Daniel Shorr once said “if you don’t exist in the media, for all practical purposes you don’t exist.” I’ve always subscribed to that theory, but two newspaper articles this week left me questioning my rationale. The Arizona Republic tarred us with one ugly brush of hating kids (though that was nothing compared to the follow-up by posters). And then to pour a little more gasoline on the fire, this New York Times article was nearly as nasty.
It seems every time the Arizona Republic does a Sun City story, the hate mongers come out in force. And while having my picture splashed across the country with Jane Freeman should seem like a “big deal,” i am really disappointed in the article written by Marc Lacey from the Phoenix Bureau of the NYT. We spent two and a half hours talking about what makes Sun City great and 30 seconds talking about kids or the lack thereof. I liked Marc a lot and was comfortable this story wasn’t going to become just another tacky ploy to sell papers; i thought the New York Times was well above that.
I guess we should be used to these kinds of age exploitation (and the accompanying Depends jokes) by now, but every time i see them i want to scream. Sun City is simply a sum total of its parts. There are hundreds of pieces to the puzzle that makes us a complete picture and that fact there are no kids here is just a small portion that has contributed to our success. Suggesting we made it for 50 years because we hate kids is journalism at its worst.
Worse yet are the attacks on SCHOA for doing their job. The age restricted nature of our community is part and parcel of the Federal Fair Housing Act. SCHOA is the reporting organization that yearly has to prove to the Feds we still qualify. The numbers of people trying to move into Sun City that are underage is off the charts and threatens our very existence. One only has to look at the mess Youngtown is to see why this is so critical to our future.
Come on journalists, making fun of or throwing stones at senior citizens may make easy targets, but it certainly shows little class and even less journalistic integrity. Balanced reporting was always what I heard they sought as their goal. However when it comes to Sun City, way too many of them just want to come out swinging. Sadly most of our residents will sit and take it, but i’ll be damned if I will, at least not without swing back.