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Whittle: Just the facts please!

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By DAN WHITTLE

Too much TV can be bad for your noggin.

There I was the other evening, minding my own business, nursing the crud, when some paid idiot on television blared out: "Elvis is not dead. That's not his body in the grave at Graceland."

Thus, we have another media-born 'conspiracy.'

One talking head credited a man dying with cancer had agreed to go in the casket in place of Elvis.

Similar conspiracies bubbled up after New Years Day, 1953, when it was confirmed Grand Ole Opry Super Star Hank Williams Sr. had died in a car en route to perform in Ohio.

"It's eerie now in the 1990s, that folks still believe Hank is still alive," confirmed the late Hillous Buttrum, a member of The Drifting Cowboys' band in 1953, in an exclusive interview he gave this newspaper reporter!

Elvis' death back on Aug. 16, 1977 is one of those events you know where you were standing or sitting when news of his death came over the radio.

I was helping 'make up' page 3 in the Carthage Courier newspaper the afternoon of Aug. 16, 1977, along with editor Murphy Fair and Publisher Hershel Lake, when news broke King Elvis had died.

Same is true for Hank Williams. I was slopping the hogs out at the barn when Momma Whittle hollered from our farm house: "Hank Williams died this morning."

I was chopping weeds in a soybean field back home in the Bootheel farming country of Southeast Missouri when we learned Patsy Cline had perished March 5, 1963 in a field across the Mississippi River near Camden, TN.

President John F. Kennedy's assassination in Dallas is the most infamous milestone day where most Americans know where they were standing when Walter Cronkite lost composure on CBS Network.

The conspiracy theories that assassination launched are still spread as 'fact' around the globe.

I was pulling into a parking space at the Holiday Inn in Poplar Bluff, MO, when a news bulletin confirmed Martin Luther King had been gunned down on April 4, 1968 at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis.

Cannon Courier colleague Mike Vinson was the last journalist to interview James Earl Ray.

After that interview and multiple interviews with James Earl Ray's brother in McMinn-ville, TN., columnist Vinson is penning a movie script there was a conspiracy of people, instead of James Earl Ray involved in the death of Mr. King. Ray died on April 28, 1998 recanting his confession to his grave he had not fired the rifle that killed Dr. King.

The Rev. Dwight Faircloth, a promoter of gospel music in Middle Tennessee, was a ticket agent for Piedmont Airlines at Nashville International Airport the day Elvis died. He especially remembers where he was standing the day King Elvis died, which happened on Momma Whittle's birthday.

"We had one flight scheduled that afternoon to Memphis," Faircloth recalled. "When the news broke that Elvis had died, that flight was over-booked almost instantly ... and when the plane landed at Memphis, folks at that airport called, wanting to know where was the luggage. We told them: 'There is no luggage. Folks just wanted to get on the plane to get to Memphis to be near Elvis and the family."

As a bona fide dyed-in-the-wool newspaper writer/devotee, it's my belief that 24/7 round-the-clock cable news networks and hundreds of cable channels have been bad for real journalism and great for fake news. The need for news feeds never ends, thus they slap anything on the air to fill time slots now.

Need evidence? Why do you think the news types in New York, Washington and Los Angeles now interview each other, as opposed to going out and gathering the facts?

It's destroyed the art of presenting new facts and letting the public make their own decision about what is real and what is fake news.

I'm like actor Jack Webb, the old detective on the television series "Dragnet" back in the 1960s: "Just the facts!"

Give me my hometown newspaper and "just the facts" please.

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April 11, 2017 at 10:22am
The truth is not conspiracy. All of the information that you need is on my website: The Presley Assignment (thepresleyassignment.com)
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