2009-12-04 / Letters

Sad Epithet Of Objective Journalism

Dear Editor,

U.S. Census Bureau employee Bill Sparkman was found dead, hanging from a tree earlier this past Sep tem - ber in an area of the Daniel Boone National Forest in Clay County, Ken - tucky. Mr. Sparkman's body had the word "FED" written on his chest at the time his body was discovered.

Shortly thereafter the Kentucky State Police, assisted by the FBI an - nounced that they were investigating the death to determine both the cause and means of Mr. Sparkman's death (homicide, sui cide, accident, etc.)

Despite the fact that the investigation of Mr. Spark man's death was still ongoing, on September 25, 2009, TIME Magazine published a story entitled Govern ment Distrust and a Dead Census Taker which portrayed the death as a homicide, " attempting to link the Cen sus worker's death to the ongoing Tea Parties, Town Hall Meetings and dem on stra - tions by the conservative right of our nation. The article included referen - ces to the fact that this rural area of Kentucky is possessed with a strong anti-Obama fervor and voted predominantly for John Mc Cain in the last Presidential election. The story even managed to sneak in references to Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly within in their hypothesis.

"The discovery of the body of Bill Sparkman, 51, a substitute teacher and a field worker for the bureau, comes at a time when talk media, tea parties and white-hot town-hall meetings have fanned antigovernment sentiment. Speculation has run rampant that the Sparkman case may be related to the vitriol. Kentucky...voted overwhelmingly for Senator John McCain during the 2008 presidential election….was it part of the recent rage at what right-wing commentators decry as the big-spending, socialistic government of the first African- American President?"

I am sure that the publisher of TIME was seriously embarrassed when just last week Kentucky au - thor ities determined that Mr. Spark - man had, in fact, committed suicide and had intentionally staged his death in such a manner as to make it appear as a homicide. Investigators stated Mr. Sparkman's motive for do - ing so was to ensure his family could collect on a recently purchased life in - surance policy.

In addition to making a mockery of a tragic human situation with their lunatic conspiracy theory reporting, TIME Magazine has finally "jumped the shark" and joined the rest of the mainstream media on the trash heap which represents the sad epithet of objective journalism in our country.

PETER J. MAHON

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