Friday, January 06, 2006

Media: Diluting a Miner's Message?

Miner Martin Toler Jr. left a beautiful message of comfort for his family.

I've noticed something odd in the media coverage, however, which is that many major media outlets -- including MSNBC, The Chicago Tribune, CNN, and Newsday -- have changed Mr. Toler's wording from "Tell all I see them on the other side" to "Tell all I'll see them on the other side." In some cases the wording was changed only in the headline, in other cases it was also changed in the body of the article.

I'm reminded of the words of CNN's Jamie McIntyre, who recently told the New York Times that the media's job is to "take that information and tell you what it means." In this case many media outlets have decided to do exactly that. I'm curious that an alternative interpretation of Mr. Toler's words doesn't seem to have occurred to many in the media, or if it did occur to them, they didn't want to communicate it to their readers. The note did not necessarily contain a grammatical error which was necessary for media outlets to "fix" for "clarity."

On my first reading of Mr. Toler's note, I interpreted an even more profound and powerful meaning: that the dying man was having a vision of Heaven.

Since we can't know the intended meaning, it seems to me that the media should have the grace to leave Mr. Toler's final words alone and let them speak for themselves.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older