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DISPENSING RUMORS - January 12, 2006

My pastor said that he would like to see the Good News spread as fast as rumors.

I heard a speaker tell of a doctor in his town, who it was told, was suffering from cancer. His patients had their records changed to another doctor. The truth was that during a recent check up, the X-ray machine had a malfunction, and he had to return for a new series of tests. A co-worker had assumed the worst and spread the word . . .

Another example from the same speaker. A young woman who was a bank employee, was seen coming out of a bar late one night. Someone saw her and reported it to her employer. She almost lost her job, until the truth came out. She was on her way home from a shower for a close friend and had car trouble. She had stopped in the bar to call her father for help . . .

The “Press” is routinely accused of telling situations before the truth is known. This happens about world situations, in Iraq, and, yes, even in a coal mine explosion. News is about people, whether it is one person or 12 coal miners.

The Calhoun Chronicle is a publication that cares about people. We do not believe in infringing on a person’s right to privacy in times of tragedy. We will not stand back and take photos of an elderly woman climbing the hill to a church candlelight vigil. We will put away the camera, take her arm and help her up the hill. But, if something happens that will be a matter of public record, we will not keep it from the readers.

Edmond de Cancourt, a French writer who died in 1896, once wrote, “People don’t like the true and simple. They like fairy tales and humbug.” One hundred and ten years later, those words still apply.

Two hundred and fifty years ago, the poet, Alexander Pope, wrote about rumors:

“The flying rumor gathered as it rolled

  And all who told it added something new,

  And all who heard it added enlargements too;

  In every ear it spread,

  On every tongue it grew.”

When we hear news, good or bad, let us not jump to conclusions, but seek the source. This will keep us from spreading rumors, and lead us to truth.

This Week's Editorials:

By Helen Morris:

Wood Festival

By Lisa Minney:

A Steady Rain

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