By Scott Tibbs, August 23, 2013
Last week, three men were arrested after they allegedly jumped a 19-year-old on his front porch and beat him up. He suffered significant injuries in the beating. What made this of particular interest is that two of the three men who allegedly committed the crime are John Mellencamp's adult sons, Speck and Hud.
You may have noticed that I underlined "men" and "adult" earlier. That's because, while the three two alleged attackers are technically teenagers, they are also legal adults and will be tried as such. One of the things that really annoys me in crime stories
is when adults are described as "teenagers," because that paints a very misleading picture about the suspects. It may be technically accurate to call them "teenagers" but it would be exponentially more truthful to call them what they are - adult men.
With that out of the way, Bob Zaltsberg offered a defense of the Herald-Times' coverage of the story, explaining that there are other noteworthy things about the suspects that makes it worthy of the front page of the newspaper. (See those stories here and here and here.)
Come on. If two of the three men accused of a vicious three-on-one beat down were not the sons of a world-famous musician who is a Bloomington native, would this story have been covered as prominently as it was? Do I really need to ask that question?
Look. What makes this story newsworthy is two of the three men are Mellencamp's adult sons. The Herald-Times is in the business of covering local news and providing customers with the news they want to read about. There is nothing wrong with that - but the H-T needs to be honest about why this is being covered. This is about the Mellencamp name, which sells newspapers and brings more visitors to the H-T website to see the obnoxious popover ads. It insults the intelligence of the readers to pretend it is anything other than what we all know it to be.