Monday, April 9, 2018

More Media Fails: Homeless Writer Puff Piece Won't Explain Why He's Homeless

This study in two newspapers covers a wide range of issues hitting the press and media industry today, along with sweeping homelessness overwhelming the entire state.

One of the press corps, Clark Sharon a reporter, writer, documentarian, and author, is now on the street, too.

Clark Sharon (OC Weakly photo)

OC Weekly wrote a puff piece for one of their own:

Former LA Times and OC Register Reporter Clark Sharon, Now Homeless, Spends His Days Reading the Papers He Once Wrote For

What we have here is a sob story in the making. Are the readers of the world expected to feel sorry for this one reporter, who is now down on his luck because he has refused to adjust to harsh realities in the print media industry?

Clark Sharon sits at a table in the far corner of the Santa Ana Public Library, beside floor-to-ceiling windows. Everything he owns is next to him in a few reusable grocery bags, neatly filled with food, clothing and other necessities. At 65 years old, Sharon has a slight build that doesn’t quite fill out his oversized sweat shirt.

Another homeless man in the Santa Ana library. Why is there so much homelessness in that city? The sanctuary policy, combined with the social justice warrior lunacy of the city council has brought in all of the illegal aliens and welfare queens, while the residents suffer terribly. Home owners are fleeing the region. What a shameful display for the county seat of Orange County.

Hunched over, nearly parallel to the table, Sharon is immersed in his ritual of reading through a sizable stack of the day’s newspapers. Each day, he enters the first library his mother brought him to as a child and immediately heads for the rags, always grabbing the Los Angeles Times first because, as he says with a mischievous grin, “they are better written.” He moves on to the Washington Post, then to the Orange County Register.

No they're not.

It makes sense Sharon has a discerning eye when it comes to newspaper writing—he was once a reporter himself. As a 30-year veteran reporter in Orange County, his name once regularly appeared in many of the pages he reads today.

He worked in the journalism industry for 30 years. He must have saved his money, right? What happened to his economic resources? It's not as though someone goes from being the top of the heap to having nothing left.

Currently homeless, Sharon stays at the Orange County Armory Emergency Shelter, about 3 miles from the library; the seasonal facility is scheduled to close this month. He grew up in Santa Ana and graduated from Cal State Fullerton, where he studied music. At 21, he became a journalist, with his first staff-writer job at the Santa Ana Register (which became the Orange County Register in 1985). He claims he was the youngest person to become a staff writer at the paper at that time. Later, he worked with the Los Angeles Times and as a columnist for the now-defunct Orange County Illustrated.
Sharon had many different beats in his career. He spent three years on the police beat, which Sharon says was reserved for the rookie reporters. “Nobody wanted to be there at 7 a.m. to turn those damn wire machines on,” he recalls. Eventually, Sharon tired of its gritty reality. “I saw all this stuff, and I had to write about it: burned to death, shot to death, beat to death, drowned. The list goes on and on. I’m more than happy to write humor.”

Most of the OC article focuses on Sharon's long-term relationship with different writers and film makers. Nothing about why he become homeless. The article is filled with rambling, ultimately.

Like many people in a situation similar to his, Sharon uses the library as a place of refuge. It’s an air-conditioned, tranquil place, with access to books, newspapers and computers, which are used for entertainment as well as to look for work and access public resources. “We are a safe place, and we are a conduit for them to try to pick themselves back up,” says Dylan Almendral, archivist for the Santa Ana History Room located within the city’s library. “The library is a place where everyone is welcome.”

But what about law-abiding citizens who are paying their dues and taking care of themselves? How many children, parents feel safe in the library, too?

Sharon would hang out in the doorway of the History Room, telling stories of being on Wayne’s boat and recalling articles he had written for various publications. Almendral was skeptical at first, but after a few Google searches, he realized that Sharon was who he said he was. Through their discussions, Almendral found out that Sharon was homeless partially because his brother, who had a double lung transplant, owes him $124,000, which he is unable to repay.

What does a debt have to do with homelessness? That is a total joke. Adults are responsible for caring for themselves, even when they serve as a surety for a demand on their time, resources, money, etc.

Almendral believes that if Sharon used his talent and experience to give a voice to the homeless community, it could “change the game.” But for Sharon, the act of writing became strained with the death of his fiancé, Penny Roush, whom he said resembled actress Debra Winger and had a “whiskey and chocolate laugh.” Figuring out how to navigate immense personal loss and internal professional expectations has at times felt insurmountable. But, he says, there may be an emotional thawing; there’s a story he’s working out in his head about his past experience of being the owner of nine cats that he’d call “Catland.”

Who wants to read about cats? Anyone? In the above passage, though, we find more evidence about what has happened to this reporter, that his life is falling apart around him. Does he feel guilty, loose, lost that there is no reason to being alive because his fiancee is dead? The guilt and condemnation of these events can take away a man's will to live.

The OC Weekly article made Drudge, but what's missing is the source, the cause of this man's homelessness. For a left-wing rag which better serves as make-shift shoes for homeless people. This article rambled a lot about his past work, but made no real connections to his current homeless state.

Once again, the media fail of the left-wing press is made fully manifest.
Here's a catch-up article from the San Francisco Chronicle:

In 1993, Sharon co-wrote a book with Bert Minshall about John Wayne's passion for the sea, "On Board With the Duke: John Wayne and the Wild Goose." The duo later made a documentary about their experiences aboard the cowboy's yacht.

How strange that a liberal reporter would write a bibliography about a conservative stalwart in the Hollywood industry. I guess no one cares anymore.

An anecdote from the 1997 Los Angeles Times review recounts Sharon's humble response when an old friend offered to "kick in" $30,000 to get the Wayne film made.

"I about choked on my hamburger," Sharon said, according to the newspaper's account. "It's funny how quickly your mind will shift gears. I said to myself, 'Wait a minute. Maybe this is possible.' "

He put together a documentary, but now he doesn't have a home? How is this possible? The OC Weekly didn't shed any light on what happened to the reporter, or rather what choices he made.

These days, Sharon hangs around the History Room of the Santa Ana Public Library, where he tells tales of the days he spent aboard Wayne's Goose.

Who listens to these stories, I wonder?

One source told the Weekly that he thinks Sharon became homeless partially because his brother owes him $124,000, which Sharon "kicked in" for a double lung transplant surgery.

The San Francisco Chronicle is supposed to be the head honcho newspaper in the Bay Area. Now they have to rely on third-rate rags to find a story. That's pretty sad. I wonder how many of the Chronicle's staff are going to end up on the dole or in unemployment, just like Sharon?

When asked if he would write about his current experiences, Sharon demurred.

"I wonder if I could write something funny about it," he said. "There is humor in everything – even in the most tragic things, there can be some humor. But you have to very careful."

Spoken like a true newspaperman.

Notice that the reporter wants to push a narrative, wants to be careful about what he writes. Pretty soon, "newspaper" will have no salience or currency, since people won't be reading newspapers anymore.

Once again, all we get is an allusion to what caused him to go bust and become homeless. But there is no information to communicate one way or another what is going on.

Does Clark have a drug problem? A drinking problem?

Or has his liberal world view come crashing around him?

The two major newspapers share next to nothing and offer nothing substantive to explain why Sharon is out on the street.

And in large measure, that is why so many newspapers are closing, and why many reporters may end up on the street.

No comments:

Post a Comment