As the Oak Lawn Leaf hit a milestone recently, recording 2,400 Facebook Likes, some Oak Lawn Village officials and one “weakly” media member continued to attack our publication as hard copy papers lose readers while we’ve doubled our likes in one year.
Oak Lawn Village Manager Larry Deetjen has been a constant and consistent critic of online media outlets, including the Oak Lawn Leaf, social media sites and even “bloggers”. Recently, he spoke at a village board meeting and tried to claim that crime had not increased despite FBI crime statistics that prove otherwise. Undeterred, Deetjen stared down the camera lens and said, in part, “…We’ve seen the onset of blogging on the internet, information that when one reads it you assume those are the facts. Contrary to being factual, most instances there is a lot of misinformation and opinions. It’s a free world, we have a very free society. People are entitled to opinions and that’s the case.”
With crime increasing, you would think the highest paid Village Official would spend time finding a way to protect the people of Oak Lawn but instead he has chosen to attack online media and social media outlets. But, Deetjen isn’t the only one whose temper is boiling over uncontrollably with inappropriate responses on the wrong target.
Surprisingly, a longtime member of the media, was hoodwinked recently by Trustee Alex Olejniczak who told the “veteran” opinion maker that crime had not increased in Oak Lawn. The statement by Olejniczak was wrong, if not an outright lie. You would think that the veteran newspaper man, who we assume has a degree in journalism, would have called Olejniczak on the carpet for the misstatement.
By the way, we know it was a misstatement because the FBI statistics, which we published, showed an increase in crime. That is public information that any reporter with or without a computer could have accessed. Another online media site was able to find the statistics and publish the same information. It doesn’t take much time to check your source if you want to stay relevant in an age where information flows directly to readers from various sources.
Instead, the reporter/columnist, wrote an opinion piece that attacked us. You see, we had referenced Olejncizak’s statement to the reporter (WHICH WAS PUBLISHED) giving full an appropriate credit to the reporter and publication in a story noting that Olejniczak was wrong and misled the media. We didn’t call the reporter names, imply that he had sand for brains, or that he was lazy and gullible.
Despite our restraint, that story didn’t sit too well with the columnist who huffed and puffed about how newspapers are a better choice for news than online media. In his opinion piece, he nonsensically claims we should have called him even though that story wasn’t about him. Quite frankly, there isn’t anything that he could have added. We aren’t even sure what we would have asked unless he wanted to tell us why he didn’t check his source with real published data. We figured that once a boil is off the body you don’t continue to apply medication as it lies gasping for life to attach itself to a living organism.
In fairness, he did claim we got one insignificant point wrong. The only correction he could make to our story was that he claimed he called Olejniczak and not the other way around as we reported. Oh boy, we’ll take your word for it on that irrelevant piece of trivial nonsense. We apologize for not writing that he called Olejniczak but that sure doesn’t change the fact that HIS story was misleading.
Since that publication, which is owned by a politician, took the time to critique our work, we will do the same for his story. He wrote that he didn’t see proof that the Bury administration was hiding crime reports. Perhaps, he missed the stories showing exactly that fact, when the administration had to admit that it doesn’t provide all the police reports to any media source, including that one. This is the same administration that the Oak Lawn Leaf caught lying about complaints regarding 9-1-1 operations. If he saw the stories and doesn’t understand the significance, perhaps time has passed him by much like the once a week newspapers that many grew up with years ago.
Maybe the opinion columnist was too busy telling us why we should read his newspaper, which has provided exactly “0” investigations in the last year. It may be longer than that but we are too busy putting this publication together on a daily basis to research more than a year of stories of that weekly publication.
Yet, he was boiling mad because we didn’t ask him how he let one Trustee mislead him as the FBI was releasing documents contradicting those obvious false statements. Some of our readers suggested the reporter was looking for publicity and trying to get us to boil over with anger. For that reason,we refuse to acknowledge him by name.
Hard copy newspapers are on the way out and even the crustiest of old reporters will admit that it is a whole new media age. They claim they are adapting but it doesn’t seem to be true. Instead of protecting politicians who lie they should be digging, refusing to take statements at face value and finding the truth for the readers. Because if they don’t do it, we’ve proven that we will.
Readers have the ability to get their news from various sources. We are just one source and we applaud the work of those that wish to compete fairly. After doubling our “Facebook Likes” in one year, we are not about to let people with agendas, like competing columnists or village managers, attack the Oak Lawn Leaf specifically or online media sites in general.
We want to thank the people who registered the 2,400 likes on Facebook, the readers who regularly, if not religiously read our stories, the people who question us and demand documentation, our sources, and of course, our reporters.