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Gary Adkisson: Newspapers don't look away

Gary Adkisson: Newspapers don't look away


The Bismarck Tribune carries its fair share of “good news” stories, usually stories about people in our area who are doing good things, or stories about their achievements and accomplishments.

Nevertheless, we still hear the occasional question about why we carry so much bad news like crime, squabbles over pipelines, or the Republican Party passing policy statements meant to hurt and divide the community.

I ran across a piece this past week that really nails it. The piece was written by Mark Wingfield, a Baptist pastor from Texas.

The title is “Why we must not look away in the current crisis.” Here is a link if you wish to read it in its entirety:

He sets up the piece retelling a story he heard from Father Michael Renninger, pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Richmond, Va.

Renninger recalled that having been away at college for some time, he stopped in to see his grandparents one weekend while visiting the area.

He recalled that when he opened the door he could see that things were not going well as his grandfather had “goopy liquid food” all over him.

His grandmother was trying to feed him using his feeding tube. She had made the decision to take care of him at home for as long as she could.

On this day when the grandson popped in unexpectedly, she was struggling.

Renninger said he started to simply turn and leave to avoid possibly embarrassing his grandmother, but as he turned to leave he heard her say in a stern voice, “Don’t you dare. Don’t you dare leave. Sometimes this is what love looks like.”

It is indeed a wonderful story of his grandparents' love story, but let me suggest that as journalists, that as newspeople who love our community, and who love and treasure our system of government and the First Amendment responsibility we carry, we too cannot simply look away.

Our communities, our state and our nation daily face challenges that can, frankly, make us weary. But it is unthinkable that we would simply look away because the observance is too painful, too raw, or perhaps runs contrary to what we think or believe.

It is painful to see almost daily that there are assaults and rapes right here in our hometown. It is painful to see that the state Republican Party adopts (with 82% voting in favor) hateful and divisive language against our LGBTQ friends and neighbors and holds no one accountable for it. Here is a link to that story in case you missed it:

Wingfield said, “Love makes us look. And in looking, we are compelled to act.”

If we make you look, we will have considered our mission accomplished if it compels you to act. Shooting the messenger won’t help any more than making your complaints known on Facebook.

Friends, there has never been a better time to be compelled to action.

Gary Adkisson is publisher of The Bismarck Tribune.


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