Opinion

Bob Mitchell: Talking heads should use more caution

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Today’s newscasters, most of whom are good readers that are simply reading off a prompter, need to use more caution in the content of their broadcast.

During the time I was in the Korean War, it was a known fact if a correspondent’s credentials were approved, he or she would be subject to censoring their own copy by sets of rules outlined by the command they were working under. And, for the most part they did. Occasionally there would be one trying to violate the rules, but very infrequently. They would be out of the region in hours if caught.

We even had one attempting to file in French, not realizing we had people aboard the flagship that spoke French.

Why this comment?

During the recent Afghanistan evacuation processes, one broadcaster remarked, after a bomb explosion that “if they really want to kill people why don’t they get aboard a heavily loaded airplane and explode a device when the aircraft is in the air?”

And, even as recently as the 20th anniversary of 9-11 comments have been broadcast concerning other ways the nation could be damaged by terrorist action.

What are these people doing? Is there anyone supervising the news today, or do they think their intelligence is at a higher level to put them above any reaction by the public. And, do they think the terrorists aren’t listening?

A side story

During heavy fighting in the landings at Inchon, Korea, there was a correspondent, Margaret Higgins. She was not permitted on the flagship at night where no female personnel were stationed. Nightly, she had to be transported to a nearby hospital ship, thus missing nighttime operation news breaks.

She raised such a fuss that we fixed the library for her quarters and placed Marine guards at either end of the passageway. Maggie, as she was tagged, continued to raise cane and the captain sent her back to the hospital ship. As she departed down the gangway, she turned and “nominated Captain Carter A. Printup for SOB of the year.”

Every white hat (enlisted man) observing along the rails disappeared as if by magic. Maggie used this statement in one of her books.

Hard, fast rule

One of our hard, fast rules concerned ships off which Underwater Demolition Teams operated. Our intelligence people would never permit our mentioning in press releases that those types of ships were carrying UDT personnel.

Their theory was that if a high-speed transport was seen in the area, UDT was seeking some kind of information about waters in that area.

And, in the case of Inchon, their assignment was to measure sandbars and incidents of 30-foot tides in the harbor.

In terrible times

We are in some of the most terrible times of our history. Modernization has placed us in times when overseas and domestic operations and opinions don’t always point toward the best way of life. Certainly, there is no absolute assurance people are going to get along and live together as they have in the past.

Along with the world situation and a Pandemic to overcome, you would think civilized people would forget political differences and unit in unison for the betterment of mankind.

Former President George W. Bush covered this problem masterfully during a recent appearance involving the 9-11 anniversary. His words, virtually opposite his own political party, were those that should be on every tongue these days.

October thoughts

Where, oh where, has the time gone could be the saying as we enter October. Regardless of where time has gone, we are now there! As might be expected there is wintry weather in store for certain parts of the nation, mostly concentrated on the east cost. Mississippi valley might get a share of undesirable weather.

The Almanac even mentions the possibility of a hurricane for the southeast along about the middle of the month.

As a new feature, it is suggested that hunting for meat should be accomplished between the 25th and 27th, naturally if that meets with hunting regulations for your area.

Now for the fisherpersons, their best days will be the 15th through 17th and 35th through 27th. There was no explanation why so late in the month and for such short periods. Perhaps temperatures will have a considerable impact on these dates. Good fishing comes to anglers this month on the 13th and 14th and then again on the 20th through the 22nd.

As suggested by the Almanac, most any day in October is a good day to spray for poison ivy. There is plenty of that around in the Ozarks so that might be a good suggestion.

Dress warm and be careful out there!

Bob Mitchell is the former editor and publisher of the Cassville Democrat. He is a 2017 inductee to both the Missouri Press Association Hall of Fame and Missouri Southern State University’s Regional Media Hall of Fame.