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From the headlines . . .

By Sam Griffin

“All I know,” Will Rogers is supposed to have said, “is what I read in the newspapers.” Sometimes that would be a devil of a way to spend a day and find out what really goes on. The same goes for television and radio—or any other means of communication.

I think the problem is manyfold, including folks who deliberately distort the news for propaganda purposes, Dennis Dimwit who blunder through the china-shops of life with good intentions and two left feet; and the Bobby Motormouths who simply like to hear themselves talk.

I think the latter group is the most aggravating of the three, or of any unidentified players, because they are intent on making something out of anything—or of nothing.

I would be the last fellow to underrate the ice and snow that fell in the middle Georgia area a couple of weeks ago. As far as I am concerned, one flake is an unwelcome blizzard if I am not sitting in front of my fireplace at home. I was not extremely happy to be inconvenienced and immobilized by the stuff in a motel room, but there was little about the situation that demanded 24 hours TV coverage of the same stuff over and over.

“Well, Fred, what is the weather like out there on the corner now?” Pete asks with desperation and concern. Pete has already told more about the weather situation than he knows, and the constant cups of coffee have taken their toll. He needs a camera shift.
“Gosh Pete,” reports Fred as the camera shifted to a fellow resembling a polar bear clothed in Salvation Army rejects. “It’s still cold out here.” Profound stuff.

This makes the fifth time that Pete has shifted the camera to Fred on the corner in the past hour, and nothing is different—even the snowflakes. One wonders what Fred and Pete expect might happen on that particular corner if they maintain a vigil. Perhaps an invasion of penguins will appear.

Anyway, the thing is, too many news reporters and commentators seem intent on taking a hand in making the news —or at least in tailoring the importance of it, whether or not it warrants it. And if that sort of reporting was the only source of information, a fellow would get a warped view of what is really happening.

I see by the papers that the inflation rate averaged under 9 percent in 1981, which ought to be a welcome indicator that something is working, regardless of who is responsible.

And then I hear complaints that Mr. Reagan has piled horrifying inflation and interest rates upon us, ruining the economy. The folks who make these complaints don’t remember that interest rates went higher than they are now in Mr. Carter’s last year of office— or else they have convenient memories.

I suspect most of the folk who make the complaints just lean that way anyhow—towards complaints in general.
From this same quarter, I would not be surprised to see the Prez criticized because inflation rates did not go up.

And in small print. . . .

Those who do not believe present economic policies can produce results must have an alternative in mind, and the logical alternative to the Reagan leadership is its antithesis—the leadership of Tip O’Neill.

And the Wall Street Journal had a brief report on those prospects last week—one that apparently was not sufficiently newsworthy for much coverage elsewhere.

A Journal/Gallop survey of 816 corporate executives showed that 9 of 10 had confidence in Mr. Reagan’s ability to do or recommend the right thing for the economy.

On the other hand, 89 percent said they had little or no confidence in Tip O’Neill’s ability to do what’s best for the economy.
You can’t fool an old ZuZu fly.

(This column first appeared in the January 27, 1982 edition of The Post Searchlight.)