Letter to the Editor: Nonsense

On March 9, Thoroughbred Daily News published a letter to the editor that lambasted the Thoroughbred industry’s media as biased while hiding his or her identity under the cloak of anonymity.

To which I answer without anonymity, nonsense.

I don’t really know the motivation of this anonymous toxic waste, although it fits into the pattern of blaming the media for just about everything that goes wrong in an industry or a society, whether characterized as “fake news” or not. The anonymous writer must have some beef with the industry and decided to turn to media bashing.

I covered my first horse race in 1978; I have worked for a major U.S. newspaper, the Philadelphia Inquirer; and I have been an editor or contributor to Thoroughbred publications, namely the Thoroughbred Record and Thoroughbred Times.

The motivation of most all the journalists I’ve encountered in that time, which probably number in the thousands, was to get the story and get it right. That means telling both sides of the story. True, I have seen instances where the text may have been influenced by a losing bet, and industry members have at times tried unsuccessfully to throw their weight around in publications.

But those instances are exceedingly rare. To say that these journalists are “dishonest,” to use the word of the anonymous coward, borders on libel. To take the Thoroughbred Daily News as an example, I have known Bill Finley since the early 1980s and have always—always—found him to be honest and dogged in getting the information correctly.

I read T. D. Thornton to help me understand complex topics, and I trust his reporting. I’ve known TDN Publisher Sue Finley for more than 40 years, and I can attest that her motivation is to present the news in an honest, accurate, and balanced publication.

They and others whose bylines appear in industry publications are not motivated by clickbait or negativity or fearmongering, to again dip into the anonymous writer’s bucket by bile.

If you are not accurate, honest, and balanced in your reporting and writing, you fail. Period.

These writers have not failed; some industry members may not like what they write, but you can’t please the biased individuals who turn to the anonymous poison pen to spew their grievances. Based on the last paragraph, a rambling dissertation about training champions and, well, I am not sure what, I can’t figure out what the grievance is.

The anonymous writer ends with the exhortation or command to “Be better.” From the perspective of almost 58 years in journalism, my experience has been that writers and editors get up each morning determined to be honest, accurate, and balanced in their work and thus to be better day by day.

Don Clippinger, an Eclipse Award winner, was editor of Thoroughbred Record and editorial director of Thoroughbred Times until his retirement in 2009.

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