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Editorial Roundup: Recent editorials in Arkansas newspapers

October 2, 2018

Here are excerpts from recent editorials in Arkansas newspapers:

Texarkana Gazette. Sept. 29, 2018.

When a news story makes it to social media, some interesting things can happen.

One, of course, is that the story gets spread, possibly going viral, which can be a good thing. More and more people are getting their information this way.

But too often they aren’t getting the whole story. Or even the right story.

In late September we ran a piece on the front page about the upcoming foreclosure sale of Central Mall.

The current owners defaulted on a loan, and the property will be sold. The mall will remain open as the management company — the folks who actually run the mall — is separate from the ownership. In other words, operations are unlikely to be affected anytime soon.

Well, in going from the printed page to Facebook, the story kind of changed. We have been seeing a lot of posts claiming the mall will be closing down completely. Maybe even bulldozed.

That’s not what’s happening. Not even close.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a story gone wild. And it won’t be the last.

A big part of the problem is that people read a headline and never bother to check out the whole story. They just make an assumption, comment about it and it goes from there. And the misinformation gets shared further until the truth is buried amid confusion.

In some cases it’s a minor misunderstanding that is easily corrected. In others it could affect an individual’s reputation or a business’s bottom line.

Social media can be a great tool for getting the word out. But do yourself a favor. Go to the source and read the whole story.

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Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Oct. 2, 2018.

Last week’s hearing with Judge Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, stirred a lot of emotions across the country. It left plenty of people inside Washington — and outside Washington — thinking that this country, or at least its Senate, had sunk to a new low.

But we’d like to make the case that at least one good thing has come out of Dr. Ford’s testimony: Her courage to take the oath, testify publicly and detail her own sexual assault has given courage to other survivors to come forward.

Victims of rape and sexual assault often say they don’t talk about their attacks for a number of reasons: fear, shame, pain and so much more. As a result, many who should be in prison simply go free about their lives, perhaps able to continue assaulting victims. While America is busy fighting about whether Judge Kavanaugh should be raised to the U.S. Supreme Court, previously silent victims and survivors are taking the initiative to step forward into the spotlight themselves, grab the microphone and reveal their own tragic tales.

For some, this means closure. For others, it means justice. Perhaps, for many, it means healing.

If there’s one thing this entire process has taught us, it should be the importance of listening. That doesn’t mean an automatic guilty verdict for people accused of such heinous acts. It just means listening to both the victim and accuser.

And we need to give the accused a chance to defend himself — and it’s almost always a him — before rushing to judgment. False accusations, although a rarity, are a reality. And it doesn’t take much to ruin someone’s reputation in the days of 24/7 news cycles and social media.

We’d say the jury is still out on the Ford/Kavanaugh situation, but the truth is, neither are on trial. There may never be a verdict. The only thing we can say for sure is that in many precincts in this country, there needs to be more . . . listening.

As a great Teacher once said: He who has ears, let him hear.

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Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Oct. 2, 2018.

One of the president’s trade advisers went on Fox News this weekend — where else? — to announce that NAFTA was dead. Perhaps. But it looks more like the North American Free Trade Agreement is less dead than just updated.

Thank goodness.

If President Trump needs a new name for the trade agreements binding the three biggest North American countries together, that’s fine. More than fine, actually. He likes to win, whatever that means to him this week. And this week a win for him is a win for the country — for this country’s workers, farmers and anybody who buys stuff.

It’s taken a year of negotiations--and this president likes the art of the deal. He also likes to keep campaign promises. So now we have the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. Like any deal, there was give and take.

Somebody thought it would be a good idea to require that a certain percentage of workers putting together cars and trucks be paid a minimum wage of $16 an hour, including workers in, for example, Mexico. That might boost the pay for a select few Mexican workers and perhaps some workers in the United States. Call it trickling up. But it will certainly increase the costs for the rest of us who buy cars and trucks. Expect to see sticker prices increase in the next two years.

Also, some experts told The Washington Post that it’s possible such rules will drive work for the smallest of cars overseas, meaning fewer jobs here. Once again, your minimum wage at work. (Tell us again why Arkansas voters should use the opportunity next month to increase our minimum wage above those of any neighboring state.)

President Trump’s people did get a major victory over Canada’s dairy farm system, and what a system it is. It’s called, ahem, “complex.” Which is how the Canadian dairy lobby likes it. In the end, the papers say President Trump insisted on opening up the dairy market north of the border. And got it.

Steel tariffs are still in place for some reason. Apparently the “marathon” negotiations over the weekend didn’t include this sticking point. Perhaps the better to get an agreement on everything else. But it also appears as though all sides are happy enough--winning enough--that optimism has become the norm. Leaders of all three countries have been telling the press that while steel wasn’t a part of this new USMCA agreement, they are working on separate deals for metals, including steel and aluminum.

Reuters reports: “While changing NAFTA and bringing down U.S. trade deficits was a top Trump campaign pledge, Sunday’s agreement largely leaves the broad deal intact and maintains supply chains that would have been fractured under weaker bilateral deals.”

And that’s fine with American workers and buyers. Not to mention the stock market. It was up nearly 200 points Monday.

What does NAFTA 2.0 mean to the United States’ other trading partners, friendly and otherwise, across the globe? A senior official in American government said the new deal is “a template for the new Trump administration playbook for future trade deals.”

And that was the best news of the day.

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