Get the facts before you react, please

Feb 27 • Feature Story, ViewpointNo Comments on Get the facts before you react, please

There are certain things that journalists love to see, no matter what medium from which you might be sharing news.

One is that a story you write informs the public on a topic in which they might or should have interest. It’s great to hear feedback from people that they learned something about their community they didn’t know by reading a local paper or listening to a local radio station.

Two would be that a story you write generates a public debate that brings great points and ideas out to people who need to hear them, like our elected officials or community and business leaders.

It’s the best feeling in the world to be a part of moving the community forward through respectful discussion and debate and action.

You know what most legitimate journalists don’t like? When people don’t even take the time to read a story and then go on a social media tirade worthy of a cranky toddler high on sugar. Attacking a person’s character, insulting them and swearing at them is no way to make your point in a way that people will listen.

If you have a beef with someone, is it too much to ask that you at least have your facts close to straight before sounding off? As an opinionated person, I love a good debate with someone who is armed with facts and knowledge other than the blanket statements people with no clue cling to in what should be a civil discussion.

I have certain topics myself that set me off and I could go on all night talking about. And yes, sometimes it devolves into me stubbornly refusing to admit the other person has a point. But I will concede well-made, educated points to a person who has also done their homework better than I have.

Whether it’s a debate on the Boardwalk on Thames building, the tax hike, council’s pay raise, changes to RetroFest, homelessness – taking to social media to crap on everybody involved is getting tiresome for those of us who have to read it every day.

The negative people who complain about almost everything, spreading misinformation and hate like a bad fungus, need a new hobby. Or at least take the time to read up on the issue and if you still hate it and everyone involved. At least then you’re an informed complainer.

And please stop getting angry with people who are trying to be positive. You don’t like to be criticized for being negative? Well, give the same respect to people who are trying to effect and support positive change in our community. The more people who come to the community because they like our positive vibe, the more they shop in our stores, the more our businesses thrive and more jobs there are to serve those people.

I have never heard a person say, “Oh look, those people in Chatham-Kent really hate their community and almost everything and everyone in it; let’s move there or invest money there, or move our business there.”

The positive people are the doers and that doesn’t mean we all wear rose-coloured glasses. It means we care about our community and its potential to be great for everyone, because when our community thrives, so do its residents.

Can we all agree on that at least?

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