Editorial roundup

The Columbus Dispatch, Jan. 22

Donald Trump’s latest salvo against the media and the U.S. intelligence community is to accuse both of planting “fake news” to delegitimize his presidency. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton supporters are blaming fake news (along with Russian hacking, the email imbroglio and FBI Director James Comey) for their candidate’s loss.

Hearing politicians and their minions bemoaning fake news might be mildly amusing. They are, after all, world-class fibbers and spin-masters. Planting fake information against the opponent has a long and lowly history; remember Richard Nixon’s dirty tricks team forging the “Canuck” letter to discredit Sen. Edmund Muskie? Or the pamphlet in the 2000 presidential primary picturing John McCain with his adopted daughter, an effort to fan racism by implying he had an illegitimate black daughter?

In 1802, a tabloid-like news story accused Thomas Jefferson of fathering children with slave Sally Hemmings. In more recent decades, tabloid stories of infidelity swirled around presidential front-runners Gary Hart and John Edwards. Oh, wait, all of these turned out to be true.

So fake news isn’t new. Likewise, it isn’t always fake. While people are buying into malicious, false reports— likely because it comports with their existing views or prejudices —politicians have turned the tables: They’re using the label to discredit legitimate reporting…


The Marietta Times, Jan. 20

When astronaut Eugene Cernan left the surface of the moon after a very active Apollo 17 lunar expedition in 1972, he knew he was the last man on the moon, at least for a while.

He didn’t suspect he’d be the last man on the moon for the rest of his life.

Cernan, who died Monday at age 82, didn’t have the all-American persona of John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth, nor the luck of being first, such as Alan Shepherd as the first American in space or Neil Armstrong as the first man to walk on the moon. But he was important to the space program as a true professional with a scientific heart and a pilot’s personality. His flights aboard an earlier Gemini mission and the lunar orbit of Apollo 10 were crucial to the six successful lunar landings, improving spaceflight all along the way.

He often teased that his Apollo 10 flight “painted the white line” for Armstrong to follow to the Sea of Tranquility in July 1969.

But in addition to the fun of being on the moon— it was an adventure for the dozen men who walked its surface —Cernan commanded the most advanced of the lunar missions…