(Typical street violence in the the hometown of Dr Seuss)
I suppose I think that the Valley Advocate means well in terms of its coverage of Springfield, but it can’t seem to avoid its Münchausen syndrome by proxy when it covers the City of Homes. Last week one reporter from the Advocate was involved in the writing of two news pieces, one about homelessness in Northampton, the other about cleaning up properties in Springfield. I have no complaints about the general accuracy of either report, but in each case the reporter chose to close with what I assume was a carefully selected quote:
“But I never feel threatened.”
“I’m on the edge of a dangerous spot. Just see for yourself. Come back here at night, and look around. You’ll see what I’m saying.”
Again, no doubt, I am sure the quotes are accurate. But just reading in the body of the stories you can see that the writer could have selected other quotes with which to close each article. There are certainly elements of homelessness which seem and are “threatening”, at the same time encouraging property owners to abide by municipal codes is generally a good thing. But those are not the ideas the reader is left with.
Given that the obvious goal of the Northampton piece is to counter anti-homeless sentiment and to support a resolution affirming the compatibility of the homeless and Northampton’s tourism trade, it isn’t surprising that the reader left with a generally positive spin. On the other hand, the subtitle of the Springfield piece is: “Do hundreds of ‘quality of life’ citations from Springfield Police add up to real change?” It’s clear from the outset that the article is designed to cast doubt on the enterprise on which it is reporting. Having read a few articles from other sources about the same coordinated activities by police and code enforcement in the city, and just knowing that people would generally prefer to NOT have their neighbors in obvious violation of codes, it certainly seems as though the Advocate has gone out of its way once again to be sure the City of Springfield is not viewed in a positive light.
Reading the conclusion of each piece, as a matter of fact, one might assume that the safe move for Springfield residents just might be to abandon their homes and opt for the safety of homelessness on the streets of Northampton.