Above the Fold

Apr 21, 2019 | 0 comments

April 17l 2019

Traditionally, the most important news of the day (or in some cases, of the week) is featured on the front page of the newspaper and, of those, the stories considered most serious or notable go above the fold.  That’s where they are the most eye-catching in usual newspaper displays in which the paper is folded so that only the top half is visible.

There were three stories above the fold in the latest issue of the Observer, and each caused me to wonder a bit at the underlying message.  Not that there was necessarily a hidden message by intent – it was more a matter of my own interpretation.  Bottom line in all three stories:  money!  Though we often omit its importance, it is usually the driving force behind most of our decision-making.

Pacific County Prosecuting Attorney Mark McClain

Headline:  Guilty pleas end Peninsula rape case  According to the story:  McClain said the victim agreed with the plea bargain agreements.  “In any case like this, the most important thing we can do is work with the survivor of this attack, and ensure we listen to her wishes as she is the one who has to live it again when we go to trial and for that reason we value their settlement desire above others when deciding how to resolve these cases.”

Unstated is how much money the County saves by offering plea bargains to  alleged perpetrators rather than taking the case to trial. I doubt that all of plea-bargaining agreements are in the interests of “the survivor.”  It would be interesting to see a few statistics.  How many times does the County offer plea bargains and how much money is saved in the process?  What was the original intent of plea bargaining?  What happened to the good-old fashioned idea of you do the crime, you do the time?

Beach Clean-up July 5. 2015

Headline: LB Oks fireworks after all   In this story, the subhead says it all:  Last-minute 20K boost saves popular tradition. It was the Long Beach Merchants Association to the rescue.  The article did not include reference to the many meetings and discussions by citizens the greater Peninsula area concerning safety issues, cleanup costs etc. Nor was there any reference to the projected bottom line for merchants as a result of the fireworks extravaganza.  It must be considerable to warrant a $20,000 investment.

Chinook Observer Photo

Headline:  Cold War marvel decays on Columbia riverbank This story pulls no punches in the role money plays in this potential environmental disaster. Commercial fisherman Lowell Stambaugh purchased the USS Plainview in 1978 with hopes of turning the former Navy vessel into a fish processing and freezer ship.  When loan interest rates rose, he decided to scrap the aluminum-laden vessel instead. A decade later, the Washington Department of Natural Resources is concerned about pollutants that may leach through the corroding hull into the Columbia River.  Solving the problem is just a matter of… money!

They say it’s the love of money that is the root of all evil.  I’m more inclined to believe it’s  a question of how we choose to use it…

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