Tuesday 5 September 2023

FREE SPEECH: a small-town newspaper goes to WAR

"Police raids newspaper" by Midjourney

The RECORD * in Marion, Kansas, (pop. less than 2,000), interviewed the new police chief.  The reporter asked some tough questions about his last job. Miffed, the pissed-off  PC got permits to raid the RECORD’s office and the home of its owner-publisher-editor, Eric Meyer  The day after the ruckus, Meyer’s 96-year-old mother died.  The RECORD headline is “SEIZED  but not SILENCED”. 

The Washington Post,**  New York Times, CNN, and MSNBC flew into the town to get the story - raids on newspapers are rare.  Aid for the paper poured in.  The RECORD’s 4,000 subscriptions jumped to 5,500, incl. mine.  Meyer, a former reporter/editor for Milwaukee’s biggest newspaper, taught Journalism at the  University of Illinois. He came back to Marion to take over the family newspaper. He says the RECOD’s top job is to keep tabs on the people who run the town.

The fact that the action took place in a small town made it easier for us to get a grip on what might happen in the Big World. So let’s give three cheers to Eric Meyer, his team, and the Marion County RECORD for fighting the good fight.  And hope to hell they hang in there and keep on digging up the dirt.

Note: Eric Meyer won this war: laptops, hard drives, and cell phones were returned. 

*Award for best mid-sized newspaper 2020. 2021, 2022

**Washington Post sent three reporters - the story was headline news.

Sources: New York Tims, Washington Post

Next week: TRUMP-SUMP:  VOTERS crave CRAP

"Freedom of press" by Midjourney

Note: Finland has been high on the freedom of the press ratings. I think we're still currently the 5th, but there have been some attempts lately at stifling that freedom. Unsurprisingly, it's the right fringe that tries to erode the trust in media and shut up any critical voices here too. And now that the people of Finland decided it's a good idea to let the right fringe actually run the country (there still are what I'd call "wannabe-nazis" in the cabinet) we're in for some rocky times.

The politicians already have started talking about cutting funding for YLE, the national broadcasting corporation, which has been probably the least biased media outlet we have. I think YLE leans too much to the right, and the right thinks they're commies, so they must be pretty much in the middle ;-)

The rest of the press is largely just chasing headlines, and as commercial entities owned by investors, the outlets also tend to lean to the right side of the aisle. While I do see them as biased, they still largely report the facts as they should, just filtered from their angle.

I'm afraid we're heading to the same direction as media in the US, and by my standards, that is unfortunate. No raids - yet - though.




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