An open letter to one-horse news

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It’s that time of year again, kids, when every single one-horse news rag in America sops up local viewers with snippets of fiery truck crashes and promises to show them something they absolutely will not believe is happening on their highways. The Tracy Morgan crash will be mentioned liberally, often without reference of any other sort — some of the news stories will just consist of a picture on the screen of a horrible truck accident and the anchor person frantically screaming, “Because Tracy Morgan!”

I’ve decided to just create a form letter for these purveyors of trash, because I tire of diligently firing off emails with the exact same information and corrections in them, no matter what station, paper or website they come from, although I will probably continue firing off emails because I can’t legally slap people and I need the stress relief.

So here’s a little ditty I may just cut and paste every time I see or hear the words “Tracy Morgan” or “killer trucks” in a news piece, and you have my permission to do the same. If they’re going to feed the general public the same load of ca-ca with every truck story, then they deserve to get the same email over and over again. Why should we be creative when they refuse to be? Feel free to tweak, mangle or discard it completely, and be advised there could be possible filthy lies or extreme sarcasm involved.

Dear every local news rag that does a once-a-year sweeps-week story about the atrocities of trucking,
First and foremost let me recognize your superb acumen with taking a piece that has been done ninety six thousand times, and making it exactly the same rhetoric it’s been for years now. The imagination and reporting skills displayed are certainly top of the line, if your line starts and ends with a troglodyte.

internet-newspaper-articleLet me direct you to this awesome thing called the internet, where you can look up statistics compiled by computers and number wizards, and people who keep records of actual events. I know your joy, I was excited when I found out about it in 1988, it will probably blow your mind, so be careful and start easy by just typing in something like “crash statistics for commercial vehicles” and this cool thing called “Pocket Guide to Large Truck and Bus Statistics” will pop up, along with about a gabillion other articles and websites about the trucking industry. It’s wildly informative — you should really try it sometime. FYI, this is also called “research.”

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In the interest that you just blow the entire research thing off, which I suspect you will, because it’s so much easier to regurgitate the same sensational Tracy Morgan story, over and over again, I’d like to take a passage from the aforementioned Pocket Guide and quote, “Of the approximately 327,000 police-reported crashes involving large trucks in 2013, 3,541 (1 percent) resulted in at least one fatality, and 69,000 (21 percent) resulted in at least one nonfatal injury.”

I don’t fault you if math isn’t your strong suit. I myself am somewhat defunct at cyphering, but I think 100 percent minus 1 percent is approximately 99 percent of reported commercial vehicle wrecks that did not involve a fatality, and while 1 percent is regrettable, it’s the smallest possible whole number the industry could have, so please, stop the “killer truck” attitude and approach. It’s a blatant and disgusting lie. Also, I have it on good authority that any news agency mentioning the name “Tracy Morgan” in a trucking industry piece without extreme cause will be put on a terrorist watch list by the gubmint, so save yourselves future trouble in obtaining passports and never mention the two in the same story again.

Thank you in advance for completely ignoring the time I took to compose this email — it delights me to correct people getting paid to distribute misinformation and horrify the uninformed public with the mangled wreckage of crash scenes instead of positive aspects of the trucking industry. No, really. I enjoy it like singing really loud in the shower, when no one but me is home, because I think I sound like a rock star, but no one is listening, so it really doesn’t matter much and I can relieve my stress without being arrested.

Also, truckers bring you everything, so consider that next time you decide to make them the bad guys.