I watched a news conference on television Monday and heard President Donald Trump kick the U.S. intelligence agency under the bus. He later blamed the “fake news media” larry_the_twitter_bird_by_draganja-d52q3enfor creating the criticism that followed his statement, which he unsuccessfully attempted to revise.

Granted, the president suffers from narcissism, which in lay terms means that he’s an egotistical bully. Thus, it is understandable that Trump would be upset anytime he is portrayed as being less than perfect.

This, however, brokers no excuse for blaming the news media for doing its job of informing the public and commenting upon the conduct of government. That, Mister President, is the role of the press.

Keep in mind that media tools have changed. No longer are presidents and other public officials badgered only by people who own printing presses. We now are informed and influenced by what is called the new media.

Mister president, you are one of the most prominent, most unprofessional of all members of the new media with your constant streaming of opinion and misinformation via Twitter.

So, when you blame the news media for delivering “fake news,” look in the mirror.

Don’t take my advice, however. Look to Harry S Truman, the 33rd president, who once said: “If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.”

Better yet. Begin acting presidential rather than as a member of the “Fake News Media.”

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Note: In the event that I should be criticized by our chief communicator for being inaccurate and unprofessional, Harry didn’t place a period after his middle initial.



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For the first time in more than a half-century, I won’t be picking blueberries this year at the Grenon patch.

Bill and Anita Cook decided to close my annual destination because of “disease issues and condition of the blueberry plants.” They made the announcement on May 20, but I was out of the communication loop during a move to a retirement community and learned about the closure today.

The late Phil and Agness Grenon began planting the bushes on a small farm north of Eugene while Phil and I worked at a local daily newspaper.

Later, their daughter Anita superintended the operation, greeting folks and showing them where to pick on the one-acre site. Her husband Bill weighed the berries and sold soda pop on the side. I usually bought and drank a Pepsi after picking berries.

The orchard wasn’t sprayed. So, the berries didn’t have to be washed. When I got the berries home, I poured some on a flat pan and picked out the leaves, bugs and stems before dumping the berries in one-quart freezer bags and placing them in a freezer.

My father was the eldest member of the family to pick there. Several of my great-grandchildren are the last members of the clan to enjoy July trips to the patch located west of the airport.

So, another era has ended. Unfortunately, that appears to be a recurring experience for a guy who now shares stories of yesteryears with fellow retirees.

While I no longer can pick blueberries at the Grenon patch, I can still pop the top of a Pepsi and toast memories of the good ol’ days that started with a bowl of cornflakes topped with blueberries I picked at the Grenon patch.


The newsroom has never been a safe place to work. Reporters and editors have been considered “bearers of bad tidings” and targets of reader wrath since Gutenberg began printing a Bible.

Press hatSo, I was not surprised to learn that an unhappy reader gunned down five newspaper staff members Thursday afternoon in Annapolis, Maryland.

Personal safety was the first lesson I was taught by a weekly newspaper editor the day I entered the profession as a teenager.

“Always have a back-door exit when facing an angry reader,” he advised. “And learn how to run — fast.”

Later, I made certain that I worked in offices with “escape” routes while editing weekly newspapers in Missouri and in Oregon.

I also learned to keep my mouth shut when confronted by an angry person. Let them vent their anger before responding. The obvious lesson: It takes two to tango. Continue reading WANT SAFE VOCATION? STAY OUT OF THE NEWSROOM