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Media Memorial Day Parade on Tap, Mayor McMahon Remembers Vietnam War

Media Mayor Bob McMahon remembers his year as a soldier in Vietnam like it was yesterday.

He volunteered to serve and, at 24, left for Vietnam in January 1968.

“My dad thought since I had a college degree, I’d get a desk job over there,” McMahon said. “So, I arrived as the Tet Offensive starts. We got off the bus, went to our shacks where we were going to be, and got attacked that night. The next morning a colonel came in front and said to me, ‘You are now in the First Infantry Division. You’re a platoon leader.”

During the Tet Offensive, which got its name from the Asian Lunar New Year holiday, North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces launched coordinated attacks in South Vietnam. The U.S. and South Vietnamese militaries sustained heavy casualties but eventually drove out the Communist forces. However, according to the U.S. State Department Office of the Historian, that event weakened public support for the war in the U.S.

McMahon’s platoon had started out with only 30 men; only nine were left after the bloody first night of the Tet Offensive.

“What we did there, we went out on ambushes, and we also did road duty, guarding roads,” he said. After more people were assigned to the platoon, “we then went down and patrolled the rivers outside of Saigon where Agent Orange came down.” Many have gotten cancer from exposure to that herbicide, including McMahon.

They patrolled six or seven days weekly, drawing out the enemy and radioing in their locations. “We had firefights,” he said.

“The worst day we had was March 31, 1968, when we all got attacked and lost some people,” he said.

“In June, I got the job of my life. I became a senior advisor to the South Vietnam company (Mobile Advisory Team 44). I took over, made good friends with them, got into firefights with them, and really loved working with them. I got to know the Vietnamese people very well.

“I lived in the villages, and that was the best part of it. I loved it.”

In the villages, McMahon protected, trained, and patrolled he was the primary American contact for residents. He oversaw 126 Vietnamese soldiers and worked with his counterpart and the village chief. It was a pilot program for public safety for three villages.

He stayed in Vietnam for a year until his son, Robert, was born, and the Army sent him home. During his time in Vietnam, he was awarded the Bronze Star.

McMahon is also father to Mark and Vicki and has four grandchildren.

When he became mayor in 1992, after serving on Media Borough Council for 10 years, McMahon got involved with the Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day parades.

This year McMahon will be announcing the parade as he always does, along with resident James “Ziggy” Ziegelhoffer.

The parade will start at 10 a..m. on Monday (Memorial Day) in front of the Media Theater on State Street and will end up at the county courthouse, where there will be speeches and a ceremony. He said the Penncrest High School band will be in the parade, along with Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops and kids who participate in youth sports. He expects county, state, and federal officials to participate.

He said the Memorial Day parade is shorter and more somber than the Veteran’s Day parade, since it honors those who gave their lives fighting for this country.

McMahon also serves as chairman of the board of directors for the U.S. Veterans Legacy Project. Its mission is to provide a platform for veterans to share their legacy with younger generations by sharing their first-person accounts of what it is like to serve our country.

 

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Tucker-ed Out: What Carlson’s Departure From Fox Means for 2024

When Donald Trump, the GOP’s presidential frontrunner, gave his first post-indictment interview, it was to Tucker Carlson on Fox News.

When Vivek Ramaswamy announced his candidacy earlier this year, it was on Tucker’s show.

And when Russia first invaded Ukraine, support for arming Kiev against Putin’s assault was the same among Republicans and Democrats. Then Carlson began speaking out against Ukraine and America’s support for the Zelenskyy government. “I don’t care what Putin does in Ukraine,” Carlson said.

After a year of Carlson’s messaging, Republican support for backing Ukraine has plunged.

Monday’s news that Fox News dropped Carlson in the wake of a $787.5 million settlement with Dominion Voting Systems is technically a media story. But because of the 53-year-old TV host’s influence on the GOP base, it is as much a story about politics as it is about ratings.

In the big picture, Carlson’s reach via Fox was relatively small. While he had the top-rated cable news show –indeed, he holds the record for highest cable news viewership of all time — his 3 million or so nightly viewers represent one percent of America’s population. (By comparison, CBS’s show “FBI” has about 8.5 million weekly viewers.)

But among Republican voters, particularly Trump-friendly activists, Carlson’s influence was massive. He turned news topics into political issues GOP candidates had to confront, and he focused the party’s base on policies like Critical Race Theory and ballot security.

“Tucker was the mainstay of the populist voice over at Fox,” former Trump advisor Steve Bannon said after the news broke. “With his departure, I don’t know why anybody needs to watch anything on the Murdoch empire.”

And Donald Trump, Jr. told right-wing radio host, Charlie Kirk, “It changes things permanently.”

Those changes are likely to be felt in the First in the Nation GOP presidential primary.

“Tucker leaving FOX means that maybe candidates can be themselves, rather than twisting themselves in knots in hopes of making Tucker happy, like DeSantis’ twists and turns on Ukraine,” former Republican National Committee political director Mike DuHaime told NHJournal.

Gail Huff Brown is a veteran news broadcaster who ran in New Hampshire’s First Congressional District GOP primary last year. She’s also the wife of former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown.

“I don’t know yet why Tucker Carlson was fired, but I have to admit it was a surprise since he’s a big fish in the Fox pond,” Huff Brown told NHJournal. “I do not think it will have a negative impact on Trump’s popularity in New Hampshire because Tucker will find a way to get his opinions out to his fan base via social media.

“Without Fox management having a say in Carlson’s opinions, he may be able to help Trump even more,” she added.

Radio talk host Jack Heath is a fixture in New Hampshire political media and a former news director at WMUR-TV. “I’m not sure Tucker Carlson’s absence on FOX will have a big impact, if any, on 2024 and the presidential race,” Heath said. “I think FOX has lost some overall punch as a news organization and viewership for a bunch of reasons which go beyond one host’s nightly show. But they are not alone. CNN seems lost these days, and I’m sure their numbers show it. People are tuning out to TV news across the country.”

On the stock market, Fox Corporation stocks fell three percent Monday, a sign of Carlson’s value to advertisers. But Granite State political strategist Perikilis Karoutas says he doesn’t expect a major shift in how GOP primary voters get their news, particularly here in New Hampshire.

“We have a larger share of older voters than most states, and it’s hard to change people’s behavior. People who watch Fox News every night after dinner aren’t going to stop because Tucker’s not there. It’s their habit,” Karoutas said.

Which is why, says veteran NHGOP consultant David Carney, the impact of Tucker’s departure “will depend on how they replace him. Yes, cable news is still huge with primary voters. Those other formats — social media, podcasts, Substack — are really one way and don’t have the visual impact of TV.”

And with or without Fox News, Carney said, “Tucker Carlson will still be loud and proud.”

Delco Inks Dam Agreement With Media and Broomall’s Lake Country Club

From a press release 

During Delaware County Council’s March 1 public meeting, County Solicitor William Martin announced the successful conclusion of the County’s negotiations with Broomall’s Lake Country Club and Media Borough.

The successful outcome comes after a decades-long issue related to a dispute between the County, the Borough of Media, and the Broomall’s Lake County Club over the appropriate usage of property adjacent to the sensitive Glen Providence Park and the possible rebuilding of a long-condemned dam that had once served as a bridge for vehicular traffic on 3rd Street between Media and Upper Providence.

“This is an issue that has been near and dear to many Media residents for decades,” said Delaware County Councilman Kevin Madden, who has worked on this project during his five years on Council. “As a Media native, it’s tremendously gratifying to finally be ending a 40-year quagmire that protects Glen Providence Park and reconnects these two communities.”

Under approvals that County Council granted in 2022, the County, the Borough of Media, and the Country Club have entered into a series of agreements that will result in the County’s purchase of a Conservation Easement over a portion of the Club’s property, resolution of long-standing litigation related to the breaching of a dam which had previously been on the edge of the Club’s property, and extension of an agreement for the County’s utilization of a parking lot owned by the Club.

The negotiated agreement will facilitate the dissolution of the 2011 legal stipulation that required dam reconstruction. The reconstruction of the dam would have permanently destroyed approximately one acre of the woods and wetlands of Glen Providence Park. The agreement includes a conservation easement on the four acres of Broomall’s Lake Country Club’s property that abuts the Park and requires that Broomall’s Run (stream) continue to flow freely into the Park, as environmental best practice dictates. In addition to preserving the land and ending the possible construction of the dam, the agreement also extends the county’s parking arrangement with the club, which provides overflow parking for jurors and County employees.

The new agreement states that Media Borough (with consultation with PennDOT) will have control over the future of a planned bridge on Third Street that will reconnect Media Borough and Upper Providence.

“The county is thrilled that this long-standing litigation has been resolved and that the county, the Borough of Media, and the club have reached an agreement after decades,” said Council Vice Chair Elaine Paul Schaefer. “This agreement allows for the continued stability of the Club, preservation of important green space, and for the community to plan, without the cloud of litigation, for the appropriate future of 3rd Street.”

Members of grassroots organizations Keep Media Green and the Friends of Glen Providence Park attended the meeting, expressed their enthusiasm for the long-awaited resolution, and commended the council for their efforts.

“Conservationists and park lovers in Media Borough are celebrating the agreement between Delaware County, Media Borough, and Broomall’s Lake Country Club that puts to rest a nearly 12-year-old plan to reconstruct a high-hazard dam at Third Street in Media,” said Terry Rumsey, co-Founder of Keep Media Green. “Rebuilding the dam would have damaged wetlands, woodlands, and wildlife habitat in Glen Providence Park and threatened the park’s stream valley. Delaware County Council deserves an enormous amount of credit for taking decisive action to protect our county park, as well as grassroots advocates from Friends of Glen Providence Park and Keep Media Green, who persevered for more than a decade. They are truly the green heroes of our community!”

Marc Manfre, director of Delaware County’s Department of Parks and Recreation, was also commended for his efforts leading to the agreement.

The US Army Corps of Engineers declared the dam unsafe in 1980 and closed to traffic in 1996 by the Borough of Media. It was built in 1883 to create a small lake for residents to harvest ice for produce, and later became the centerpiece for The Media Swimming and Rowing Club (created in 1919 and re-named the Broomall’s Lake Country Club in 1967).

Over the years that followed, several actions taken by Media Borough, the county, Broomall’s Lake County Club, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and several local civic organizations resulted in an impasse that affected the viability of the club, the sustainability of Glen Providence Park, and threatened to absorb millions of taxpayer dollars in litigation and contested actions.

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DelVal Residents Catch Eagles Fever

Delaware County’s Media Borough was a sea of green on Sunday afternoon as many Delaware Valley residents attended the “Birds Pep Rally Parade” in the lead-up to Super Bowl Sunday.

“Go Birds” and the “Fly Eagles Fly” fight song, along with other Eagles chants, resounded throughout the parade and pep rally as Eagles fans hope their local team wins it all on Sunday.

At the same time, other Eagles fans were attending the Super Bowl send-off on the 30-yard line of Lincoln Financial Field before the team headed to Arizona for the week.

Kane Kalas, son of the late legendary Philadelphia broadcaster Harry Kalas, served as emcee for the event. Kalas provided musical entertainment along with his band in front of Spasso Italian Grill as they included swingin’ American Songbook titles from his debut album High Hopes.

“This whole event was put together in just a couple of days, so we’re thankful everything worked out the way it did today,” Kalas said. “Our Eagles are going to be flying next Sunday, and I believe they’ll finish out on top.”

Michelle Mcgarvey and Tizianna Perry are both Media residents attending the parade as they displayed their support for the Eagles.

“This is a fun event because everyone in the whole town is gathered and united for the big game,” Mcgarvey said. “Everybody is happy and nobody is miserable.”

“Delaware County Eagles fans are some of the best in the area. Not many other communities have a parade like this before a game, so it’s a special feeling,” Perry said. “My husband didn’t come because he’s superstitious about the game, but it has been a great turnout for our community.”

The parade began in front of the Media Theatre and proceeded down State Street as a high turnout of local fans gathered to spread team spirit while wearing green.

“Nobody does a parade like Delco does a parade, and I want to thank everyone for coming out today,” Delaware County Council Chair Monica Taylor, Ph.D. said. “We want to acknowledge some of our other local elected officials in attendance today, including District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer and state Sen. Tim Kearney.”

Businesses in the Media Borough also benefited.

“When our local teams do well, so do our local businesses. This is a great opportunity for the community to support them and help them continue to grow,” Taylor said.

Delaware Valley residents have to wait another week to watch the big game. The Eagles take on the Kansas Chiefs at 6:30 p.m. on FOX in what is expected to be a memorable game.

Go Eagles!

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GRABOYES: Year-end Musings on COVID, Science, and Chainsaws

COVID-19 has provided a best-of-times, worst-of-times experience for expertise. The science has been spectacular, but discourse on that science has often been abysmal.

The same-year development, testing, and approval of vaccines was remarkable. The mRNA platform behind the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines could become the Swiss army knife of therapeutics. It’s already being mobilized against cancer and genetic illnesses.

I’m no virologist or geneticist, but experts I respect persuaded me of the vaccines’ safety and efficacy. I got jabbed as soon as possible and regret that others chose not to. I wear masks in some situations, and not others. I see people socially but avoid large crowds. I favored lockdowns and school closings in early 2020 but think they lingered too long. My guess is that jurisdictions focused on the most vulnerable populations (elderly, immunocompromised, etc.) will seem wiser in hindsight than those that applied draconian mitigation strategies over their entire populations.

I think I’m right on these things, though I recognize that future evidence might say otherwise. I’m grateful for the scientists who developed the vaccines but strive to maintain an open mind on all scientific matters, along with a sense of humility and a generous spirit toward those who disagree with me. A proper understanding of science demands no less.

The history of medicine offers ample reasons to avoid smug certitude which, unfortunately, is abundant on social and traditional media. Science is always about likelihood and never about certainty, though word apparently hasn’t reached Twitter and TV news.

Then there is the flagrantly political demeanor of so many COVID experts. I’m not at all prepared to say whether red states or blue states were wiser in their public policies. Too many confounding variables. I’ll make one exception, which is to say that the press and others besoiled themselves by relentlessly lionizing ex-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Today, few Democrats or Republicans quote his tweet from May 5, 2020: “Look at the data. Follow the science. Listen to the experts. … Be smart.”

Here’s why they shouldn’t. Science, like a chainsaw, is an exceedingly powerful and useful tool. But “follow the science” makes no more sense than “follow the chainsaw.” The chainsaw doesn’t know the safest way to cut a tree, and science—let alone some anthropomorphic vision of it—can’t weigh the tradeoffs between slowing COVID and shutting down schools and cancer surgeries.

Science informs individual and collective choices, which depend not only on those scientific findings but also on subjective preferences and one’s degree of confidence in those scientific findings. As for “listen to the experts,” Cuomo wrote the book on COVID expertise, and that book’s fall has been as spectacular as its author’s plummet.

Medical history is littered with experts who were spectacularly wrong. When Ignaz Semmelweis suggested that doctors employ antiseptic medical procedures (e.g., washing hands in maternity wards), medical experts were offended and conspired to destroy Semmelweis. When Stanley Prusiner suggested that misfolded proteins could cause mad cow disease and its human equivalent, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, he was pilloried as a heretic—a pejorative that didn’t entirely vanish when he received a Nobel Prize for his work. As physicist Max Planck said, “Science progresses one funeral at a time.”

In October, novelist and essayist Ann Bauer wrote a poignant column, “I Have Been Through This Before,” on her discomfort with the parade of cocksure COVID experts issuing ever-changing diktats and pronouncements. When vaccines didn’t end the pandemic, she wrote, “doctors and officials blamed their audience of 3 billion for the disease. The more the cures failed, the greater the fault of the public.”

The title of her column referred to her personal experience as the mother of an autistic son born in the late 1980s. Psychologist Bruno Bettelheim had hypothesized that autism was caused by “refrigerator mothers” who failed to show their children sufficient love—a theory we now know to be nonsense. But for a time, Bettelheim’s ideas were gospel-truth, showering mothers of autistic children with guilt and opprobrium. Today, he is regarded as something of a charlatan, but back then, he was a pop icon and celebrity expert on television. One questioned Bettelheim at one’s own peril.

During the pandemic, yard signs have sprouted with the message, “Science Doesn’t Care What You Believe.” For what it’s worth, chainsaws don’t care what you believe, either.

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FLOWERS: Media Blame Game: Rittenhouse vs. Waukesha

We barely had time to take a breath after the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse before tragedy occurred again in Wisconsin.  In the middle of a Christmas parade, a man who was reportedly fleeing the site of a crime barreled his SUV into a crowd of families celebrating the holiday season.  As of this writing, there are at least five confirmed deaths and numerous additional injured victims.  By any metric or description, this is a profound tragedy.

And almost immediately after the news broke on cable networks, people like anchor Pamela Brown at CNN and commentator Juliette Kayyam, also affiliated with CNN, asked for patience and calm.  They did not want us to jump to conclusions about motives.  They were worried that we might think this was an act of terrorism — or worse, they seemed to imply — an act of retaliation for the Rittenhouse acquittal.

This became even more relevant when the suspect’s identity was made public, and we learned that he was a Black man with a significant prior rap sheet.

Many others on social media pleaded for people to avoid jumping to conclusions.  This tweet from Nicki Clyne is representative of the more sober comments:

“I urge anyone covering Waukesha to get the facts and focus on the tragedy first. There will be plenty of time for politicizing later.”

I completely agree that this is what we should do. Indeed, it would be commonplace if we lived in a world that looks at the humanity of victims and victimizers and doesn’t assign political labels to them.

But as I noted in my response to Clyne, “It would be a lot easier for people to avoid politicizing if there isn’t already a long and storied history of people politicizing, and other people remembering when their side was on the wrong side of that political wrangling. I agree that in a utopia, we’d just be humans.”

That’s not where we are right now. No, we just saw a young man who never should have been put on trial for homicide acquitted by a jury of his peers. Then we saw President Biden say that jury’s verdict will leave many people “angry” and it was denounced as a form of “white supremacy” for hours on end by cable news hosts.

It is extremely difficult to look at how the media reacted before, during, and after the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse and not conclude that there is a double standard as deep and as jagged as the San Andreas Fault. And a hypocrisy that poisons the well of discussion and makes it impossible to take any of the suggestions about “patience” and caution on the part of that media as serious.

CNN, MSNBC, much of the print media and numerous blue check commentators on social media spent months demonizing a young man who was justifiably acquitted of culpability, based upon the applicable law of self-defense.  They knew the facts, saw the video, listened to the testimony, understood the context and still spent hours and hours vilifying Kyle Rittenhouse.

They did so because they had a story they’d already written and Kyle was the useful villain, in much the same way that Nick Sandmann was the villain two years ago as the “smirking, toxic male, white supremacist.”

When viewers see respectable news outlets doing this over and over again, twisting the facts to fit their predesigned social justice narratives and completely ignoring the facts and the law, it’s natural for them to become jaded. It’s normal to be suspect when, after weeks of attacks against white supremacy and conservative voters (because that’s what this is, political posturing and the 2024 election), these same media tell you to be patient. Don’t jump to conclusions. Don’t assume a man gunning his car like a guided missile through a Christmas crowd is motivated by a desire for vengeance.

What the CNN crowd accepts blindly (or hopefully) as tragic happenstance is not so easily dismissed as an “accident” by those who’ve repeatedly been labeled “racists.”

The media are the problem here.  The ginning up of anger against Kyle Rittenhouse, against the presiding judge at his trial, against the defense attorneys, against Kyle’s mother, against Kyle’s witnesses and the intimidation-by-proxy of the jury, created exactly the environment for people to reject patience and engage in politicization.

When the people who spent the last year and a half making everything about politics have the gall to tell you to take a breath and stand down, it’s the most blatant form of gaslighting.

So yes, it is good to wait for all of the facts to come out. But the media that crucified Kyle Rittenhouse and his supporters sure as hell aren’t the ones who get the right to preach patience to the rest of us.

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