading potential voters. Granted, some of the misstatements are merely accidental flubs, but most, I believe, are intentional efforts to sway public opinion for them and/or against their opponent.
Yes, that is very cynical, but over a 40-plus-year career in the newspaper business I have only seen a handful of reasons to doubt it.
Tacky beyond belief is the only way to describe the Newsweek cover of a computer-generated image of the late Princess Diana strolling along a London Street with Prince William's bride, the former Kate Middleton.
The concept is to show what the late Princess Di on her 50th birthday might look like so many years after her tragic death in a late night Paris high-speed vehicle crash.
Of course the magazine, which previously I obviously mistakenly thought dealt more with news than ghoulish speculation, also compares the fashion sense and style of Princess Di to that of the late Princess' elder son's new bride.
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind the ghostly image was merely to drive up the magazine's single-copy sales, with no substance or pertinent news value.
Contact Jim Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.