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Opening Arguments

Our own

"Can that story be localized?" is something journalists hear often from their bosses. Never mind that motorcycle sales are way up nationally -- people won't care unless they know that sales are up here, too. And, by the way, go see if you can find a local gay couple to comment on that same-sex marriage trial out in California. They won't have any more insight than all the other people quoted in the story -- in fact, they'll probably be even less articulate -- but they'll be from here. And then there is the most extreme form of the practice:

The University of Notre Dame says four staff members and one alumnus are all accounted for following a major earthquake in Haiti.

Reports say the 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit near Port-au-Prince shortly before 5 p.m. EST, destroying a hospital and causing a tsunami alert that was later canceled. Early reports from officials in Haiti indicate catastrophic damage to the island nation, the poorest in the Western Hemisphere.

This is the sort of parochialism so devastatingly parodied by National Lampoon in its Dacron Republican-Democrat mock Sunday paper three decades ago. (Was that Powder Room Prowler ever caught? I wonder.) But there's nothing wrong with caring about our own more than we care about strangers. Some people make the leap to