April 06, 2020

A missed opportunity

Typical of the Bangor Daily News, they have demonstrated their political preferences by opting to give the anti-war protesters more space than the tribute by the National Guard members in Portland on the Oct. 2 front page.

Even more appalling is the fact that the BDN had the opportunity to report on an incredibly moving story of support for Cpl. Brian Smith Jr., USMC, who was injured in Iraq recently and escorted to his home in Blue Hill on Sept. 16 from Bangor International Airport by a convoy that consisted of vehicles from three police departments, seven fire departments, two barracks of the Maine State Police, the Blue Knights Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club, the Patriot Guard Riders, Penobscot and Hancock County Sheriff’s departments, the American Legion of Blue Hill, along with family members, myself and husband. The news was broadcast live by two radio stations giving bystanders the opportunity to honor Cpl. Smith along the way.

All media were notified weeks in advance of the upcoming event in great detail, emphasizing the preference that it be reported from Blue Hill. Then a last-minute call was placed by me to all media and all of the agencies participating in the convoy.

The BDN covered the story by telephone the afternoon Cpl. Smith arrived home with one photo of him arriving at the airport the previous night.

Rather than front-page news, a brief summary was placed on the State page. Two television stations covered the story from Bangor prior to the convoy leaving, and one television station conducted an interview with the Smith family the following day.

Those decisions in reporting the story are extremely disappointing and insulting to those participants in the convoy and the hundreds of bystanders who cheered Cpl. Smith along the way with the exception of The Ellsworth American and The Weekly Packet.

Laurie (Nichols) Kelly

Blue Hill

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