Spring Hill residents torn between believing trashy TV show, terrible reporter


By Frank Fencil | frank.fencil@springhillcourier.com

SPRING HILL, Fla. — Much like the Civil War split this great nation apart a while back, we are now hearing rumors that Spring Hill is being torn apart by a pair of equally fervent factions.

In one camp are residents demanding an apology after a 20-year-old woman, who while employed as a high school cafeteria worker, was anonymously accused of having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student on campus. The woman, who denies the accusations, recently passed multiple lie-detector tests given by The Steve Wilkos Show, a program hosted by a pedophile-whipping man made famous for intervening in decades of white-trash melees on The Jerry Springer Show.

In the other camp are ardent supporters of Real News Real Fast and its proprietor, Tom Lemons, a man whose freewheeling comma usage and frequent, brazen mistakes have done little to sway them from clinging to an anonymously sourced story that even in its most convincing moment of hurling life-ruining accusations still does not differentiate between an unnamed school official simply confirming the mere existence of accusations and an unnamed school official confirming the validity of those accusations.

“People are literally coming to blows over this,” one Spring Hill woman wrote in a Facebook comment she doesn’t know we’re using for this story. “I saw my own uncles duke it out right in the middle of Kass Circle. It makes me sick to see the ‘lamestream’ media devolve into purely exploitative garbage masquerading as reality that only serves to divide us. And then The Steve Wilkos Show piles on, too. #2MuchShame4Me”

Wilkos’ viewers claim that the anonymous and unclear nature of Lemons’ reporting, along with his track record of making grossly negligent claims, make it easy to discount his version of the story.

“We don’t know who gave the lie-detector test, sure, but we also don’t know who made these claims against the woman, how available this information was to that person or what ax they may have to grind, and Tom doesn’t have the inkling of credibility that would lead me to believe there’s not at least a chance he made up these details himself,” said one Spring Hill resident we overheard talking on the phone while writing this from Starbucks. “I’m hopeful this is finally the story that leads to the libel lawsuit that milks the last few hundred dollars out of Lemons’ coffers, but then again I think that’s going to happen every other week and yet here we are.”

The pro-Lemons group claims lie-detector tests are infamously inaccurate and easy to manipulate, while solid reporting based on an unknown number of unnamed sources’ accounts is impossible to refute.

“She definitely did all of that stuff Real News Real Fast wrote,” said one anonymous school district employee who declined to give his name or position but had no problem offering up a second-hand story he heard a friend had heard from another co-worker when told there would be no social or legal repercussions regardless of the accuracy of the details. “I’m sure of it.”

The Spring Hill Courier did not bother to reach Tom Lemons for comment, but you are welcome to do so at (727) 485-6055.

Frank Fencil

Frank Fencil is an award-winning journalist with more than two decades' experience. He has uncovered government corruption, toppled dirty police forces and covered two foreign wars as an international correspondent. He chose to return to his native Spring Hill in hopes of giving his hometown the quality watchdog journalism it deserves.

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