Heat rises in alcohol issue
I smiled as I read one of the entries on the Enquirer’s e-Sound off this week.
In reference to the city’s current wet/dry debate, it said it was “obvious which side the Enquirer was on.”
Really? Obvious? Whew. If so, I wish someone would fill me in.
The truth is the employees at the Enquirer are a microcosm of the city itself. Much as it was eight years ago when we addressed this issue before, our staff is split down the middle.
There are several people who feel the proximity of Decatur – where alcohol is readily available – should make it an easy decision for Hartselle to go wet. We need the revenue such sales would bring, they say, along with the enticement for economic development.
Others feel legalized alcohol sales would change the very nature of the city itself and don’t want to see it introduced to the community. The moral issue is imperative, they say, and alcohol sales would result in more trouble than they are worth.
As a newspaper, it’s our job to cover both sides of any issue, regardless of our personal feelings. That’s not always easy, of course, but years of working in the profession does teach a certain level of detachment. That’s the same skill that comes to play when you’re covering things such as a natural disaster or grisly crime. It’s also the same things that goes into covering the local sports team that loses a big game. Don’t think for a minute that a sports writer isn’t rooting for the home team deep down inside.
While it’s a popular notion to assume there’s a “media bias” I’d like to think that much premeditation is limited to larger organizations than ours. A community newspaper vs. a large media conglomerate is like the difference in mom’s home cooking and dining out in a restaurant – both may taste good but you know what ingredients mom is using.
The debate on legalizing alcohol sales in Hartselle will continue to heat up in the month leading up to the referendum. Much like last time, it will have its civil and uncivil moments.
Some of both of those moments will be directed at the newspaper and that’s OK. We’re the only outlet for many of these sentiments and thoughts.
But know this – the Enquirer and its employees only want what’s best for the city. What that is will be up to each individual to decide.