YOUR VIEWS: Award-Winning Journalist Larry Guest Opines Over the Death of an Old Friend
By Larry Guest // June 30, 2019
YOUR OPINION: Space Coast Daily is Neutral Site For Citizens of Brevard for Political Discourse
I sit here at the keyboard, heartbroken. An old and dear friend has passed away. This is a friend I cherished for several decades and I am now plunged into deep remorse at the passing about two years ago.
That friend was journalistic integrity. It was the companion that challenged and rewarded me throughout the 30-plus years I worked as a newspaper columnist for major dailies, then deeply saddened me when it became terminally ill.
Integrity in the mainstream media – major newspapers and TV networks – suffered the fatal blow when Donald Trump was duly elected President of the United States. I saw it coming in 2000 when I was the lead sports columnist at the Orlando Sentinel.
I took an early retirement/buyout at age 58 when I could see the paper had become so biased and dishonest it had fallen in lockstep with other newspapers and TV networks determined to destroy the unusual Republican who had beaten their beloved Hillary Clinton.
In short order, they began trashing Trump at every turn, twisting every story into deadly daggers while ignoring the positives he was doing for this nation.
Friends often ask me why my former profession became so biased. In the case of the Sentinel, some thought it was dictated by Chicago-based Tribune Company, which owned the Sentinel. Nah. The Trib brass couldn’t care less about Orlando’s editorial stance; they only wanted to know how much profit the paper was sending to Chicago each year.
The bias came from the fact that 90 percent of the staffs at major papers and networks are Democrats living in insular echo chambers where they exchange views with like-minded lefties and rarely interact with us misguided souls out there in the real world. Most of those staffers are J-school grads where ultra-liberal professors turned their brains into mush.
My eyes were opened at a daily confab called the “budget meeting,” where the next day’s news play would be planned. I attended enough of those to watch positive stories about local conservatives or GOP pols routinely dispatched to the circular file. But the left’s bias has turned violent.
Recently, a Massachusetts woman was charged with assault and battery after knocking a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat off of a stranger’s head at a Mexican restaurant. Later that month a Turning Point USA activist was sucker-punched by a deranged leftist at UC Berkeley.
Supporters holding pro-Trump signs or wearing MAGA hats are constantly pummeled or harassed in restaurants. But those are rarely mentioned by the mainstream media which has become devoted to trashing MAGA supporters and Mr. MAGA himself.
This isn’t to suggest President Trump is not deserving of negative reports. His derisive nicknames of other leaders here and abroad is unbecoming of a U.S. President. But he has souped up our economy, lowered unemployment to record levels, lowered the number of food stamps, opened a dialog with China and North Korea, and against a raging tide of resistance by the left, is trying to stem that other tide of illegal and dangerous aliens to make us safer. You’d think the media could every now and then slip a little mention of those positives. But Nooooooo…
Fake news, or half news?
The main-stream media hates Trump because he communicates directly with the people, bypassing the media elites’ god-given right to filter and interpret anything and everything White House. This drives them absolutely crazy, sending them in a frenzied search for any negative nugget they can to bring down Mr. Twitter.
And if they can’t find anything, they go to their cleanup hitter, “informed source.” That’s slang for total fabrication. When I was learning the craft of journalism, I was taught that unnamed sources were strictly taboo in news accounts. A wise white-haired executive editor once assured me that any reporter who stooped to using a nugget from an unnamed source would find himself and his nugget on the street. If there was an anonymous quote supporting a reporter’s narrative, he said, you could be almost certain the reporter had made it up.
When the subject of biased MSM is broached most think of the New York Times or Washington Post. But coming around the clubhouse turn the USA Today is trying to out-liberal the Times, the Post, CNN, MSNBC and all the rest of the Trump-bashing media outlets who shamelessly spin every story against Trump. If it’s good, they make it bad. If it’s bad, they make it worse.
The morning after Michael Cohen testified in a congressional hearing, USA Today‘s war headline was “Cohen: ‘Trump told me to lie to Congress’. Farther down in same page 1 story, it was noted Cohen said Trump didn’t actually tell him to lie to Congress, but looked into the president’s eyes and said he could tell Trump wanted him to.”
That’s a major distinction. Trump telling Cohen to lie to Congress would be a felony. Looking into Trump’s eyes and determining the president wanted him to lie. That would be ..what?…Clairvoyant??…..Cohen only lied to Congress, a body of some of the most famous liars since Pinocchio. But the USA Today headline writer lied to EVERYBODY!! That’s fair and balanced integrity? Shouldn’t he or she go to jail with Cohen?
Slowly, major papers are beginning to admit there really is a border crisis, created by Dem support of the caravans and Dem refusal to change asylum laws to stem the flow of illegal aliens. Open borders, they figure, will mean many more Dem voters – legitimate and fraudulent – in coming elections. No matter how many innocent Americans are killed or maimed by the criminals embedded in the invasion.
USA Today is the flagship paper over more than a hundred local Gannett papers throughout the country. USA Today provides national stories, columns and even daily political cartoons for the whole chain of local papers. They can use those cartoons or pick one from a variety of sources. One of those papers is Florida Today here on the Space Coast, a conservative Republican stronghold where my wife and I have lived the past five years.
A few months ago, a neighbor began keeping score on Florida Today‘s political cartoons – the Trash Trump cartoons, the Support Trump ‘toons and the Anything-else ‘Toons. Over a 30-day period, the score was Trash Trump 26, anything else 4, and Support Trump zero. Little wonder that paper’s circulation is in a death spiral.
Perhaps because its editor was an elitist guy as vapid and far left as Maxine Waters. I sent him an email, asking if he was TRYING to run off Brevard subscribers with his far left agenda. He went nuclear. Over the next two hours, he fired off three separate, smoking emails personally attacking me. He said he knew I had been a journalist, but a SPORTS journalist, not in political commentary. ((pause)) Obviously, I wasn’t smart enough to question him or his paper’s agenda. I just gave thanks that I could keep up with local scene through the fair reporting of Space Coast Daily.
A local former basketball coach named Bobby Hewitt deftly characterized the media evolution like this: At one time, they were reliable watchdogs. Then with Obama, they became lap dogs. Now? Rabid dogs.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Larry Guest is among America’s most respected and well-known sports columnists and book authors. He was a long-time editor and lead columnist at the Orlando Sentinel, a three-time Florida Sports Writer of the Year and best-selling author of “ARNIE: Inside the Legend,” “The Payne Stewart Story,” and several other sports-related books.
As a true journalist, he never steered away from controversy, for he always thought he owed his readers the truth.
Guest now lives in Cape Canaveral, Florida, with his wife Mary and was inducted into the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame last May for his distinguished journalism career.
Below, you can enjoy Guest’s Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame tribute profile and video:
SPACE COAST DAILY TV: A three-time winner of the Florida Sports Writer of the Year award, Larry Guest for almost three decades served as the voice of sports for the Orlando Sentinel, where he was the newspaper’s syndicated lead sports columnist.
SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME – There are plenty of sportswriters, but only a few true sports journalists who can go beyond the statistics to the heart of the athletes. Larry Guest is one the latter.
A three-time winner of the Florida Sports Writer of the Year award, Guest for almost three decades served as the voice of sports for the Orlando Sentinel, where he was the newspaper’s syndicated lead sports columnist.
The Washington Journalism Review listed Guest among the top 25 sportswriters in the nation.
During his tenure with the Sentinel, Guest covered 25 Masters’ Tournaments, a dozen U.S. and British Opens and half a dozen Olympics, plus many Super Bowls, Kentucky Derbies and Final Fours.
He didn’t just write about sports, he embedded himself in them, making personal friends with legends such as Payne Stewart, Arnold Palmer and coach Bobby Bowden.
“I always felt it was my responsibility not just to cover the story, but to connect with the athletes,” said Guest.
Nicknamed “Scoop” by the late Payne Stewart, Guest loved nothing more than to break local and national sports stories, a penchant made possible by the close professional and personal relationships he formed through years of unbiased coverage of sports headliners.
He learned from reading the very best, the work of the late Los Angeles Times Pulitzer-winning sportswriter Jim Murray.
“He was the king of sports columnists,” said Guest, who, like Murray, peppered his writing with humor about the idiosyncrasies of the players and their sports.
Just like Murray, Guest expanded beyond the boundaries of the newspaper page to books, seven of them.
His best-selling biographies include “Arnie: Inside the Legend” and “The Payne Stewart Story.” With sports executive Pat Williams, he wrote “Making Magic: How Orlando Won an NBA Team.”
In “Sports Icons “R Funny!” Guest reveals the humorous inside stories of sports superstars.
Guest began writing on sports at the then twice-weekly Brookhaven Leader Advertiser in Mississippi, where he grew up.
He developed as a writer as the paper expanded into a daily, allowing him the opportunity to cover stories such as the New Orleans Saints in their infancy.
The executive editor of the largest paper in the state, the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, saw his work and liked Guest’s lighthearted but heartfelt coverage of sports and offered him a job as sports editor.
The Orlando Sentinel later scooped him for their own and there Guest remained until his retirement in 2000.
As a true journalist, he never steered away from controversy, for he always thought he owed his readers the truth. If he could put a smile on his readers’ faces while reporting on sports news, so much the better.
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