Editor, Commonwealth:

In this day and age where communication can occur instantly from one part of the globe to another, problems aren’t solved in the same fashion. There is a method or process to resolving problems. We must identify the flaws and ask ourselves, Why did the flaws occur? The problem only gets resolved if we find the root cause. If not, the flaws in the system will only resurface again and again.

Allow me to set the record straight. It has been said throughout history, “He who tells the story or controls the narrative controls history or has the power.” While reading the newspaper in previous weeks, I have found that a certain reporter chooses to skew the vision of the reader by using terms such as “avoid,” “admit” and “dodge,” which sets a negative tone or casts a negative shadow on the individuals being referred to or quoted. I have spoken with the editor about this damning issue. Can we get articles without the reporter’s opinion? The Commonwealth has a section for that. It’s called “Opinions.”

OK, case in point. Printed in the Tuesday, March 26 issue (“Board to tackle unpaid garbage bills”), it reads:

“The discussion prompted District 2 Supervisor Reginald Moore to admit: ‘Two garbage bills come to my house, one for me and one for the lady who had previously lived there.’

“‘I don’t believe I would have told that,’ said District 1 Supervisor Sam Abraham.”

Come on now. Let’s see. Admit means “to confess.” I didn’t “confess” to anything What is there to confess to? What is there to hide about a flaw in the system? I candidly “pointed out” a major flaw in the system. If we don’t point out and identify the flaws, how are we ever going to fix them? We have to be open and honest to fix this problem, and we are going to fix this problem. Step one is to fix what is flawed, and then we can ramp up efforts on collection of fees.

The power of words: Words can inspire and words can destroy. Choose yours well.

Reginald L. Moore
Leflore County Supervisor
District 2

(2) comments


I agree that you were doing your duty as a supervisor in pointing out that two garbage bills come to your house. It is bizarre that this problem with delinquent garbage bill payments has gone on so long without any action by the board. I hope you will all work together to resolve this.


As a former journalism major I completely agree that more reporters these days are injecting their opinions into — what are supposed to be — hard news stories. I found another example in the article Supervisor Moore referenced. It refers to some garbage bills as "...only $8.50 per month...". The word "only" quantifies the amount; however, value is often relative. Even if 99% of readers agree that $8.50 is negligible, the reporter should not make that assessment. I'm not here to pick on The Commonwealth. The point is I've been seeing this a lot in the last year or so when reading online news. Perhaps it's because younger folks, who are filling most entry- and intermediate-level jobs, are passionate (maybe even gung-ho), and they forget that as journalists they're supposed to be neutral. It's difficult for all hard news to be 100% bias free; we are humans. But one helpful strategy is careful word choice. Even the word "claim" should be avoided unless it's in a quote.

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