After reading the editorial which ran in the Baltimore Sun last weekend, I just sat and shook my head.
Although I agree with the editorial that the comments President Trump made last week toward the city of Baltimore and its citizens were wrong, the editorial printed in the Baltimore Sun on the 27th was just as bad, if not worse. A copy of this editorial is also printed on the Star-Herald Opinion page for those who have not seen it.
The newspaper industry fights enough accusations of being biased without publishing personal attacks that are borderline libelous. This was completely irresponsible by the Baltimore Sun and does not do our industry, or our nation, any good.
Readers will note the last paragraph of the editorial to be a blatant attack on President Trump with accusations of his past headlines that were proven to be no more than tactless rumors. I, as much as anyone, am open to a difference of opinion. But as we discussed in my column last week, free speech can be taken too far. And the Baltimore Sun did so by sharing their libelous views toward the president.
Yes, Trump's comments were not really toward Baltimore, but more toward U.S. Congressman Elijah Cummings. Cummings, who has been in his position to oversee Baltimore since 1996, has been a loud opponent of the president.
In 1999, the poverty rate for Baltimore, just three years after Cummings began his watch over the 7th district, was at 18.8%. Since then, the poverty level has increased yearly reaching its highest at 24.2% in 2014. Today, it sits at 22.4% and has declined since Trump came into office. So how can Cummings and The Baltimore Sun see the poverty issues in Baltimore as the failures of anyone else but themselves?
Baltimore does rank among the highest cities in poverty rates across the nation, but is not the highest. In fact, Baltimore doesn’t even come in the top 12 in a report published by MSN this past April.
I’ve lived in cities where crime was high, close to seventh highest in the nation. The same city had an unemployment level of 14.9% and a poverty rate of 24.1% this past year. And it was, as is Baltimore, a city run by a democratic government that continue to watch their city crumble around them. What is of interest to note, 10 of the top 12 cities that have high poverty levels, have democratic governments at both the city and state levels.
The people elected to run any local or state governments struggling similarly to those mentioned above, have failed their constituents. The changes desired by the Baltimore Sun, its citizens and government officials must come from the election of better candidates. The Sun, as all other media facets, can help this by informing and educating citizens on local candidates. To ensure citizens have the best information available when heading to the polls. In essence, they can help lead Baltimore to a better future. But their bias must be removed before doing so.
Overall, the nationwide poverty level has decreased to 12.3% today from 14.8% in 2014 since President Barack Obama moved on.
Communities with high poverty rates did not get this way overnight. And quite possibly, some may never get fixed without some form of state or federal intervention. The corruption runs deep, especially in the government sectors of cities such as these. I know, I have seen it firsthand.
More than 20 states across our nation allow their state government to takeover city governments due to a floundering economy that those elected can’t seem to, or want to, fix. Maryland, unfortunately, is not one that can do so.
Baltimore’s only hope for an intervention would be at the federal level. But should the federal government and Trump do so? I don’t think so. If you allow federal intervention to take over your city, 1) the door is now open for all struggling communities to be handled the same, and 2) you may not like the processes put into place.
In my opinion, if citizens want change, then go to the polls. Not just every four years, but also for local and state elections. Taking the control of their cities back, and electing people who will represent them the way they said they would. Don’t leave it up to others to do that for you. Because in the end, you may not like their way either.
All in all, neither The Baltimore Sun, Cummings nor Trump have done any good for the citizens of Baltimore during this war of words. And aren’t we the people, who really matter?