Of course, if I could buy all the papers in the Midwest the first thing I would do is get rid of Speakout. Then I would lose all my money because people would stop buying papers andů oh well, you get the idea.
Personally, I despise Speakout. Think about it for just a second. Any idiot can call and basically accuse anybody of anything, whether it true or not. Personally I have been called a bigot and an idiot among other names in Speakout and just the other day a caller accused me of plagiarism.
Now first let me clear the air of that ridiculous statement. I have not or would not every plagiarize anything in any of my columns. For one it is wrong and two, it takes way too much time and effort. Anybody that knows me also knows I spend as little time as possible cranking out this senseless drivel on Monday afternoon and then give it to our publisher to approve. I certainly don't spend my days looking for something to copy to make me sound witty.
With that said, instead of, I don't know, approaching me or asking me, this person calls into Speakout and makes accusations without even leaving his or her name. And that is the reason I hate Speakout.
You see Mr. Speakout can call and say any slanderous statement he wants about anything and all we can refer to him as is "Mr. Speakout" because they are anonymous.
I write this column every week and if somebody in the city or in the world irks me I write about it. I gripe and complain as much if not more than those who use Speakout as their voice. But the only difference is I use my name and am held accountable. I don't hide in the shadows and try to cause trouble, I stand in the spotlight and try to cause trouble.
Fortunately our publisher reads through the Speakout calls before they run in the paper and normally he takes out those that are questionable in nature. You should see some of the stuff that gets left on the cutting room floor. This town is full of crazy people. Just ask our lady who transcribes it.
But that is just one of the many things that annoy me about Speakout. Have you ever noticed the callers who just want to know a phone number? Umm, here is a hint. Look in the phone book. That is what we have to do when we answer your idiotic question.
And some of the really irritating Speakouts are those asking where certain KFVS-12 anchors are. Just because we are also in the news business doesn't mean we know when the weather guy goes on vacation or when the anchor takes another job. If you want to know that information, call KFVS-12. Ahh, of course then they would just call Speakout and ask us for the dang phone number.
While we are on annoying Speakout things, you wouldn't believe the people who call in and start with "I know you won't print this?" If you know we won't print it, why are you calling?
And then there are the Speakout regulars. Apparently some people don't have anything to do during the day but call in Speakout. And they talk about anything and everything at all hours of the day. As soon as you start to transcribe the stuff you can tell right off the bat who these callers are.
Granted, there are some funny Speakouts and some that have very valid points. For example, I can't get enough of those calls about how ridiculous the city's brick streets are. They are priceless.
Nevertheless, regardless of my opinion, Speakouts are here to stay. And I'm sure this column will invariably invoke more Speakouts but don't worry, I keep some of my best Speakouts pinned up on the bulletin board behind my desk as a sort of trophy. Also they serve as a reminder to me that we should be "thankful for the fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed." And yes Mr. Speakout, I didn't come up with that on my own. It was Mark Twain.