2 thoughts on “Journalism!

  1. Funny, I was thinking about Mike Royko today, in the context of theright-wing saliva-fest over Louise Slaughter’s remark yesterday about one of her constituents having to use her dead sister’s dentures.
    Thinking about Limbaugh’s little applesauce dig, it reminded me of a column Royko wrote almost forty years ago, about a disabled Vietnam vet, who’d been very badly injured, burned, blinded, living in the basement of the house of some relatives, so horribly disfigured that he wore a ski mask so as not to repel the people around him, and who supplemented his meager disability income by knitting ski masks like the one he was wearing.
    Great human interest story of the sort that newspapers love to run, but, Royko also had a knife pointed at someone in the government in that story. The clincher was that the guy’s jaw had been blasted away, and in the course of the surgery to put it back together, had lost virtually all his teeth. The VA had denied him dental work to get dentures, saying the claim was for cosmetic purposes. The guy said that the thing he dreamed about, almost his passion in life, was to be able to eat a steak again.
    The political fallout from that one story was just incredible. The guy was in the Chicago area. When I called my representative’s office in Massachusetts about the story, just to express my outrage as a fellow vet, the woman answering the phone, very weary, said, “yes, I understand–we’ve had over four hundred calls this morning.” Hell, I even got an answer from the White House to an angry letter I sent to Nixon.
    These days, it’s Limbaugh and his “applesauce” remarks that makes the news, not the person in need that just wants to be able to chew.

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