Thursday, August 18, 2011

The week that was: Swedish babies to 9/11

Caroline Degel, looking like a Swedish mother

UPDATE: (Saturday morning)

So low and behold the Daily Hampshire Gazette managed an exclusive interview with the beleaguered Swedish mother in the midst of her 15 minutes of infamy, who states her time in Bueno y Sano only amounted to four minutes, not ten; and her boy is actually two years old, not one.

Since the police report only gave her surname, "Degel," the intrepid Gazette actually had to do some leg work--or these days--more like finger work on a keyboard to track her down.

The article itself reaffirms my initial reaction that the RP ("reporting person"), although in this case apparently a group of people, overreacted by calling 911 rather than seeking out the parent or simply waiting an extra minute or two for her to return.

Branding her a "bad mother" and following up with "people like you shouldn't have children" also reaffirms my initial thought that they were those ubiquitous Amherst know-it-all's who probably do not have children of their own.

If my now 4- year-old was awakened too early in her nap cycle back when she was 2, there was Hell to pay.

I also found it a tad tacky for the newspaper to simultaneously use this overblown incident in their weekly "Gazette News Quiz" appearing on the highly visible break page:

A Swedish woman caused quite a stir in Amherst earlier this week when she left what on the sidewalk for a few minutes?

(a) Photos of her marriage to Tiger Woods
(b) Five pounds of Swedish meatballs (which are illegal in Amherst)
(c) A miniature daschund
(d) Her 1-year-old son

Notice even the "correct answer" is incorrect, and they misspelled dachshund. I guess since the exclusive interview was done only on Friday, the News Quiz editor did not have enough time for checking copy.

A Swedish publication scoops the Gazette with interview of an obviously pissed off husband/dad.

Original post: (Thursday evening)

For a weekly newspaper the greatest gift is time. When the presses do not run until Wednesday afternoon you have time to check and recheck copy for news that happened over the weekend or even timelier events occurring at the beginning of the week; an extra margin of time to ponder the perfect headline and dwell even harder about where to position the story.

Because in news, as with selling real estate, location matters.

So I waited with anticipation early this morning for the weekly Amherst Bulletin to see how they would handle the non story that sparked national and international attention: Amherst's abandoned--but only for ten minutes-- Swedish baby story.

The Daily Hampshire Gazette placed it on Tuesday's front page under a foreboding headline: "State to look into report of baby left in stroller."

But I was pleased to see the non story, although still appearing on the front page, relegated to a tiny corner, bottom right, well below the fold. Lousy placement. And the almost as important headline was changed to something far less foreboding: "Cultural differences lead to trouble in Amherst."

God knows Amherst practices cultural sensitivity. Take for example the top story they did chose to place in the prized, above the fold, lead position: "A small but devoted Muslim congregation gathers in Amherst." And later in the lengthy article disclose the group would take part in an interfaith march in Amherst on the fast approaching 10th anniversary of 9/11.

Well I'm glad they found something, umm, non controversial to bump the Swedish baby caper?


Anonymous said...

Apparently sucking up to Islam trumps picking on parents.

Ed said...

And then there is this:

This is worse because???

Anonymous said...

How about baby in stroller - in the bed of a pickup

I blame Bueno- as it's not accessible
to strollers

Anonymous said...

Oy. I guess we should be glad we don't live in Florida ... ???

Ponzitown does it again! said...

Amherst = ubiquitous shit

Viva la mirage utopia! Viva la Prozac clouded freak-a-zoidal RevoluciĆ³n!!!

(LOL what a dump)

Anonymous said...

It makes me very angry that this woman had to suffer through an invasive and embarrassing state investigation simply because some busy-bodies outside Bueno y Sano massively overreacted to seeing a toddler alone in a stroller. This child was in absolutely no danger until DSS became involved.

Anonymous said...

"This child was in absolutely no danger until DSS became involved."

Unfortunately- this is a true statement.

Anonymous said...

"this child was in absolutely no danger"? Are you serious? Do you read the paper or watch the news? Every Day children are kidnapped, raped, filmed for videos, and MURDERED. Do you think it can't happen in Amherst? As I posted in the link above there are chid rapists living around Bueno Y Sano. Please explain how that child was in no danger. At some point the mother had to have taken her eyes off the child, just to order and pick up her food, and that is more than enough time for one of these freaks to grab the carriage and walk away. Explain how this is acceptable parenting. Further, she has lived here for a year, it doesn't take that long to learn that this is not done here. Think about it, when was the last time you saw a two year old unattended. Get your head out of the Valley bubble and realize that it happens, and sooner or later it will happen here. Richard.

LarryK4 said...

Well it has certainly not happened here in recent memory--and my memory goes back quite a ways.

Not to say it will never happen here. But probably not in the center of town on a Friday afternoon.

Anonymous said...

"Think about it, when was the last time you saw a two year old unattended." In Amherst, that happens a lot as the parents chat. It drives me crazy.

Anonymous said...

"In Amherst, that happens a lot as the parents chat. It drives me crazy."
Yep -parents sitting on bench on N Pleasant St chatting while their young child (2 to 3 yrs old) stands behind them alone at the edge of the street...
Sure made me take notice!

Anonymous said...

I like the comment from the father -- "American police carry guns" -- it raises a very serious question if the police should be investigating some of the things they are.

it raises lots of questions about the practice of having them do the mental health evaluations of UM students -- they and not licensed mental health professionals -- and there are a lot of consequences...

Anonymous said...

Do we really need to legislate a permitted lapse in parenting attention? Should it be no more than 5 seconds, 20 seconds, 1 minute, 10 minutes? If you make it short enough and retroactive, a lot of parents who successfully raised kids are going to jail.

I've found lost kids, and never thought that it was due to criminally poor parenting. Maybe that was because I've gotten separated from one of my kids in a store. I was frantic, but not a felon, just human. So excuuuuuse me!

PS. Not everything bad needs a law or regulatory rule against it. Just don't do it or suffer the consequences.

Anonymous said...

*Not to say it will never happen here. But probably not in the center of town on a Friday afternoon.*

Maybe not YET but come on Larry, have you seen some of the characters hanging out in the center of town? Even on a Friday afternoon?

Anonymous said...

Maybe not YET but come on Larry, have you seen some of the characters hanging out in the center of town?

Have you seen the characters hanging out in Town Meeting????