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Richard Crowson Commentary

Crowson: Remembering Al Polczinski

The Wichita Eagle

Three days ago things perked up a bit in the realm behind the “Pearly Gates.” Administrative angels that had become a little lax in their accounting started to sit up a little straighter and pay more attention to their jobs. Ordinary rank-and-file angels became more informed about the ins and outs of celestial politics.

Credit The Wichita Eagle

Al Polczinski had begun reporting for the Hereafter Times.

Al left us this past Sunday, at the age of 89. Al was the no-nonsense political reporter and political writer for the Wichita Eagle from 1955 until 1990. He covered presidents, senators, governors, legislators and everybody else that even thought about dipping their big toes into the murky waters of Kansas or national politics.

Al Polczinski earned the trust of every size, shape and description of political office holders. More importantly, he earned the trust of his readers here in Wichita. Al did it the hard way: by being dedicated to accuracy and objectivity.

We live in an era when such things are derided as “fake news.” If the facts are displeasing to someone, if they add up to a negative consequence for someone’s point of view, then the reporting is dismissed as “fake news.”

Credit The Wichita Eagle

Such labels wouldn’t have mattered a whit to Al Polczinski. The measuring stick was about truthfulness, not political convenience.

In a small autobiography he published principally for his family titled Dear Girls, Al had this to say about his career: “Damn, it was fun being a reporter.”

Carry on, Al Polczinski. If St. Peter starts yammering about fake news, pound those keys even harder.