Copyright 2005 Ben S. Pollock
Friday, July 1, 2005: In this morning’s papers, we read again of local officials asking people to informally not waste water, before conservation steps are ordered. Again, they say there is no shortage, just that it’s summer and yada, yada, yada.
In previous summers, though, there have been no mummers like this, given when there’s reporters to repeat them to the public.
Our reporters ask the officials, is there a drought, a shortage?
The officials emphatically deny there is any problem at all.
They have taken lessons from the Donald Rumsfeld School of Press Feeding. Rummie’s still getting good results from his non-denials. (And it must be noted that at least 40 years of presidential administrations have used these techniques.)
The local officials have been pressed a little. The resulting articles in passing explain that first Beaver Lake is in good shape but our growing communities are outgrowing the pipes and other infrastructure to get the water to their spigots. Second, it’s been a dryer spring than usual.
The non-denials are annoying; there shouldn’t be any problem with stating the pipes are maxing out.
But a stronger point to this Brick is, ongoing articles spend so much time giving the current pronouncement then a degree of background information, that the “why” essentially gets buried. This is what a column can do better than straight news and better than editorials.
This subject could be developed into a straight essay, full of comparisons with previous announcements and a look at, say, Southern California. And goodness knows it is ripe for satire. Hose me down with scarce water, it’s so tempting. –30–