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Musings on doing the right thing

Date: 10/4/2010

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

A lot of things are on my mind this week, so let's go.

I received a call from "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, who wanted our readers to know what kind of kids turned up at the benefit wrestling match at the Chicopee Boys & Girls Club on Sept. 25.

Duggan ripped his pants after the match as he was hurrying to get into a car to bring him to New York City to catch a plane. He changed in the men's room of the club and dropped his cell phone loaded with his business contacts and his wallet -- loaded with cash from various wrestling gigs.

After ten minutes of searching, he was sure his valuables were gone. He told me in 31 years of wrestling he had never lost his wallet.

Two youngsters found the items, though, and returned them intact to the veteran wrestler.

Duggan didn't get their names in the rush to make his flight, but he was very impressed with the honesty these kids showed and wanted me to pass along the word that, in this time when we mostly hear about young people making the wrong choice, these two kids made the right choice.


Recently, when I spoke at a meeting of the West Springfield Rotary Club very nice people by the way I was asked about media bias in favor of President Obama.

While some people think the press gives him some sort of free ride, I don't.

Obama recently signed a $30 billion bill that helps small businesses and I had a hard time finding reports about it on the Web. While I found some coverage when I searched for it on Google, I was surprised not to see reports from major news organizations. I also tried to find coverage by adding "NBC," "CBS," and "ABC" to my search phrase.

I then went to and searched in its news site for the phrase "small business legislation signed." There was nothing there.

This is why I have a hard time accepting the notion of the great liberal media bias and why I also reject the talking point that conservative viewpoints aren't easily found on mainstream media outlets. Conservative talk radio dominates that medium, which is controlled by large corporations. It's not some underground movement.

FOX news is certainly prominent on television and there are plenty of conservative pundits on the network talk shows.

Each week the cartoons I receive from our syndication service -- King Features, Inc. -- are mostly conservative in nature.

I try to include in these papers political news that reflect the local spectrum of issues and candidates. It would be great if my national colleagues believed in that concept as well.


Speaking of political coverage, I have been asking the Charles Baker campaign for months to arrange a sit down interview with the Republican candidate for governor.

Sometimes I get an answer along the lines of "the next time we're in Western Massachusetts, we'll think about it." Other times it has been silence.

Now, I think I have a pretty good reputation of covering Republican candidates. So far no one has complained that I've done a bad job.

And considering we have about 120,000 readers for our four editions, one would think a front-page story would be considered a good value.

I've read that Baker does care about Western Massachusetts, but I'm not feeling much love here.

If any Baker supporters want him to get some free ink here, please let him know the offer is still on the table.


Tony Curtis died last week. As a kid, he was one of my favorite actors. I had the chance to meet him in 1994 when I was covering the Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA), the trade show for the home video industry back when there was a home video industry in Las Vegas.

The VSDA was a great trade show. Essentially, video storeowners would gather to find out what was coming out and make deals for the coming year. The studios and distributors would give them a variety of give-aways and have movie stars at their displays signing autographs and schmoozing with customers.

Curtis was at a booth promoting some direct-to-video Hollywood docu-drama thing and he was two or three minutes late. He apologized to the first two or three people in line and then started greeting folks, taking care to look at their nametags and call them by name,

When it was my turn, he said, "Hello, Mike. I'm Tony Curtis. What can I do for you?"

I wanted to say, "a hug," but I settled for an autographed photo.

He was a vastly under-appreciated actor whose career started to slump in the 1970s and never recovered. To see him in one of his best, catch "The Sweet Smell of Success" the next time it's on TCM.

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