The blog that dares not speak its name, although this doesn’t prevent the professional from asking the amateur for help.

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Deaf to Bill, 2019.

A polemic (/pəˈlɛmɪk/) is contentious rhetoric that is intended to support a specific position by aggressive claims and undermining of the opposing position. Polemics are mostly seen in arguments about controversial topics. The practice of such argumentation is called polemics. A person who often writes polemics, or who speaks polemically, is called a polemicist.

With voting underway, and election “day” just around the corner, you’ll have noticed that the News and Tribune has had almost nothing to say about the candidates and issues.

This has been true about New Albany, the newspaper’s most consistently neglected coverage area, as well as for races in Clark County, where the newspaper now allocates most of its sadly flagging energies.

Let’s delve into double standards, but first, as a citizen polemicist, I don’t mind being held to a higher bar when it comes to submissions. Still, the hypocrisy gets to me at times.

My letters to the editor, which are not allowed to bear a signature that includes “NA Confidential” as identifier, always are subject to scrupulous editing for proof and evidence — even as Bill’s and Susan’s Excellent Adventure runs two weekly Christianity columns and permits numerous Christian advocacy letters to the editor, one imagines without the same scrupulous fact checking, because if such were to be applied to the absence of facts … well, you know.

It’s faith, isn’t it?

At times even an “online comment” merits a follow-up, hence an amusing exchange from March. I’d mentioned Jeff Gahan’s pay-to-play corruption in this comment about Chris Morris’ abortion column.

Note the irony of the first example in this definition of corruption.

1. dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery.

“the journalist who wants to expose corruption in high places”

synonyms: dishonesty, dishonest dealings, unscrupulousness, deceit, deception, duplicity, double-dealing, fraud, fraudulence, misconduct, lawbreaking, crime, criminality, delinquency, wrongdoing, villainy

2. the process by which something, typically a word or expression, is changed from its original use or meaning to one that is regarded as erroneous or debased.

synonyms: alteration, falsification, doctoring, manipulation, manipulating, fudging, adulteration, debasement, degradation, abuse, subversion, misrepresentation, misapplication; rarevitiation

“these figures have been subject to corruption”

Corruption is a many-splendoured concept, gloriously mutable for the purpose of polemics. Less so any newspaper blithely content to be a feel-good lifestyle publication to the exclusion of its duty to afflict the comfortable while comforting the afflicted.

Here is our cyber trail.



From: Susan Duncan
To: Roger Baylor
Cc: Bill Hanson – NT

Mar 22 at 3:40 PM

Roger,

Your online comment references “corruption,” indicating criminal wrongdoing. Where is your proof?

Susan



From: Roger A. Baylor
To: Susan Duncan
Cc: Bill Hanson – NT

Mar 22 at 5:48 PM

Don’t worry, guys. I protected your star mayoral $ advertiser by not mentioning his name. I could be talking about any mayor, couldn’t I? Now can you give us a reporter, as opposed to a crusading anti-abortionist steno?

R


From: Susan Duncan
To: Roger A. Baylor
Cc: Bill Hanson – NT

Mar 22 at 6:45 PM

You could be referencing any mayor; however, you posted the comment on a column by our assistant editor based in New Albany.

I’m not worried about advertising money from anyone, including mayors — nor do we make coverage decisions based on who does or doesn’t advertise in the newspaper.

If you have any evidence of criminal wrongdoing by any mayor in Southern Indiana, we would be interested in looking at it.

Susan Duncan



From: Roger Baylor
To: Susan Duncan
Cc: Bill Hanson – NT

Mar 22 at 8:54 PM

Wearily … and if I have such evidence, why on earth would I share it with the News and Tribune? How could I ever trust you to do anything with it?

In spite of my antipathy amid indefensible blathering like Morris’ abortion piece today, for almost 15 years I’ve been linking my readers to your newspaper, thereby exposing them to the contagion of Gahan’s self-congratulatory daily newspaper ads, and yet not once has anyone at the newspaper said something along the lines of “thanks for the traffic – here’s a complimentary on-line subscription.”

You said it yourself a while back: you’re just not giving free blurbs to a mere blogger. That’s hunky dory, but know that it’s fairly obvious to the blogger and HIS readers when your reporters get their ideas from perusing my material. I’m down with it, too; at least (the reporters) will engage in conversation and be human, and as a former business owner, I’ve generally refrained from critiquing the shop floor, because the buck stops with management.

As it does in this instance. To reiterate, if I had solid evidence of criminal wrongdoing, why would a degraded alcoholic blogger like me give it to the News and Tribune when it’s the News and Tribune’s job to do things like that — you know, reporting — in the first place?

Sincerely,

R

Here’s the thing. I understand perfectly well that as a blogger, there are natural limitations.

I’m solo, pro bono and periodically loco. Conversely the newspaper’s readership may have declined precipitously, but it’s still more broadly distributed across various segments of the local populace than NA Confidential’s — though I surely have a loyal audience here, too. Just think about these two conditions, working together.

I do, often. They don’t, ever. That’s too bad, isn’t it?

At any rate, we might spend the remainder of the day arguing about the meaning of journalism, and whether blogger can be journalists, and what a newspaper like the News and Tribune can be expected to accomplish in this day and age. I suspect the day would be wasted, and I’d be drinking by 5:30 p.m.

The point remains: If they won’t allow me to identify myself as the NA Confidential blogger in a letter to the editor of the News and Tribune, it’s some massive cheek to ask me to share “evidence of criminal wrongdoing” when I’ve put lots more time into exploring the preconditions of this topic than their entity has — and they’re far better placed to find it than me, given our respective economies of scale and potential magnitude of our bully pulpits.

I contend, and I will continue to contend, that in a time when local governments hire PR fluff firms to purchase advertising in newspapers, while continuing to pay classified rates for mandated notices and announcements, any insistence by a newspaper editor to the effect of revenue streams having no bearing on editorial decisions is disingenuous at best.

Although perhaps it’s not indicative of corruption, only deferring to financial reality. Who knows? After all, I’m merely a blogging polemicist — and the supposed local newspaper of record is allowing another election cycle to pass in a position of supine disengagement.

Here’s a thought. Maybe if they find evidence of criminal wrongdoing, it will be shared with NA Confidential, the blog that dare not speak its name in the News and Tribune?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to look for “proof” in today’s multiple religion columns. Not holding my breath, though.

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