The email was largely supportive of my column. Frankly, I was surprised by that. I expected a fair amount of push back. My email is likely not predictive of overall sentiment in the public but at the same time, I take some lessons from it. In this case, I think people were generally embarrassed by the way this came down.
I still don’t know if there was a main antagonist in this drama that brought pressure on the Macy’s people. And it’s probably not important anyway.
Here’s my favorite email so far on this issue:
Great job on the Joan Jett article. We ranchers and hunters best promote our lifestyle by doing our jobs well, that is, raising meat and helping GF&P manage wildlife populations, and quietly respecting those with other lifestyles. Promote our positives, don’t try to silence or put down others.
That’s it for now. Get in the chat or tune in at 3. I still may take the show in a different direction, depending on what the day brings. Lots going on.
I’m formulating a column on the subject for tomorrow’s paper. I already wrote a Pledge column that ran in the Sunday paper. You can read that here.
But there’s more to say. I wonder what it says about the public discourse when a school board is threatened to the point where it makes a decision that is quite clearly counter to what they think is right. Not moral or patriotic but what’s best for the students in the school.
I found the district’s telephone survey disappointing. I don’t doubt it was a fairly accurate measure of parent’s sentiments about the pledge in general. But do we really think the 3,000 people who voted took the totality of the situation into account, or was it a simple plebiscite on the Pledge.
I suspect the latter, but what it did was give the members of the board an out. It got them out of the Fox News glare.
Who among us thought a phone survey would render any other outcome?
As I said, I understand the individual board members’ situation.
But what does it say about how we conduct our public affairs when the elected board is shouted down by people who don’t live here, many of whom would have trouble finding Sioux Falls on a map.
And the fact is, that most of the parents surveyed by telephone don’t know who is on the board.
I say that because the turnout for Sioux Falls school board elections is among the lowest in the free world.
My guest today is Megan Myers, a former Argus Leader reporter who is now the government relations specialist for the American Cancer Society - Cancer Action Network . Pretty sure she’s not a fan of e-cigs. Current Argus Leader reporter John Hult was planning on joining us as well, but some scheduling issues have thwarted that effort. So if you’re an e-cig user and want to come on the show, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are really two questions. Should be use e-cigs if we really don’t know what the vapor does to you? And should you be able to use them around me, in restaurants and bars and such? Technically, right now you can power up right next to me without violation as I understand it.
We the people of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, —That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.—Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.
First, we’ll talk about the city’s bike rack program. You can read about that here.
But there’s news on the Richard Benda death. The AG released a report today saying the shooting has been ruled a suicide.
Also, the Sioux Falls School District is surveying parents on the pledge issue. As you recall, a firestorm has erupted, based on some bad reporting by local television stations that was picked up nationally, over whether high school students should be required to say the Pledge of Allegiance. Seems like the district is looking for a little cover from parents here, perhaps understandably.
But what does that mean?
Ellis and I will talk about the news in the second half of the show.
Now, let’s get this on the table. We make mistakes at the Argus Leader. We take accuracy seriously and I’m not about to make excuses for when we don’t live up to that expectation. I’m sure everybody can point out our failings. But I think the difference is that we own up to them, we correct them, we try to get it right.
That’s something that TV just doesn’t do. I’m not sure why. I don’t understand it. I can’t explain it.
But the series of events that led to FOX news bringing the full brunt of a particularly uninformed segment of its viewership down upon the members of the school board — based on a misunderstanding of the actual facts, based on reporting done by a local station, which didn’t have a person present at the proceedings upon which the report was based on — is an apt illustration of the chaos that passes for public discourse in our era.
It’s a cautionary tale, to be sure, for those of us who work in media in all forms. But it should be particularly sobering for my friends in the broadcast arts. The things we do matter, they affect people’s lives in ways we don’t always understand on our end.
One of the most difficult things we do is admit we are wrong, to leave the hubris of local celebrity and notoriety at the door and throw ourselves squarely on the public sword.
But it makes us better. Not just as journalists, but as people.
The fact is, that I don’t know all the facts that led to the stories being published by the local stations. I’m led to believe by people involved that all the stations got it wrong as well but corrected it when informed of the error.
But in this case I know the outcome, which is threatening phone calls to school board members who, for any perceived shortcoming from a policy standpoint, are unpaid volunteers trying to make their world a better place.
They don’t deserve this.
A public apology might help.
What do you think? Don’t worry, you won’t offend me.
Ellis and I will be live at 3 talking about politics on 100 Eyes today. So maybe it’s time to bring this show back to its roots with some good old-fashioned city politics.
I’ve already launched the live chat for the day so you can get in and start asking questions or making comments. Do that here.
Jim Entenman said in today’s Argus Leader that he’s not running for re-election to the City Council and it’s unclear yet whether Rex Rolfing or Sue Aguilar will run for their seats. Michelle Erpenbach is the only one of the four councilors up who says she’s definitely in.
What does that say about the council and the state of things at Town Hall?
We can talk about that and other issues in politics.
I also ran across this very interesting video that very simply breaks down the wealth distribution in our country. Whatever your philosophical foundation I think you’ll find it informative and a little troubling.
After a much deserved vacation and three wonderful days with the best cyclocross racers in the country I’m back in the hosting chair at 100 Eyes.
We’re doing a split show today.
First up is Tyler Schulte from the Legends For Kids organization. You’ll recall that Legends brings in a bunch of big name sports stars every year to put on clinics for kids. Tyler is coming on to talk about what the group, a joint project between Hy-Vee and Sanford, does with the money it raises.
Then at about 3:15 we’ll switch over to talk about education, specifically the debate over Common Core Standards.
My guests will be Pam Oberembt and Tanja Pederson
Pam is a High School Language Arts Instructional Couch for the Sioux Falls School District and President of the Sioux Falls Education Association. Tanja is the principal at Harrisburg’s Freedom Elementary.
Two two educators are supporters of the plan and will talk about how the standards will set clear expectations for students.
Common Core is controversial in that some folks see it as improper imposition of federal authority on local education systems. Pam and Tanja will talk about how Common Core was developed as a collaboration between teachers, governors and education leaders from across the country, rather than a government initiative.
Of course, as always we can talk about what you want to talk about.
What I found interesting in today’s story was the degree to which administration of the EB-5 program was basically out on it’s own. It had strayed so far from the mission of Northern State University that the president of the school wanted to move it out from under its umbrella. And then when Costello took over he discovered the SDRC wasn’t doing the basic reporting under the contract.
The fact that Costello can’t comment on the ultimate termination of the contract between the state and the SDRC is telling in itself, though we don’t know specifically what it means.
We’ll see where it goes but let’s talk about where we are so far.
Photo gallery of the inside of The District on Wednesday. They’ve got a little work to do to get open this weekend but it didn’t seem like they were panicking or anything. Overall I was impressed. It has a real venue feel to it. The main event room is intimate. If you get 1,000 people in there for a good show it will be a lot of fun.