Wednesday, September 27, 2023


My desperate battle with ‘Below the Belt’ Journalism

By Chuck Woodbury

In men’s professional boxing the competitors must play by the rules. Perhaps the most consequential is “do not hit below the belt.” Guys know the paralyzing pain of such a blow. If a boxer breaks that rule, that is, if he plays dirty, a referee is there to pause the action and penalize the offender.

What if there were no referee? The guy who played dirty would win. Not fair, right?

I’m talking about cheating.

HOW ABOUT THIS? Do you, or someone you know, sneak into a second movie at a multiplex theater without paying a second admission? “Oh, they make enough money. It’s no big deal if I only pay once,” the opportunist will rationalize. In most theaters, the cheater knows, nobody will be standing outside each individual theater checking tickets. So cheating is easy. But what if a theater employee stood at the door and did check?

In the boxing match and at the theater, a responsible person — the referee or a ticket checker — makes sure the rules are followed.

Which leads me to my point

And that is what a free press does. It’s a referee between corruption and honesty. It’s a referee between business, politics and honesty. It makes sure laws and regulations are followed, not just brushed under the rug to benefit corrupt businessmen, politicians or special interests.

If a “referee” is dishonest or not even present, then cheating will abound. And that terrifies those who study the news media, who see that happening today at a blinding speed.

I wish I could share a cup of coffee, tea or root beer with each reader of this newsletter to explain how important it is we respect the legitimate news media that still survives. Heaven knows, the free press has never been perfect. But without it, 99 percent of us will be slaves to the rich and powerful in short order. Maybe it’s time for us to revisit George Orwell’s novel “1984”.

In my little corner of the world, writing to RVers, I have very little influence to help people understand this or at least think about it. But I will keep trying, for I am terrified of where we are heading. I want my daughter to grow up in a free society, not one ruled by the selfish, greedy and corrupt. Do you know what happens without a free press? Two words: North Korea.

This was originally published in RV Travel Newsletter Issue 1120, on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2023.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sign up for the

RVtravel Newsletter

Sign up and receive 3 FREE RV Checklists: Set-Up, Take-Down and Packing List.