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INTERVIEW: Dr. Carol Swain

BNM’s Chrissy Paradis in a one-on-one interview with Dr. Carol Swain.

Chrissy Paradis

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Last week, BNM’s Chrissy Paradis introduced you to Dr. Carol Swain, one of the most trusted and respected conservative voices out there.

This week, Paradis and Dr. Swain spoke in a one-on-one interview in Part 2.

Here is the transcript of that interview:

CP: How did you make the choice to pursue academia when making the choice regarding your career path?

CS: Well, I anticipated that I would become a University professor or choose academia for a career. When I did get into college, and the job market. I was only interested in being prepared to get a well paying job and at that time I had set my ambitions on becoming a store manager at a boutique in the mall. I just assumed that I would manage a store at a mall. Growing up as a child. I can tell you that of the 12 children, my mother would say that I was the most serious. I can remember always having this unresolved tension from a feeling that there was something I was supposed to do. I never felt I fit in with my family. I was very, very shy—so shy that I would literally forget how to speak. I could be wanting, needing, something, you know, asking for a piece of bread or something and I would just be frozen. Do you know that expression ‘cat got your tongue’.. I was like a live version of cat got your tongue because if there were times when I just couldn’t formulate words, but my mother said that, I was kind of skittish—that I used to hide behind in fear of people. I don’t know why but I felt as if I had been dropped out of space. Becoming a University professor and the person I am today, that’s not something that I sat down one day and said, ‘oh, I want to become a professor, I’m going to have this media platform.’ That was the furthest thing from my mind.’

CS: I was a work study student with 10 hours, but the regular employees would not show up and they would have a crisis, and I would work nights, or weekends or whenever they had a crisis. So, the director of the library created a full-time job for me nights and weekends 40 hours a week, and I hit that job while I was getting my Bachelor’s Degree. I went to school during the day and I went to the library at night to work circulation. It was a job where there were not a lot of people using the library, I was in the library, I could bring my children there and was surrounded by all those books. That’s when I first realized that I could write a book. I looked at all those books and I realized that if those people could write a book, then I could write a book, too.

CP: And not just one book, but many successful books. You also went on to be a guest analyst or panelist for network television news, networks on both sides of the political spectrum. How did that come to fruition?

CS: I spent my life being very very shy, having the Christian conversion experience in 1999. And I felt that God removed my fear of public speaking and He impressed on my mind He’d given me a message bigger than me and that I should focus on pleasing Him in the message which enabled me to speak. So then that’s when I started doing media, and here I am today. But it started back then, God just totally lifted the fear off me.

CP: Wow. What an incredible Journey and powerful story to be able to share, and inspire and empower others.

CS: God has empowered me in ways that I never imagined and he’s taken away my fear, not only public speaking, but my fear of death. That’s why I can be bold, is because I believe God has called me to speak truth. And that’s where but the consequences to myself. That’s why I can do what I do and I think ‘how did I end up at Princeton?’ or ‘how did these things happen?’ God put certain people in my path. All kinds of people. But, at the end of the day, I feel like God elevated me to the position, and gave me the platform. And I was not even called into the Kingdom to be saved and to be a follower of Jesus Christ, until after I had been tenured at Princeton, after I had won National prizes and after I had made a splash. Then He put into motion circumstances that led to my conversion. So, the people that want to discount me or call me all sorts of names, it’s a little bit more difficult because I had their Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, and they say ‘Oh, she used to be a great scholar’ but she lost her mind, I say that because they’re the ones that gave me the awards and the prizes in general.

CP: When did that transition from Democrat to becoming more conservative and ultimately Republican begin?

CS: When I became a Christian, I gradually became more conservative, because I was a Democrat when I had my conversion experience. But, as I grew in my faith, I became more and more conservative. As I became more conservative and I started speaking out, that’s when the political left came against me. So, I would not have been tenured, won prizes, or be who I am if I had been a Christian, publically, I believe, back during the time when I was working very hard, you know to make my mark.

CP: So it’s safe to say you’ve always valued hard work?

CS: I’ve always believed, you know, in America. I’ve always been proud to be an American and I always believed that you worked hard enough that you could overcome the circumstances of your birth, and I’ve never viewed myself as handicapped because black or female, or born in poverty; never have viewed those as handicaps. I think, had I seen myself as handicapped, maybe I would not have worked as hard.

CP: You certainly have led an incredible life. As far as your role now, what message is most important to share with other Americans and how do you go about delivering that message?

CS: I believe in what I’m doing in this mission, and I believe that the American people need to awaken. And that they need to realize that our Constitution is all we have and then we stray so far from it, American will not exist. And so, those are the things that really motivate me and propel me forward. I try not to attack people. But, I try not to be ugly.

CP: I know that you’re using your voice, more than ever, with your podcast and recently, how well-received the Prager U piece and interview on Candace Owens’ show were. There have been so many positive reactions and it seemed so genuinely enjoyable for both yourself Candace.

CS: That was the first time I had anything more than an extended conversation with her. The one released on January 11, ‘Let Me Teach You About Racism’ that one got 2.3 million views very quickly, within seven days, but it got stuck at 2.3 million, the last time I looked.

That video, with Candace has million views and if you total up all my Prager work, which includes my individual videos and interviews on Prager U and shows like Candace’s, close to about 70 million people have seen me at some point. I’m speaking about issues that a number of people think are important.

CP: And you are doing the podcast now, are you enjoyIng it?

CS: I do enjoy it. And the interview is a different time of years. I mean, I’m interviewing more young people. I’m going to be interviewing an actress, Samarie Armstrong, who was under fire a few months ago. She got in trouble because she stood up for America. But, I believe I’m making a difference through my podcast, and with my show conversation. And if I was on a network, I would be concerned about getting canceled, because I had offended someone. And so, I’m building my own brand, slowly. I’m in control of it. But of course, like Twitter, particularly, Facebook could take me off, YouTube could take me out. I’m on the other platforms. I’m very much aware that we live in a time where when you speak in truth, you’re going to offend people and there’s a cost to pay. But I’ve never been tempted to get off YouTube, Facebook or Twitter because they might take me off. I don’t want to just speak to people who agree with me. I think it’s more important to reach a broader audience and it’s okay if trolls follow me, and as long as they’re not attacking me, I will respond to them when I can. I just want the dialogue.

CP: Absolutely. The ability to have the conversations that people may disagree with but tactfully without attacking those who may have a differing opinion from yours. I did want to ask about the impact that Lou Dobbs and Don Imus, either deliberately or unknowingly, had on your professional journey with the media. One of the more pivotal moments having to do with Imus. Being that it was such a significant time in your career, I wanted to ask about your experience with his program and eventually, becoming a returning panelist on network news..

CS: I had met Lou Dobbs at Vanderbilt, maybe two or three weeks before the Imus story broke, about his comment about the women’s basketball team. At the time, I had a new book, this was 2007, it was on immigration. So, I was hoping that I would be Lou Dobbs’ show about to speak about my book, but when I got the phone call from his bookers, they said, ‘Mr. Dobbs wanted us to call you about the Don Imus story. And at the time, I had almost no television experience, when they asked me about the story, and what I said, it really went viral. I said that as a black woman, I was more offended by the rappers degrading women all the time, and actually felt like because they were doing it, that Imus felt like he could do the same thing. But, I believe I was the first person to draw parallels to the rappers and how they continually degraded women. After that, Lou Dobbs, himself, called me and he told me that he wanted me to be a regular and that he was going to give me a megaphone for my voice. And I eventually became a paid contributor to CNN Lou Dobbs. That lasted for a couple of years. I was totally inexperienced, but what I did say resonated with the public, and it got picked up and, and at that time, I drew attention to the culture of rappers how they degraded black women.

CS: I was totally inexperienced at the time and I think that, you know, TV will stand by and want you to go fast, fast, fast. But more recently, I’ve been on some shows where you have more time to develop more challenging ideas. But, I don’t just want to spout off, I really want to think about what I’m saying and what it means. But, I also believe, if I have this platform, there are things that need to be spoken. What I say resonates with people, because some of them may have had the same thoughts, but they didn’t know how to express it. And so when I say it, then that’s like, it’s an aha moment for a lot of people and it crystallizes what other people feel and what they’re thinking. A lot of times, it’s not the deep gray and things I’m saying it’s more of, I can look at something that everyone’s been looking at, and I can call it out for what it is, and then they recognize that I’m right and that resonates with them.

CP: I mean, that sounds like it’s your gift?

CS: I do believe I have a prophetic gifting. I’m able to see things before other people. So I recognize that about myself. But I know that God gave me this platform, and then I’m answering the call to speak and not worrying about the consequences, because if I’m worried about the consequences. So, I have to trust the process. I have had a few opportunities. I believe that if there’s something I’m supposed to speak on, the opportunities will come.

CP: Well, that groundedness has to provide a lot of comfort, because that is not exactly the norm in this industry. It is what makes you so stand out so much and sparkle because you do genuinely think about everything. Words have repercussions and consequences and there are messages that you don’t want that attached to your name. I think a lot of people fail to be deliberate with their words or comprehend the magnitude of what they do say.

CS: I think when a person like me has a platform, they have a responsibility to think about the implications of what they want to do and say, and this weighs on me with the media. There are some books I need to write and I want to have a more lasting impact. For me, I’m always thinking ‘okay, how can I balance what I’m doing?’ I’m currently doing my podcast, my internet TV show and I do think about radio. But, when it comes to meeting with people, and the media interviews and all these things like that, I need to carve out time that I can write, I can rest, I can exercise. I feel like my life is not always as balanced as it could be and should be. So, I’m approaching the season where I want to be able to spend more time writing, thinking and maybe relaxing.

CP: Well you’ve definitely been busy and I appreciate you giving me so much of your valuable time. I’m just going to wrap it up with a little bit of word association. So, just share the first word that comes to mind when you hear said person’s name. I can’t imagine anybody better for us to kick it off with than Candace Owens.

CS: Fearless.

CP: Rush Limbaugh?

CS: Trailblazer.

CP: Don Imus?

CS: Bomb-thrower.

CP: Steve Bannon?

CS: Truth-speaker.

CP: Mike Huckabee?

CS: Multitalented.

CP: President Trump?

CS: Martyr.

CP: Lou Dobbs?

CS: Tenacious.

CP: Laura Ingram?

CS: Resistant.

CP: And for yourself, what would you like people to associate Dr. Carol Swain with?

CS: I think mature, speaker, transparency. I tend to be very transparent. When people say, ‘oh, you should never do this’ or ‘you should never let people know what you’re thinking..’ I believe in transparency. I want to be authentic. I want to be real. I want to be transparent. My decision to wear my hair naturally, after many years of straightening my hair and wearing wigs and weaves. I feel like to be authentic, you have to be who you are—that includes how you look.

I’m just trying to reach people using as many platforms as possible. And people can follow me as a supporter on Facebook, and Twitter and now TikTok.

CP: I will be sure to include all of the ways to follow your work at the conclusion of the interview. Are there any other projects you’ve been working on?

CS: Everything is on the website BeThePeopleNews.com. Recently, my show Conversations with Dr. Carol Swain, which is that intimate, huge Internet TV show kind of setting, has been made available as a podcast, so people that want to listen, can through any one of the platforms.

I have so many new things going on. But it’s all about communicating and getting it out. Using my voices and doing the things I believe God has called me to do. I do know that along the way, I may be shut down, but I will just keep going until it happens.

CP: Well, I love your attitude. It’s so infectious. It makes me feel like I can, you know, go out and change the world after my conversation with Dr. Carol Swain.

CS: I mean, that’s what I want to do. I love that this is happening. People have approached me about running for office. I say that I’ve had the conversation but I think about if through my various platforms, which includes my YouTube videos, you can reach young people and excite them and they can go out and change the world. I can have a great impact moment motivating people and equipping them, and maybe then, I can become a member of Congress. But if you think about my life and the impact it’s going to have, I think I can reach more people this way.

CP: Absolutely, kind of like Carol Swain’s Master Class. Thank you so very much for your time.

Follow Carol Swain on Twitter at @CarolMSwain , on Facebook, YouTube with Prager U and Dr. Carol M. Swain : Be The People News, her podcasts Be The People and Conversations with Dr. Carol Swain all of which can be located on the website BeThePeopleNews.com. And make sure to check out her brand new Tik Tok account too!

BNM Writers

The Cost of “Thoughts”

Jack Del Rio made a classic mistake of wondering aloud about topics that people in public positions aren’t allowed to think about on Twitter.

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The first recorded use of the expression, “A penny for your thoughts,” was made by Sir Thomas Moore precisely 500 years ago (1522). But, no doubt, a penny went much further in the 16th century.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s most recent Consumer Price Index (CPI) shows that inflation continues to increase above expectations. The current annual rate of 8.6% is the highest since 1981. The cost of thoughts, or at least saying them aloud, well, saying certain things in a public forum, has gone up far more than the CPI.

Jack Del Rio, defensive coordinator for the Washington Commanders (formerly known as the “Washington Football Team,” and before that, the Washington Redskins), made a classic mistake of wondering aloud about topics that people in public positions aren’t allowed to think about on Twitter. Specifically, his Tweets compared (what he called) “the summer of riots” to January 6th at the U.S. Capitol. As the late, great Alex Trebek would say, Del Rio’s comments were “in the form of a question.”

Faced with media scrutiny about his Tweets, rather than back down, Del Rio referred to January 6th as a “dust-up at the Capitol.”

Can I tell you a trade secret of press flacks? They all have a small can of lighter fluid and a pack of matches within reach behind a piece of glass with the words “break only in the case of emergency” scrawled on it. Certain phrases or words will cause a press person, at great personal danger and sacrifice, to break the glass, douse themselves with the accelerant, and strike a match before flinging their immolating body in front of the podium. Okay, not literally, but I guarantee the Commanders’ public relations director would think this alternative less painful than hearing those words come out of Del Rio’s mouth in front of the press gaggle.

The controversy that followed was swift and certain: as was the reaction from Commanders Head Coach Ron Rivera. He promptly assessed a $100,000 fine on Del Rio for his comments.

Two points here: First, this is not a sports story. Talk Radio observers should be far more concerned with the consequences of this story than NFL or sports fans. Second, it doesn’t matter what you think happened on January 6th. You should still find the fine issued by Rivera chilling, whether you call it an insurrection or a dust-up.

I used to believe that comedian Bill Maher and I were about as far apart on the political spectrum as any two Americans could be. Maher and I, however, hold similar views on freedom of expression.

On his HBO show, “Real Time,” Maher defended Del Rio by saying: “In America, you have the right to be wrong. They fined him; the team fined him $100,000 for this opinion. Fining people for an opinion. I am not down with that.”

Because this is where we meet, I’d like to buy Bill Maher a drink and have a laugh over all the times he’s been wrong, or we can share that drink and a smile for understanding that freedom of expression IS the foundation of democracy – no matter who’s right or wrong. Freedom of expression is an issue where liberals and conservatives must find common ground.

The football team currently known as the Washington Commanders may need another name change. Perhaps the “Comrades” would reflect the team’s philosophy better? Levying such a hefty punishment for stating a political (and non-football) point of view because it is out of step with what is apparently official policy seems more reminiscent of the Politburo’s posture than a free society.

Del Rio’s words are understandably offensive to many. At the very least, they were ham-handed for someone who has been in the public spotlight for so long. But a $100,000 fine? Stifling political opinion is far more dangerous than anything Del Rio said.

Taking the Del Rio incident into context with the “Cancel Culture” of the past few years, Talk Radio hosts should look over their shoulders. Del Rio is also an excellent reminder to think twice before posting a politically unpopular opinion on social media.

Inflation has eaten away at the value of a penny and increased the cost of making politically incorrect statements, including on the air in recent years. What inhibits individuals from expressing their thoughts, beliefs, opinions, and emotions is a threat to Talk Radio and democracy.

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BNM Writers

Joe Pags’ Dream to Work In Media Started Early

Pags knew a career in media was for him ever since he was ten years old, even before his vocal chords did.

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If you’ve ever been required to interview someone for a segment or article, you know pretty quickly when it’s going to be a bumpy ride. 

Joe Pags was answering my initial questions as freely as Ebeneezer Scrooge hands out Krugerrands. Teeth have been pulled from the human head with greater ease. It just wasn’t happening. 

After a few minutes, I think I grew on him.

I discovered we actually had a few things in common; both of us lived in Lake Worth, Florida, we knew a lot of the same places and faces, and we both understood that summer heat in Florida is like purgatory. 

However, Pags and I will both have a fond devotion to The Noid. We will always share the memories of being a manager at Domino’s Pizza. 

“I worked at Domino’s when pizzas were delivered to your door within 30-minutes, or it was free,” Pags said. “After a while they went to 30 minutes or three dollars off the price. Too many people were getting into accidents trying to beat the clock.”

What Pags did not mention was that even when you legitimately made it in less than 30 minutes, you had people questioning your delivery time. I guess that’s human nature.

Soon, pizzas were just for eating, not working; Pags started his radio career in 1989 in Palm Beach County, Florida.

After that, it was a stint as a television anchor from 1994-2005 in Saginaw, Michigan, and then Albany, New York. From there he was called back to radio and landed at the Clear Channel Talk Flagship, WOAI, in 2005. The Joe Pags Show has been a fan favorite since its debut in 2005.

For Pags, the media dream started early on. 

“I grew up listening to talk radio at a very young age and was determined to make my living doing it one day,” Pags says. “I actually have a tape somewhere on which I erased the DJ’s voice and recorded mine over the songs.” 

Pags is probably thrilled that the tape will never be released.

Years later, he found he could pay the bills doing something he loved. “I’m lucky enough to work with great people on both local, and national radio and television,” Pags explained.

As a kid, Pags listened to Neil Rogers on WIOD. It was consistently a top-rated show in the MiamiFt. Lauderdale media market and had been since his Miami debut in 1976.

“I also remember Steve Cain, Rick, and Suds on that station,” Pags said. “It was a lot of talk radio, but it was fun. It was entertainment. Rush Limbaugh was doing the politics stuff back then.”

Pags knew a career in media was for him ever since he was ten years old, even before his vocal chords did.

“When my voice changed at 13, I developed more of a bass tone; I knew I was on my way. I had a New York accent and had to shake that.”

Before he embarked on a career in radio, his music career was going well. Pags played French horn and saxophone; apparently, he was pretty good.

He played gigs at the prestigious Breakers Hotel, among many others. “I used to play at the Backstage lounge adjacent to the old Burt Reynolds Dinner Theater in Jupiter,” Pags said.

No word on whether Reynolds ever caught Pags live or not.

As a kid, he played baseball. Pags said he was pretty good. What took center stage for Pags was music. It was the French horn and saxophone that captured his heart. 

“I played professionally on the Empress Dinner Cruise on the Intracoastal Waterway,” Pags said. “I also did gigs at The Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach. We made some good money.” 

Before Domino’s and radio and music, it all started with a strong desire to succeed. That often comes from your family’s belief in you. Sometimes it’s not there.

“I knew that if I worked hard enough, if I showed the love for the work I was doing, then I’d succeed,” Pags said.

His family lived in Lake Worth, Florida, from 1973-74, and Pags returned every so often. “I got back to Florida recently when I went to Mara Lago and watched 2,000 Mules.

San Antonio has been home for the past 17 years for Pags and his family. “I’ve been here at WOAI. I’ve got my own studio in a great area.” His daughter Sam is his executive producer. I asked Pags if there was any nepotism when it came to hiring Sam.

“Darn right, there is nepotism,” he said. “This is Joe Pags media. I get to hire whoever I want,” he quipped. “Sam has always had a love of broadcasting. When I became syndicated in this business, I told her I trusted her more than anyone else I knew and asked her to produce my show.”

The other day I spoke with Will Cain for a piece. He told me if I visited Austin, I should also see Texas. So I asked Pags what Cain was trying to say. “He means Austin is a city like Portland; only it’s in Texas. There’s a lot of homelessness in Austin. A lot of crime. The University of Texas in Austin goes far to the Left.”

Where does Pags’ tough demeanor come from? 

“My father was 100 percent Italian. We had some good pasta dishes around our house with my grandparents around,” Pags explained. “We didn’t have a good bakery in Lake Worth, so I remember my mother and aunts bringing great bread recipes over from the homeland.”

Pags has always been interested in what takes place on the periphery, not just the core of matters. He’s done a lot of things throughout his life. That experience has helped shape his radio show. Pags said his show tends to be white-collar, but he grew up blue-collar all the way. 

“I liked the Superman movies. I enjoyed Rocky,” Pags explained. “As a car-buff, I loved the Burt Reynolds films with Smokey and the Bandit. Stuff like that.”

Lake Worth, like a lot of other Floridia areas, has been known to be a little rough and tumble. Just watch Cops for a week if you don’t believe me.

Pags said other than a little shoving match at the bus stop, he didn’t encounter much rough stuff. “I was a musician, I wasn’t in that mix. Perhaps a scuffle in little league.”

When he was a teenager, he thought music would be it. “I’d played with some big-hitters at the time, like The Coasters,” Pags said. 

“Music career opportunities really didn’t come along as I’d hoped. In some ways, people in the industry were full of it. I still did some freelance work on the saxophone.”

Pags said he was always willing to work for what he got. “I poured coffee and ran errands for $4 an hour,” Pags said. “I had my car repossessed, and got evicted from my apartment. I still kept at it. I never was deterred from what I wanted. I knew what I wanted, but never really expected things to happen the way they did.”

Pags said if some youngster asked how to be what Pags is today, his answer was succinct. “Pour coffee, run errands, whatever you have to do.” 

I asked Pags what he does in his downtime? Let’s just say he’s not running to tee-off at 7:00 am with the guys at the club on his day off.

“I’m a domestic sports car guy,” he says with pride. “I’ve got three Corvettes, a Camaro Super Sport. My Camaro was a 1967, red with white stripes. I sold that car so we could afford to adopt our daughter. I got the better end of that deal.”

He doesn’t do any weekend racing on local tracks like other aging Indy wannabes. “I like to look at those cars in the garage,” Pags said. “My dad was a big car guy. My dad is probably why I’ve succeeded in my life and career. Not for the reasons you’d think.”

Pags’ relationship with his father had the typical ups and downs. Same as it is for most men.

“My father didn’t think I’d amount to anything and had no problem relating that to me,” Pags said. “Conversely, my Mom was always extremely supportive of my interests and goals. I knew if you were good at what you did, people would take notice.”

Pags said his father excelled at being a naysayer. A glass is a half-empty kind of guy.

“He was so negative. He thought I’d never succeed at anything,” Pags explained. “I was out of the house at 17, and I was determined to become something. To prove him wrong.”

Before his father passed away, Pags believes his father became aware of a lot of things. 

“A light went on in his head, and he was just so surprised I could make a living doing what I did,” Pags explains. “When I became a big enough success, he recognized my drive and determination. I’m still not sure if he was hard on me because he thought it would help me in the end. Whatever his reasoning was, it gave me the drive and determination to see things through.”

Pags’ father became so proud of his son that he’d tell friends Joe was going to be on Fox News and how they should tune in.

“It was my mother, with her ultimate support, that really made me want to succeed. For her,” Pags explained.

“I learned that if someone disparages you or makes you feel small, you have choices. You can go into a shell and take it. Believe what people say. Or you can go out and knock down some doors. If you want me to do something, tell me I can’t do it. Soon I will be syndicated on 200 stations. All that came from believing in myself. I’ll prove it to iHeart. To other broadcasters.”

Pags said at some point; you’ve got to find some kind of edge. 

“I knew I wasn’t going to agree with things my father believed and said, just to shut him up. I had to stand up for my own beliefs.”

I can relate to a guy like Pags. He’s got a tough exterior, not easy to crack. But like me, I know in the center is a soft, creamy nougat. 

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BNM Writers

Where Is the Good Stuff?

By the “good stuff, I’m not even referring necessarily to the happy or “feel good” tales of human kindness, child wonderment, or cute puppies.

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Good Content

A couple of stories about bears actually brought me to this declamation of sorts.

What you’ll see (or read, actually) is nothing new and certainly not any type of original complaint or assessment, but as I spend my days digging, crafting, and stacking stories on double homicides, house fires, high gas prices, and low voter turnout, it’s becoming that much more difficult to balance out a newscast with the good stuff.

By the “good stuff, I’m not even referring necessarily to the happy or “feel good” tales of human kindness, child wonderment, or cute puppies. I’m really just talking about the low end of the meter things; an innocuous bill passing, a road-widening project, or maybe even an upgrade in consumer technology somewhere.

We all realize if a show rattles off an unending laundry list of death, destruction, corruption, and high pollen counts, the only winners are therapists, pharmacies, and liquor stores. But it’s no longer as easy as it once was; I mean, I may be overstating for dramatic effect, but at the end of the day, it really does seem like not only are there fewer accounts to raise the serotonin levels, but those we do find cannot sufficiently dilute those newscasts from their continual tales of woe.

To expand my point, I return to the bears. 

Over the years, I have come to count on bears, and for a good reason. Most bear content consists of the giant creatures, often with their youngsters in tow, doing things we find cute, intriguing, thought-provoking, and/or hilarious. 

If you have never seen a giant black bear rumbling around inside an SUV they’ve just illegally entered or busting into someone’s kitchen and raiding the pantry or the garbage shed, can you even say you have truly lived?

Well, the short answer is you probably can, but I’m the one on the keyboard at the moment, so roll with it for now.

True, those stories often come at the expense of some weary camper, homeowner, or utility worker, but for the audience, it’s generally rejuvenating, even medicinal. A simple Google or social media search will lead you to an overflow of the best of bears in news content. Therefore, as you will see…they trend.

But here’s what has happened of late to turn those stories in a downward direction. Here, in this part of New England, our news stories about bears recently have revolved around them being killed. They destroy some crops or a garden and move on towards somebody’s house, and they get shot. They break into a shed and don’t run off; they get shot. They are euthanized; their cubs get tranquilized for relocation and then don’t wake up. It’s certainly a shift.

Suddenly, we are back to where we started with our content. What was once a sure thing is now added to the dark category of story selection. Still, it is often viable content because it’s a pro and con topic; it has angles and follow-up potential.

Now know this; I am not proposing a referendum involving bears, but rather just offering a long-winded metaphor of sorts.

We do not know when the time-tested default stories are going to turn on us. I do think it will usually happen when our backs are turned. That probably means the digging we do has gone even more profound than before. We cannot always count for all those elements in a story to be out in the open.

Like most of us, I read or at least do a hard scan of a lot of reports, releases, summaries, and everyone else’s take on what’s happening. Fortunately, I can sometimes find fundamental components dropped down further than they ought to be or not allotted enough attention due to time or space constraints.

In police work, these obscure details would often lead to another suspect, another criminal charge, or even an exoneration or a new investigation. 

I find little difference in this present position:

A hi-rise building fire is brought under control when the alarm’s sprinkler system douses much of the flames just as fire crews arrive. Now, that’s great, but there’s a bit more upon looking a little deeper.

The sprinklers knocked out the elevators, and firefighters carried a disabled burn victim down 14 flights of stairs. 

Part of their job?

Sure, but worth peeling the layers off that onion.

Drivers going the wrong way is another big thing around here. On the interstates, the highways, the local roadways, it’s happening a lot and often, as you might guess, with tragic results. So a driver is taken into custody after going the opposite way on not one but two different thoroughfares within like fifteen minutes.

Good story, good arrest, good write-up. 

How did they catch the wrong-way driver? 

The trooper turned directly into the driver’s path and took the crash impact to stop him.

Where did we that aspect of the incident?

Paragraph four or three-quarters through the stand-up.

Now, of course, all coverage and treatment of stories is subjective, and the intent here is merely for me to find a way to say I’m not seeing enough or finding enough “good stuff” to balance out my newscast, so I am going to loot and gut everything I can when necessary.

And that’s just on the local side. Do not get me started on the national beat.

I hope it’s not that people are starting to slip on their quota of good deeds, but it has forced me to think and work just a little harder. 

It’s disappointing when I cannot even count on the bears anymore.

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