Here’s Something: Boos and Bravos

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Welcome to another edition of Boos and Bravos, the quick-hit, catch-all column of Here’s Something.

BRAVO to the sleeper of a campaign for Maine’s governor. Yes, there was the 12-year-old allegation dredged up last week of Shawn Moody settling a case of sexual harassment, but other than that it’s been pretty dead. Thankfully so. The Kavanaugh hearings overwhelmed our attention spans, I guess. There are still a few weeks to go, so maybe something scandalous or titillating will happen. Democrats can only hope.

Moody, by the way, manned up and sufficiently explained the 2006 case. Trials and tribulations will come as governor and it’s nice to know Moody – who hopefully will be Maine’s next governor – has the ability to handle curveballs sent his way.

Speaking of curveballs, BOO to the Portland Press Herald’s Oct. 8 headline regarding the Red Sox vs. Yankees first-round playoff battle. “Series feels like it’s slipping away,” the big, bold Sports page headline read. Of course, the Red Sox came back and won, making fools of the presumptuous Press Herald sports department.

This kind of headline is an example of why some think the media has lost its way. For starters, who feels like it’s slipping away? The reporter? The editor? The publisher? Or have they interviewed a sufficient number of fans in the story to determine Sox Nation feels the series was slipping away? Who knows.

Secondly, and more importantly, the media doesn’t merely report on what’s happened anymore. That’s so common, so pedestrian, to these modern fortune tellers. Instead, they try to predict what will happen and provide a surrounding narrative to put it all in perspective.

Election campaign reporting is rife with this future-predicting approach. Rather than just wait until Election Day to figure out who wins, we now get up to a year of reporting on polling results. The stories are mostly about the results of polls and what’s causing the candidates’ rising or sinking popularity. Platform issues are rarely discussed in detail anymore.

Not only does this approach not inform the electorate or vet the candidates, it comes back to kick the reporters, pollsters and candidates in the butt when it turns out the polls were wrong. When the candidate expected to win doesn’t, we end up with frustrated supporters not being able to live with the actual election results. One need look no further than Trump’s victory over expected winner Hillary Clinton in 2016.

I can see the desire of putting events in context, but I don’t think that’s the purpose of daily news. That’s the role of historians, looking back with 20/20 vision. When journalists try to put things in context as they’re happening, their story-telling usually turns into tall-tale telling. That’s where journalists can get in trouble and set themselves up for being proven wrong.

BRAVO to Melania Trump who had a major interview with ABC News recently. What a woman.

Mrs. Trump reminds me of Jackie Kennedy. She’s mild-mannered, smart, well-spoken and, of course, graceful and beautiful. These are all attributes we associate with the Queen of Camelot.

Melania, however, gets hammered by many who think she’s dumb. But I disagree. She knows when to talk and when not to. She’s not boisterous and prideful. (I guess opposites attract because, as much as I admire Mr. Trump’s policies and in-your-face approach, he and Melania are very dissimilar in personality.) She’s also brave, her skin thickening with every accusation hurled Mr. Trump’s way.

Mrs. Trump recently caught some media flak for wearing a jacket that read: “I really don’t care, do u?” Mrs. Trump told ABC she wore the jacket “for the people and for the left-wing media who are criticizing me. I want to show them that I don’t care. You could criticize whatever you want to say, but it will not stop me to do what I feel is right.”

Amen to that. Who says she’s just a pretty face? Just the feminist legions who can’t stand her, that’s who.

The first lady needs to find her voice, though. It’s been almost two years and while she’s still got six more to find her calling, time’s marching on. (Yes, I said “six.” Never-Trumpers can read that and weep.) She’s begun a “Be Best” campaign focused on helping to promote healthy living and overcoming negatives such as opiate addiction and social media bullying, but it doesn’t seem to be catching on.

Maybe, since she’s an immigrant herself and mass migrations have disrupted many countries, she could work on immigration and refugee issues. (By the way, who says Trump doesn’t like immigrants? He married one.) I bet she could speak well to these issues.

John Balentine, a former managing editor for Sun Media Group, lives in Windham.

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