Roy Exum: My Giant Is Embarrassed

Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

During the last quarter of the 1900s, my grandfather Roy McDonald was the owner and publisher of the Chattanooga News-Free Press and in the early ’70s he went head-to-head with the delusional International Typographical Union which had a hammer hold on all the nation’s newspapers. These were the guys who set the type that would be formed into the plates that would then be bolted onto printing presses across the country.

I know we offered every typesetter in our building “the deal of a lifetime” and each one of them knew it, too. But the contract we offered cut out a bunch of national union tomfoolery. Our contract was designed for “our people.” But, no, in a way where today union participation in the United States is at an all-time low because the labor lords have lost the public’s respect, who we had prayed were “our people” sided with the International.

The morning they went out on strike they were convinced we would immediately come begging.

As a matter of fact they had flown in the union’s top labor lawyers to write a ridiculous list of demands and were said to be within minutes of the knock-out blow when at 11:30 a.m. (ours was an afternoon paper) the union chanting on the sidewalk in front of our plant on East 11th Street suddenly stopped and the air became still. 

Each striking union member was handed a 36-page newspaper, i.e. “We don’t need you. You are never coming back. Game over.” They picketed our plant for 5 ½ years but they knew what had just happened. Ten years or so later, the International Typographical Union in the United States became like a dodo bird – extinct.

A little newspaper in Chattanooga had just slain the giant, and all the nation’s great newspapers were in glee. Obviously, there are reams more I could tell you, but today’s lesson is that our family’s friendships in the newspaper industry grew exponentially. A strong bond developed between Roy McDonald and Katherine Graham, who as the publisher of The Washington Post, was, indeed, “the most powerful woman in our nation’s capital.

She and my mother got to be friends, she read several of my stories and liked the fact my style “didn’t include a lot of Ivy League poetry.” Mrs. Graham believed I had great promise and called my grandfather to sell him on “a wonderful opportunity.” He politely told her “family is off-limits” and asked if she would spread the word among other newspapers, “Little Roy is absolutely unavailable,” or so to speak. (Don’t worry, I’ve had much more fun here at home.)

Because I once came close to dancing the Potomac Waltz, I’ve always been a reader and a big fan of The Washington Post. Sadly, and even tragically, Mrs. Graham’s newspaper has changed dramatically, quite more in recent years. Today everything that President Trump does is stupid and every word he says is a lie. The extremely liberal have infiltrated the media in a way that is devoid of common sense, in my opinion, this as I recognize there are many leftists who believe that to claim Roy Exum is devoid of common sense would be the kindest comment I might be afforded.

Last week President Trump persistently claimed Democrat politicians are soft on crime  -- which I know is true after the past weekend in Portland, Seattle, Detroit, Minneapolis, et al. Chicago, where in last week which ended on Saturday midnight in “the nation’s shooting gallery,” the Sunday tally was 125 shot and wounded, 25 killed.

That’s in one week. In just the month of June – which ends tonight at midnight -- there have been 533 human beings – these are Americans – shot in their hometown and 87 pronounced homicides. That computes to the mathematical summation that a person is shot within the Chicago city limits every two hours, 33 minutes, and that is in an entire 24/7 month. (30 days x 24 hours = 720 hours)

Last Thursday President Trump repeated that America’s most dangerous cities are all run by Democrats. Washington Post reporter Phillip Bump loudly proclaimed – in a front-page story, that was a lie. The reporter, using the FBI’s Criminal Crime Report, cited – for example, that while the top 20 most dangerous cities in America per capita have 19 Democratic mayors, the mayor for Springfield, Mo., is independent.

On the Top 20 Most Violent Cities overall, there are two mayors who are independent and … aha … the mayor of Jacksonville is a Republican. You see, out of 40 cities on the two lists (some overlap) there are 36 Democrat mayors, three independents, and one Republican. Advantage: Mr. Trump.

For the record, Chattanooga is 18th on the FBI’s Worst 20 in the U.S. per capita. The city experienced 783 cases of aggravated assault per 100,000 people in 2018 — more than triple the national average. Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke is a Democrat and, in my opinion and the majority of others, will be known as one of the most disappointing we’ve had in our history.

Memphis is now the worst city in the country, with 1,943 crimes per 10,000 capita, and Nashville is 14th overall (25,000 capita). Both have Democratic mayors and – let’s face it – factually, Trump is right. 

As Beckett Adams of the Washington Times responded, “In other words, Trump is wrong because he is only 95 percent correct when he says that Democrats control the 20 most dangerous cities in the United States because the mayor of one of the 20 cities with the most violent crime per capita is a registered independent, according to the Washington Post.

“This is an embarrassment for everyone involved. It is also a disservice to the paper’s readers, who deserve a bit better than desperate 'gotcha' attempts.”

* * *

Yes, our once responsible and accountable giants, like my beloved Washington Post, the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and even USA Today, have fallen badly off plumb and unless someone jerks them up and returns them to common decency, there will not be a newspaper to be found in America in about 15 or 20 years. And we with printer’s ink still in our veins … we weep.

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