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Columbia Missourian

Go ahead, blame the media

By Tom Warhover
December 4, 2008 | 4:14 p.m. CST

Dear Panicked Reader,

A friend of my wife said this week that it “seems like the media is putting everyone into major panic mode.”

Change in 2009: What do you want to see?

With the new year ahead, change is likely to be on our minds. Some of us think about changes promised by newly elected officials. Some of us ponder how to change ourselves for the better through resolutions. The civic-minded among us are likely to contemplate how to change Columbia and Boone County for the better.

This is an invitation to share your thoughts in the coming weeks with other readers.

Tell us: What kind of change do you want to see in 2009?

Submissions will be published at and in the Missourian starting on New Year's Day. All we ask is that you sign your name and provide a telephone number (not printed; just there in case we have a question).

To send in your submission:

FAX: 882-5702
Postal delivery: Letter to Editor, P.O. Box 917, Columbia, MO 65205

Questions? Send an e-mail to Jake Sherlock, opinion editor, at

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She was referring to the economy, of course. The friend has reason to panic. She has a small business that’s suffering as more people put off everything: health care and hotel stays alike.

Visits with friends who have been laid off make me gulp. A peek at the stock market sends shivers down my back. And there’s less to check on in my checking account.

Still, I’m willing to accept, on behalf of the “media” everywhere, that people are fearful because of some of the news they read/see/hear. In three days this week, in fact, the Missourian ran these stories:

Then there was the biggest non-news of the week: A group of economists officially declared a recession. Is anyone surprised?

So go ahead. Blame the news media.

Blame them, though, for the stories that weren’t written a year ago. Or three years ago. Not for the stories that are simply recording the events of today.

What stories could have been done back then that would have done a better job of warning us of this fiscal mess?

And what stories need to be done today to help Columbia and the country dig out?

Like most of you, I’m searching for answers.

The Big R is here. It took years to arrive, and it won’t be over in days.

The Missourian needs to find stories that help us cope and stories that give us hope – but not false hope, not the kind built on platitudes rather than facts.