Mainstream Media Fails

The Greenfield Recorder’s “Apology” For The Orange Fire Story Is Really Just A Bunch Of Excuses For Their Gross Incompetence

The Greenfield Recorder’s “Apology” For The Orange Fire Story Is Really Just A Bunch Of Excuses For Their Gross Incompetence

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Fake apologies are the worst. Everyone screws up, and that’s OK. Not the end of the world. But the purpose of an apology is to admit that you screwed up and vow never to do it again. If at any point in an apology you try to explain why you screwed up, then it doesn’t count as an apology.

We bring this up because the Greenfield Recorder issued this “apology” today, for printing statements from “witnesses” who claimed that the Orange Fire Department allowed two young girls to die in a fire because of their incompetence:

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Orange residents — especially their first responders — are in a world of hurt right now because they couldn’t save the lives of two young girls caught in a burning house Saturday. And we at The Recorder made things worse for them, the victims’ families and the broader community, with a Monday story that in the next-to-last paragraph reported comments from three bystanders implying that firefighters may not have done enough to save those lives.

Notice how he writes “next-to-last paragraph.” As if that makes it not as bad. Hey genius, it doesn’t matter what paragraph it was written in. Hey genius, it’s not really an apology if you’re going to downplay your gross incompetence.


Many of you have told us that reporting those statements was wrong. You are right; we need to apologize to everyone concerned for adding to the pain of this tragic event. It was never our intention to hurt anyone in writing the story, which also recounted the heroic efforts of a father, policeman and neighbor to get to the victims. But to report the story thoroughly, staff writer Chris Curtis gathered as much information as possible from officials and eyewitnesses, including the three neighbors who raised the difficult questions. He then took those questions to Orange Fire Chief James Young, who chose that day not to respond.

See what he’s doing there? He’s blaming the fire chief for not responding to their inquiries. Ya know, because he had just overseen a traumatic fire and probably didn’t wanna talk to the dooshnozzles from the Greenfield Recorder. And as a result the reporter had no choice but to interview the two meth heads who have been publicly faking a pregnancy for the last 6 months. 

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Newsflash – it’s not an apology if you’re making excuses for yourself. That’s all he’s doing there. Trying to find ways to justify their world class boner. You screwed up. Just own it and drop the mic. Don’t tell us why you screwed up. We don’t care. 

Asking questions is what a community newspaper reporter should do. Where things broke down was back in the newsroom during the editing process. At that point, we now realize, we should have refrained from publishing the neighbors’ assertions until we had more time to thoroughly investigate them. If we had waited until the next day (Tuesday), we could have asked Young again to provide details, interviewed more eyewitnesses and sought out other possible sources of reliable information.

Yea, why wait until you have facts that come out? No room for facts!! Better hurry up and get the story out there so you can get those clicks before someone else reports on it. 

As many of you know, we did ask those questions on Tuesday and produced an article (published Wednesday) that contained significantly more detail — including praise from neighbors for firefighters’ valiant efforts and word that those efforts might have been hampered by a faulty hydrant or other water-supply issues.

No one cares about your follow up story. The only reason you even did a follow up story is because of all the blowback you received from the first story. 

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The story also included a key insight: From their vantage point, the three witnesses who originally complained may not have been able to see the efforts firefighters were making in the rear of the house to rescue the people inside.

Oh, the FOLLOW UP story included this “key insight” that your sources were lying through their teeth. Ya know what else might have indicated that? A quick look at their Facebook pages, or a Google search for their extensive criminal records. 

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Like you, the reporters, editors and photographers at The Recorder are trying to do our best every day for the benefit of our communities.

Losers are always whining about their best. Winners go home and fuck the prom queen.

We must take responsibility for these failings, just as we lay claim to our successes. The only good thing about mistakes is we can learn from them, and we certainly will in this case — although I’m sure that’s of limited consolation to the firefighters and the families suffering today.

In what way are you “taking responsibility?” Besides just saying that you’re “taking responsibility?” What does that even mean? Have you personally apologized to every firefighter on duty that day? Have you sent them a gift basket? Anything besides a long winded excuse masquerading as an apology?

Anyway, mistakes do indeed happen. Just not this big. Should the Recorder close up shop? No. That will happen on it’s own though, because they’re part of a dying industry, and this is why. 



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4 Comment(s)
  • Adam
    March 11, 2016 at 9:09 am

    If newspaper’s want to be respected, they need to stop racing Twitter and Facebook to “get the scoop” and actually practice responsible journalism. Nobody cares if the story is a couple hours later, we care if its factual or not. That’s why nobody believes what they read on the internet. San Bernadino shooting is classic – news agencies reporting it was a group of anti-government white militia men with machine guns, turns out it was a muslim couple with semi-automatic rifles. CNN, NBC, etc have zero credibility at this point. These kinds of things are why more people ride the turtle than subscribe to print.

    “Professional” media needs to realize chasing social media is a losing battle and get back to their roots with some responsible journalism.

  • Reddog
    March 10, 2016 at 8:29 pm

    Clive,what an asshat.

  • The guy
    March 10, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    Hey at least they’re admitting they were wrong. Have you ever seen the telegram apologize for publishing Clive’s ridiculous racist garbage.

  • Raphael Mendez
    March 10, 2016 at 4:13 pm

    No matter how they slice it, their “apology” will always ring hollow. TBS is on point with this one…

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