Newspapers rule when it comes to presenting whole story

June 16, 2011|Lisa Prejean

As my daughter and I were working in the kitchen earlier this week, that evening's news played in the background. Our dinner preparations were accompanied by commentary on Rep. Anthony Weiner's behavior.

We listened as a reporter stated that the White House had called Weiner's behavior "inappropriate" and "a distraction."

I would tend to call it "pompous." How dare a politician act in such a self-important manner that he would ignore common decency? What kind of a man sends sexually suggestive messages and photos of himself to women?

He must think rather highly of himself.

As these thoughts were going through my mind, my daughter asked a question.

"Oh, Mom, how do you think his wife feels?"

Her sensitivity caused me to shift focus. It is easy to become angry at the perpetrator and initially lose sight of those affected by unacceptable behavior.

"Oh, honey, his wife is probably really hurting right now. She's presumably sad and angry."

My daughter just shook her head.

The next day, we had the news on again during breakfast. I was hoping to catch some highlights of the previous night's presidential debate, but once again we caught details of a public figure's fall from grace.

This time the focus was on Plaxico Burress, a professional football player who had recently been released from jail. Burress had been arrested after he accidentally shot himself in the leg with an illegal firearm while he was at a New York City night club.

When I initially heard this story in 2008, my first thought was, "How does a person accidentally shoot himself in the leg?" (Did he keep the gun loaded and pull the trigger when he put his hand in his pocket? Actually, I think I'd rather not know the details on this one. It sounds rather painful.)

As I turned my attention back to the breakfast table, my daughter looked away from the screen and said, "Wow. Professional athletes really have to watch what they do."

I agreed with her and said, "Well, we all do. The choices we make not only affect our lives. Our choices affect the lives of those around us as well."

Television newscasts may not provide much meat on the important stories that affect our lives, but they do provide fodder for teachable moments.

Thank goodness we have newspapers to fill in the blanks. (Not that I'm biased, but guess where I found the information I wanted on the presidential debate?)

Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a weekly column for The Herald-Mail's Family page. Send email to her at

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