The Noble Scribe

Once again, life imitates the movies. It's been brought to the Flash's attention that the recent flap over New Times' interview with the Mountain Preserves arsonist would have been old news in the hometown of journalist Henry Aldrich.

Henry who?

A bit of explanation:

In the early 1940s, Paramount studios, looking for an answer to the success of the Andy Hardy films over at MGM, produced a series of modest flicks featuring Aldrich, a small-town high school kid going through an apparently perpetual awkward phase. In 1942's Henry Aldrich, Editor, Henry, played by gawky Jimmy Lydon, takes over the reins of his high school paper. When a pyromaniac named "Nero Smith," played by character actor Francis Pierlot, tells Henry where he's going to torch yet another building -- and Henry runs the story -- suspicion falls on our hapless hero.

Perhaps Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley should expand his subpoena to cover New Times' video collection.

Nah. He wouldn't find it there. Sadly, Henry Aldrich, Editor seems to be unavailable on video, so the Flash is unable to provide further details firsthand. But since, according to online synopses, Henry eventually stands trial and risks jail, it must be presumed that he protects his source.

Hollywood, in other words, showed a better grasp of journalistic ethics 60 years ago than some members of the Valley's journalistic, legal and law enforcement communities have shown today.

The Flash was confused by the Millennial Arizona Republic's February 8 story about David Foreman, co-founder of Earth First!. Are journalists supposed to talk with eco-terrorists or not?

A federal prosecutor once termed Earth First! a dangerous "deviant pseudo-environmental movement."

Foreman was convicted a decade ago of conspiring to commit eco-terrorism. And Foreman's followers were not torching unoccupied construction sites. They plotted to down power lines leading from the Palo Verde nuclear plant. They sabotaged a ski lift.

Is it possible that in 10 years, the Republic will pen elegies to the arsonist's erstwhile pyromania or publish paeans to his probity?


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