Philip Aslerty

Mr. Aslerty was unsure of his calling and figured he'd major in liberal arts in college. When he arrived, the college assigned him a faculty counselor at random, and he happened to draw a professor from the college's school of journalism. Naturally, the professor started steering young Philip towards journalism and gave him some books that told the stories of great journalists who gave their lives for the craft. One in particular caught his eye: the biography of Edward Furrow, the reporter for the Allegheny Post-Dispatch who died covering the Anti-Grunge Revolution when he was caught in cross-fire between pro-grunge militia and anti-grunge insurgents in the African country of Fogo. "This not only gave me my career," he recalled, "but it also made me realize the importance of the journalist as I had never even heard of the Anti-Grunge Revolution despite Furrow's great sacrifice in reporting it. I knew we needed more like Furrow."

Aslerty certainly paid his dues, starting at the bottom covering water main breaks, lost dogs, and trash can fires in the small town of Saratoga, Wyoming. "I was paid by the story," he told us, "so I was quite tempted to start a trash can fire myself just so I'd have a story to write, but my basic training as a journalist told me that the reporter is not supposed to be part of the story, and I knew that if I just did my job well eventually opportunities would open for me."

Those opportunities indeed opened up as his career progressed, and he was the first journalist to report from the Pacific island of Bios when a pro-grunge invasion began in 1988. Successfully fought off by the island's police force, the invasion remained newsworthy for several months as Aslerty stayed behind to track the island's progression back to a normal grunge-free society despite the scars left behind by the pro-grunge types. For this reporting, Aslerty was awarded the Furrow Trophy, which occupies a prominent place on his mantelpiece, and he obviously cherishes it.

Mr. Aslerty's fine work caught the attention of the management of the Anti-Grunge Channel, and when Issues on the Anti-Grunge Front was in its planning stages, the producers knew that they would need someone of high journalistic integrity and superior moral standing to be the moderator; someone who would be tough, but fair and impartial, and keenly aware of the weak points in a guest's argument. "My courses in logic in college play a big role here," he told us, "and I always try to shoot down ad hominem arguments and shaky or downright faulty logic regardless of which guest is espousing it." After twenty years, guests consistently admire Aslerty for his fairness and common sense, even when they clearly were on the losing end of Aslerty's moderation, and almost all were willing to return anyway.

The one exception was a pro-grunge professor from a liberal university who after his appearance on the program, set fire to Aslerty's notes and stormed off the set. He was apprehended by the studio's security guards and removed from the premises. Aslerty remarked in his calm, dry way, "I had them memorized and didn't need them any more anyway, so who cares?"

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