Letter to the Editor: ‘Zero accountability’

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(Published without edits)

I used to go to the grocery store with my mama. Warehouse Discount Groceries hasn’t changed much in forty years; same comforting aromas of fresh produce and cardboard, same glazed concrete floors, same wood-framed shelves. I’m pretty sure you can still purchase Frosty Morn bologna and the same brand of neon orange pimento cheese from the meat coolers. I used to walk down the cereal aisle to covet the sugared-up boxes of crunchy heaven, always hoping mama would splurge. But every time, the giant box with the cocky rooster was the only one that made it into the buggy. Life was hard in 1984.

But look y’all, if I had even thought about picking up a Globe, Sun, or National Enquirer in the checkout line… well, life would have suddenly become more difficult. Mama did not cater to such trash. So, it is with considerable disappointment that I find an entire county smitten with the Facebook posts of an opportunistic tabloid; one that is severely lacking in both credentials and integrity.

Cullman Daily News. House fires and car crashes and mangled lives. Semi-accurate information mixed with miracles and a longing for the good ole days of Cullman. Hearts and flags and prayer hands. Young entrepreneurs selling lemonade; git’er done! Invitations to Sunday service followed by culture-war grenades lobbed over the fence like flaming bags of dog poo. To be fair, I’ve joined in on a few Cullman Daily comment slap-fights thinking I could somehow make a difference, but each time I was helping to keep their content driving forward. More clicks, more comments, more filthy lucre. Zero accountability.

I get it. It is a well known brand with a wide reach. Hey, if they posted a story and pic of my grand-baby’s championship game I’d feel the urge to share it with the world. A beautiful Sunday sunrise attributed to the Lord above. What in the world is wrong with “loving” that?

But the hometown pride that CDN sells is an illusion. Its support of law and order is marketing and lip service, at best. Its patriotic wholesomeness isn’t for free. The thoughts and prayers it offers for the critically ill come with a price tag. It is monetized gossip. You know, the same gossip mentioned in Scripture.

I’m not mad, really. CDN is quite good at what it does. But, its content and practices are not in alignment with the moral values that it claims. At the end of the day, Cullman Daily News is not, well… news. My daddy worked for a couple of newspapers, so don’t tell me otherwise. It is certainly not journalism. Heck, it’s not even good entertainment. And back in the day your mama would have slapped it out of your hands.

Aubrey Kenneth Fannin
New Market, Alabama