WHY DO I EVEN TRY?
|| By WILL FOLKS || I’m not big on credit. Or affirmation. Or even respect. It’s been a long time since I worried about what other people said about me.
I have a very simple job: Find the truth and tell the truth (as best as I know and am able). And there’s a lot of truth to be told, which leaves little time for navel-gazing or introspection.
But today I’m indulging the self-pity fetish. Maybe it’s all the recent coverage of my former boss Mark Sanford (the grandfather of navel-gazing) that’s triggered it, but for whatever reason I’m feeling a bit forlorn. And need to vent.
It all started with a barrage of tweets from a Lowcountry alternative news outlet – a paper I actually read and enjoy (in contrast to the local mainstream rag).
Apparently the paper was upset over FITS opposition to various proposed gas tax hikes in South Carolina, and so one of its editors vented his spleen on Twitter – accusing our website of being a “pay-to-say” mouthpiece.
“I’d rather trust someone who offers their honest opinion with error than someone who is paid to voice theirs,” he wrote. “You’re a free agent just spouting his opinion.”
Dude was just getting warmed up, too.
“Will, I do admire a lot of what you have done. One time I even called you the best journalist in the state,” he continued. “But dammit, despite your connections and chutzpah, you just can’t get beyond the rumor mongering. The point is, you’re not a lazy motherfucker. You’re industrious (and) that’s uncommon for reporters at the State House. You have the ability to break some truly big stories in a way that are irrefutable, but your approach harms that.”
You know … that’s not altogether inaccurate. FITS approach consists of protecting our sources – religiously – and expressing our views on the subject matter we write about. That might cost the website credibility in some circles, but then again we’re almost always ahead of the curve (recent examples here and here).
And while I insist on citation links and always credit other reporters when they break stories, that respect has been a one-way street.
Why? Because my website’s audience has grown – making FITS less insider gossip blog and more a legitimate media outlet. Which means competition for them.
Oh well …
That was yesterday morning. Yesterday afternoon consisted of my website receiving – and publishing – a guest column in which it was suggested that I criticized a weak criminal domestic violence bill because of my own 2005 conviction for CDV. Then yesterday evening I got a text message from a friend telling me they met the new CNN reporter covering the 2016 presidential race in South Carolina.
“She’s already been warned about you,” my friend said.
Jeez … warned how?
I don’t get it.
I’m not that important. Oh – and all I ever do is lose issues. Seriously, when it comes to local, state and federal battles, my website is like a reserve player on the Washington Generals – that team won six games against the Harlem Globetrotters (out of more than 13,000 contests).
The status quo always wins. I’m tilting at windmills.
So why do it?
No clue. Maybe because it’s all I know how to do? Maybe because no one else is willing to do it?
Who knows …
But it’s probably time I stop the pity party and get back to doing it.
Lamentations, over and out.