Charley Reese’s Final Column-Correct Attribution!
Summary of eRumor:
An editorial written by longtime Orlando Sentinel columnist Charley Reese in 1984 is still making the rounds today on the Internet, but there are a few misconceptions about it.
Orland Sentinel columnist Charley Reese wrote this column in February 1984, and it appeared under the headline, “545 People are Responsible for the Mess, but They Unite in a Common Con.”
The “545 People” column, as it has become known, has taken on a life of its own over the last three decades. But many who read and repost the column don’t know much about it, or its author, and that has led to a few misconceptions.
One big misconception is that “545 People” was Charley Reese’s final column. It’s not clear where that claim originated, but it’s falsely been used to add dramatic effect to Reese’s legendary column. It implies that either Reese was fired for expressing such a strong anti-establishment view, or that a legendary journalist had to sound off about a broken political system for one last time. In truth, it was far from Reese’s last column.
Charley Reese worked as a writer and columnist for the Orlando Sentinel from 1971-2001. He had a plainspoken style, and, as a self-described conservative Democrat, people on both sides of the political aisle embraced his syndicated column. In another famous column published in 2005, Reese wrote that he switched from Democrat to Republican after JFK was elected, but switched back to Democrat after George W. Bush’s presidency.
It’s also important to note that many different versions of “the last Charley Reese column” are circulating the web. Over the years, people have added and subtracted paragraphs at different times to reflect current politics. Reese told the Daily Hampshire Gazette in 2013 that he refers to it as the “column that wouldn’t die” or his “Frankenstein column” because of all the additions and subtractions.
Click here to read the original column as it appeared in the Orlando Sentinel on February 3, 1984.