Criticism and the Media
January 13th, 2012
A while back a friend complained that the worst thing that happened to our Port Huron area community was the creation of TalkBack. For those who don’t know, TalkBack is a daily column in the Times Herald where local residents can express their opinions. TalkBack is also heard on WGRT every Thursday at 8 AM and 5:20 PM. It struck me as odd that my well meaning friend believed that citizens having a forum to speak out on community issues was somehow a bad thing. On another occasion I was sitting in an economic development meeting in Port Huron when an out of town consultant said that the biggest hindrance to economic development was our negative local media. It too struck me as odd. Here we were, a group of people gathered with no agreement on a specific project, no money set aside if we had a project in mind, a history of infighting, and we were listening to complaints that it was the media’s fault. Recently, a local politician complained that the media distorted his views and as a result the public misunderstood what he really meant. It also struck me as odd. Our community leaders have a habit of rolling out ideas to the public long before they are fully thought through, then those same leaders complain when the media and the public start asking tough questions. From Henry Ford to Steve Jobs, from George Washington to Barak Obama, business and political leaders have taken intense fire from their critics. Any expectation that local business leaders and politicians will escape scrutiny is unrealistic. A wise teacher once told me: when faced with criticism, instead of complaining, take a good look in the mirror and ask if there is any truth at all in what is being said.