Dave Richards for April 15th….…………
--Today is April 15th, commonly called “Income Tax Day” in the U.S. because it was selected by the Internal Revenue Service as the date all citizens must file with them for their tax obligations for the previous calendar year. We don’t know why April 15th was chosen, but the irony of it being the day that President Abraham Lincoln died after being shot the night before by John Wilkes Booth has always intrigued me.
The tie-in between Mr. Lincoln and the federal income tax is not known to many, I think. It was in 1861, in the first year of President Lincoln’s term that the Income Tax was first instituted. It was a way to raise money to finance the Union’s expenses in The Civil War.
--Some of you may not realize this, but sometimes I hear things over the radio that make me just shake my head and wonder about my fellow broadcasters. It happened again this past weekend when I heard a national news network announce, as if it were the biggest story they’ve every reported……”The United States has taken first place in the world in COVID-19 deaths!” Yes, the number of people who had died had exceeded the total number in Italy on Saturday, certainly an important story. But as it is with so many things, it’s not so much what you say as it is how you say it, and I felt it was being sensationalized to the point of being dishonest with the audience.
The using of numbers to mislead people is still lying. The truth is Italy, the country with the highest number of deaths up until last Saturday, has a population of about 60 million people. The U.S. has a population of about 327 million. If you do the math, 26,000 deaths in Italy is 0.433 percent of the total population, or just under one half a one percent. The same 26,000 deaths is only 0.00795 percent of the U.S. population. The story, which was clearly trying to give the listener the impression that the U.S. was the “sickest of the sick” was quite literally ‘fake news’. We have it bad here, but not that bad.
Yesterday we broadcast an obituary for a Woonsocket man who died of complications to COVID-19. It’s the first such obituary we have knowingly aired. I have a dear friend in Milford who is stricken. Like so many, I can’t even visit him in the hospital. Here’s my point. Things are bad enough without exaggerating.
--President Trumps re-election committee has sued a Wisconsin TV station for continuing to broadcast a Political Action Committee’s ad which was critical of the President. But that’s not the whole story. It seems the ad was electronically altered and edited to make Mr. Trump say something he never said, taking two different statements and cutting them together to make the man look like a fool. While this sort of thing may be amusing on social media, it is serious business when broadcast on TV.
Please understand that Political Action Committees, known by the acronym PACs, are not the candidate speaking. Therefore, messages from PACs must be looked at by the viewer with more scrutiny as to their truthfulness than those from candidates. There is no government organization out there making sure that false and misleading statements are not being made.
I know it’s not supposed to be that way. I know it’s not fair. But neither is not being able to see your loved one in a nursing home on Easter Sunday. It’s just the way it is and we have to learn to live with it.
--Let me leave you with a bit of good news. My daughter told me $1,200 mysteriously appeared in her checking account yesterday. Thank you Mr. Trump and Congress. I no longer need to worry about her for a while.
--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332. Thanks for reading.