Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Responsible Journalism

I always like to look at the headlines on Yahoo's home page, mainly because I no longer subscribe to our local paper the Atlanta Journal Constitution (and they know why!) Anyway, it's not only a quick way to get a glance at what's going on in the world, it's also a place to find just stunning examples of the most top-notch journalism available!

For example. This story from the website "OddNews" with the reasonable, objective-sounding headline:

‘Pure evil’: City caps sewer of woman fighting to live ‘off the grid’

 The fight of Cape Coral, Florida resident Robin Speronis to live “off the grid” has escalated with the city’s recent decision to cap her access to the sewer so she can no longer use it. It’s a move she calls, “pure evil.”

Gee, that does sound like a total dick move on the part of Cape Coral, which is a city in Florida so what did you expect?

Since November 2013, WFTX Fox 4 has reported on Ms. Speronis’ ongoing battle with the city to live without most utilities. The self-sufficient woman has lived for more than a year-and-a-half using solar energy, a propane camping stove, rain water, and eating mainly non-perishable food

Wow, she sounds like she could be a pretty awesome environmentalist. Also, she sounds like she could be a paranoid Libertarian nut. So I Googled her to find out.

Yep, Loonie Libertarian!
Here's a sample from her website:

The basic premise that people have rights that can trump government power is not seriously disputed, at least not in the America that I grew up in. Natural rights, in particular, are considered beyond the authority of any government or international body to dismiss.

She has written three books with chapter headings like:
2  Our Founding Fathers Did Intend For Us To Have Medical Freedom – Just Like Religious Freedom

5  Noncooperation With Evil A Moral Obligation

  We Are At War With Our Government…Yes We   Are…!!     

And let's not forget Chapter 8:

8  Where I Buy My Colloidal Silver Generators      

Yeah, Colloidal Silver, the substance that offers all sorts of health benefits like turning people blue, and um. . . that's pretty much it.


Also, it seems she may have killed her husband:
She has been in Restaurant Management, a Massage Therapist, an Esthetician, and a Real Estate Broker. Her advanced studies in the Natural Sciences allowed her to completely free her husband from the healthcare system and home death him naturally.

Robin considers her first book, “My Love Was Greater Than My Fear: Freeing My Husband Completely From The Healthcare System And Home Deathing Him Naturally”, as detailing the basis of the foundation of her “off-grid” journey.

But I digress.
So she's a nut. But it seems like she certainly has the right to live "off the grid" if she wants to. And it doesn't seem right that the city should be punishing her for that choice. Oh, but wait. This is a story about a right-winger being "victimized" by evil guv'mint bureaucrats, so there's probably going to be a little more to it. . .
What if we scroll all the way down to paragraph 5, past the helpful photos of her rain barrels and her pro-bono lawyer, past the part where most people have already gotten bored with this story and are searching for Kim & Kanye news. . . and. . . yep! There it is!

Also discussed at the special hearing was the fact that Speronis had been using the sewer system for the past year yet not paying for the service amassing a past due bill in the thousands. After her testimony admitting that she had used the service without paying for it, the city decided to cap the sewer line.

Ohhhh, the city is stopping her from using the sewer because she hasn't been paying her goddamnded sewer bills! well, I'm sure this was just an innocent oversight on her part, she'll probably be making arrangements to pay what she owes, and. . .

 Connie Barron, Cape Coral spokesperson told The News-Press, “She also gave clear indications she does not intend to pay for this service but intends to continue to use the system. We really had no choice but to cap the sewer.”

Damn! Someone get the Pulitzer Prize Committee on the phone, I think we have a winner! A story about a freeloader finally having her services cut off for lack of payment turned into a tale of a poor innocent victim of a "pure Evil" local government? This story will be taught in Journalism classes for decades!

Oh, and here's another little tidbit about Ms Speronis hidden down at the bottom of the story:

Speronis’ time living on the grid hasn’t gone so well for her either. As reported by the Cape Coral Daily Breeze , in June 2011, she plead no content to larceny, and was sentenced to 10 years of state probation and ordered to pay $32,000 in restitution. In January 2012, she had her real estate license revoked following a second complaint that she had not returned a $3,500 deposit following a failed condo sale.