Commentary: News You Can Trust

By Louis A. Zona

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Young people today get most of their news from the internet.

I’m old enough to remember when Walter Cronkite, often described as “the most trusted man in America,” presented that day’s news on CBS, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley delivered the news on NBC. The latter two were famous for their “Good nights” and David Brinkley’s voice.

But I can’t help but want to go up to a fellow customer at the supermarket who is about to buy a tabloid newspaper and ask, “Why?“

I sure hope that the majority of people recognize the fact that NASA has not taken photos of ghosts in outer space or that the world’s smartest ape has not gone to college.

I often wonder about the folks who work for these publications telling us that tuna fishing is threatening the mermaid population or that supermarket lobsters have escaped their tank and are terrorizing shoppers.

I’m not making up these headlines but I know I’d get a kick out of visiting the folks who do make this stuff up.

I’ve got to believe that these writers sit around a table and create incredible stories like the famous roundtable that the writers of “Saturday Night Live” sit around each week preparing for the next program. I’ll bet that a whole lot of laughing goes on during those sessions.

But what really scares me is the folks who seem to believe anything they see in print, on the cable, or on their cellphone news sources. How is it possible that the most bizarre ideas flowing from these “newsrooms” can be accepted as factual and believed, hook, line and sinker?

I do wish that someone like Walter Cronkite would come along and return us to the days that facts mattered when it comes to the news. How ridiculous is the term “alternate facts?”

I root for the return of a Cronkite who told us exactly what is what. I might add that speaking of Walter Cronkite, there is a hologram on display at The Butler Institute of American Art that is a remarkable portrait of the legendary newsman.

It is such a realistic depiction that you’d expect Walter Cronkite to utter his iconic sign off, “And that’s the way it is.”

Please, ladies and gentlemen, there can be no truth in a recent tabloid headline that Mrs. Clinton has adopted an alien baby or that Vladimir Putin is actually a robot. The folks who write these things must put their imaginations into high gear.

Allow me now to create my very own tabloid headlines.

I have it on good authority that eating too much pizza makes you fat but also makes you want to visit Italy and sing a medley from “Cosi Fan Tutte.”

If you’re not fond of Mozart, then you might want to go aboard that alien spacecraft where Elvis’ “It’s Now or Never” is played continuously over its sound system.

Man catches vacuum cleaner while fishing in the Allegheny River.

The fisherman is jubilant about catching something since he has never hooked anything of significance in that particular stream. Once cleaned, the Electrolux served the fisherman’s daughter for years.

Flat Earth Society meets on surface of the moon.

Its members remain convinced that the world remains as flat as a pancake. The Earth is, of course, flat. If it were round like a basketball, everything would fall off. Do they think we’re stupid or something?

Snoopy is a real dog owned by a couple from Montana.

Snoopy is, of course, a beagle and a rare all-white one to boot. Actually he is an albino known as a pretty good shortstop on Charlie Brown’s baseball team.

Inebriated ghost scares bar customers.

A bar in Gary, Indiana, has become known as the drunken ghost saloon because of its penchant for spooking customers. Harold Enoch, a regular customer, claims that glasses of beer float above the bar.

“Sometimes that ghost will grab a beer right out of my hand and chug it right down,” he is reported as saying. There is the belief that the ghost is actually a former bar owner known to imitate Otis Campbell from the old “Andy Griffith Show.”

Baseball player actually hits the cover off the ball.

Luke Beaker, who plays for the Dubuque Wildcats, swings so hard at a pitched baseball that he actually causes the baseball to break apart.
“I have never seen anything like that,” said manager Rusty Grave who claims that the ball actually explodes when Luke hits it. It’s the craziest thing but the exploding ball never leaves the infield because it breaks apart on the infield grass.

Consequently, Luke has a terrible batting average and is of no help to the team because he just is too strong and is exhausting the league’s supply of balls. “Those exploding baseballs also leave a lot of debris for ballpark grounds crews to get rid of,” Rusty reminds us.

From now on, I may get my news from my favorite tabloids. Who wouldn’t want to share stories of exploding baseballs, collegiate apes, or declining populations of mermaids?