A couple of days ago I received an email from Examiner.com reminding me that this month marks the fifth anniversary of my writing articles for Examiner.com.
I published my first article as the Rochester Independent Examiner on July 18, 2009.
It was titled Walter Cronkite was better than what we have now. It was the day after Cronkite died and this is part of what I wrote because I wanted to honor his memory.
Cronkite was a “been there done that” kind of journalist. He had actually done some of the things he reported about on television.
As a war correspondent, in World War II, he did more than report on the D-Day invasion. He flew on bombing missions over Germany, and you can’t find many things more dangerous than that.
Cronkite was one of eight American reporters who got permission from the Army Air Corps to fly on B-17 bombing missions.
One of those reporters, Andy Rooney, said, “we were tired of going up to those airbases and interviewing young guys our age that lost friends in battle and returning to the comforts of London that night.”
The reporters got their chance on February 26, 1943. The mission was to bomb the German submarine yards at Wilhelmshaven, on the North Sea. Eight reporters took off, but only seven returned. Bob Post of the New York Times was shot down.
Cronkite could have told that story from a hotel in London, but he didn’t. He knew he couldn’t tell the American people the truth about war from the safety of a base camp. That’s something today’s broadcasters don’t seem to understand.
So Cronkite volunteered to climb into that bomber, knowing that he was going to get shot at. He pulled on that parachute, knowing that the Germans were going to try to kill him when he arrived over the target. But he went anyway.
He experienced firs-hand, the fear you feel in combat. As he got up that morning, Cronkite knew that a German soldier was also getting up, and on that day, that soldier’s job was to try to kill him.
Once you’ve experienced that feeling, it changes your life forever. War isn’t a game anymore. It’s serious business that should never be engaged in lightly.
He knew what it’s like to face death for your country, and he knew what it’s like to have a friend killed. You can’t learn that in journalism school. Maybe that’s why Americans trusted his opinion so much. He told it like it was and he didn’t turn the news into political commentary.
Sure enough, the next day I heard from a conservative pundit who I know, who works for Fox News. He wrote to me that, “I personally don’t put war correspondent or military service as a requirement for being a good anchor as long as they report accurately on facts.”
But like so many of today’s news commentators, he has never “been there and done that,” so what would you expect?
The same is true for liberal commentators, but I don’t know any of them personally, and none of them wrote to me to express their opinion.
I used the Independent Examiner column to write about national subjects, so when Brockport’s college landlords started a campaign to dissolve the Village, I opened a new Examiner account, the Monroe County Elections 2010 Examiner, on January 7, 2010, which I used to write solely about Brockport politics.
By February 5, 2010, Norm Giancursio's lawyer was threatening to sue me because I had referred to Giancursio as a” the most notorious landlord in Brockport” in one of my articles.
In 2011, Giancursio did sue me for libel, but the New York State Supreme Court dismissed Giancursio’s libel suit “in its entirety,” citing the First Amendment’s protection of freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
But the big story in Brockport during 2011, was Rich Miller’s arrest for Illegal Voting.
Rich Miller and his wife Kathleen have been doing that for years, but until 2011 nobody had ever called them on it.
When the Millers tried to vote, in the June 15, 2010 Village election for Village Trustee and the possible dissolution of the Village, a poll watcher for Carol Hannan challenged the Miller's right to vote in the election.
Rich Miller and his wife Kathleen had both been voting in Brockport Village elections, by swearing under oath that they lived in the abandoned Fowler Funeral Home at they resided at 52 State Street in Brockport, when they actually lived in Orleans County at 16729 Lakeland Beach Rd. Kendall.
Rich and Kathleen Miller were arrested for illegal voting in April 2011.
But all of the Sweden Town Justices had to recuse themselves from the case, because they had accepted campaign contributions from Rich Miller.
So the case was heard in Ogden Town Court, where on August 25, 2011 Rich Miller and Kathleen Miller both plead guilty to a Class A Misdemeanor, attempting to vote illegally.
In 2013, Rich Miller called it quits, by selling his last two rental properties in Brockport.
Rich Miller is gone, but the landlords are still up to their dirty tricks in Brockport, and the word on the street is that they are going to attempt to dissolve the Village again this year.
As of February 18, 2014, Rich Miller was still trying to dissolve the Village by posting comments on the Albany Times Union’s web site.
The people in Albany don’t know that Miller was convicted of voting illegally in Brockport Village elections, but the people in Brockport do.
It’s been an interesting five years writing for examiner.com. Let’s see what the next year brings in the way of interesting news stories.