The Flub-A-Dub Award

I like bestowing awards on people, or businesses, or governmental bodies. It kind of makes me feel warm all over, and it gives me a certain delight in knowing that it peeves them.

The Register-Mail has won various awards over the years, but I don't remember ever giving them the Flub, although they have been in the running on numerous occasions. Recently, they have seemingly gone out of their way to attract the attention of the Flub-A-Dub review board. So here's to you, Register-Mail, may your days be filled with the news, and your nights spent wondering how in the hell you could have gotten it so wrong.

I have recently been considering giving up my subscription. Three recent stories have persuaded me to attempt abstinence:

1. The Sunday edition recently featured a story about the miraculous increase in minority persons in Galesburg. The new census has us at about a 1,000 person increase over the last ten years. The reporter asked a local black minister if he had noticed an increase in his congregation? No, not really. So we have ourselves a mystery. The Peoria Journal Star and the Zephyr have answered this question on several occasions. Here it is again: Go Out To Henry Hill. A good 80-85 percent of the 1,800 inmates are minorities. This works out to about a 600-700 person increase from 1980-1990, and another 600-700 person increase from 1990-2000. This took me about ten minutes to figure out, which included a phone conversation with a census librarian.

2. ''MC Products Fulfills Its Obligations.'' This was the headline news on June 13. Of course, I had to read this story just before I was about to eat. The reporter who did this story must be considering a career change to economic development. Here is a story that, if you are on a diet, you had better not read for fear the baloney might kill you. It seems the gist of the story was to persuade us, the taxpayers, that we haven't been screwed, once again, by a company moving into town to take advantage of various ''incentive packages'' offered by the City and leaving when they run out. I was less than impressed.

3. Just below the above report, in yet bolder print, was the proclamation: ''Center's Visits up by 500%.'' Man, people must be flocking to our tourism center. They must have been sleeping down there the last 56 years. I'm guessing this reporter is walking around with one leg a whole lot longer than the other. Three things immediately come to mind when a read a story like this:

A. How dumb do you think we are?

B. What actually happened was the number of visits went from one to five.

C. Were all these people coming to town or leaving?

To the writers of the Register-Mail news, and the editors who apparently don't read it, Happy Flub A-Dub. Don't believe everything you hear, or paradoxically, if it's about economic development, don't believe it till you see it.

Uploaded to The Zephyr Online June 27, 2001

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