As a former newspaper reporter, I'm simply dumbfounded at the more than heavy-handed shenanigans of Andrew Thomas and Sheriff Joe, not just at their dealings with the "New Times," but at just what they consider "business as usual." How did they think they could ever get away with such manuevering?
Of course, in the national overall climate set by both the Federal Administration and the media over the last 6 years, I really shouldn't be.
Judith Miller "goes to jail" to protect her sources and freedom of the press from judicial interference, only to have it revealed later she willingly volunteered to become a journalistic stooge for the Administration, so that precedent could be set for the government to subpoena, and expose, "confidential sources."
FEMA holds press conferences that are completely fraudulent, merely to boost its own public image.
A male prostitute is given a bogus identity and credentials by the White House Press Office, and given access over real, established journalists, so that he can lob soft questions, and partisan innuendo, at press conferences.
The media's not free of blame, either. How is any of the following possible:
In the run-up to the 2000 election, the overwhelming attitude of the press seems to have been: "This guy's just too stupid to be elected." In the week prior to the election, what would have been a front page story for any other candidate - the history of a drunken driving arrest, and seeming favoritism shown in sentencing to Bush - doesn't even make the front page?
Using the media, a draft-dodging Executive Branch, which is making war an election issue, manages to subvert a combat veteran through innuendo?
Walden O'Dell, Chief Executive Officer of Diebold, who lives in Ohio, and manufactures the electronic voting machines used nationwide, publicly states he "will do everything in (his) power" to ensure Bush's re-election, then the media simply lets it go when Ohio poll numbers vs. registered voters by party alliance are completely skewed (thousands of more votes cast, for Republicans, than are registered Republicans in the state.. as well as thousands of more votes cast than are simply registered voters in the state)?
Despite decades of being there is a fail-safe system in place to ensure nuclear weapons cannot be used without Presidential authority, a plane full of nuclear weapons are "accidentally" loaded, and on their way to Iraq, before being recalled?
Not to mention Blackwater, no-bid contracts, energy policy being formed by oil company executives... all without hard scrutiny by the press.
Locally, Sheriff Joe has acquired, without accumulating any debt, properties for which he paid, in cash, almost three times his annual salary, and the media - save for your publication - don't seem to be the slightest bit interested.
The Sheriff openly violates laws concerning the dissemination of press releases and public information, even acknowledging his violations, but using as an excuse he "doesn't think" the publications being shunted aside are "real newspapers"?
Gee, I guess the real question should be: "How come they didn't get away with it?"
And that answer is simple. Because Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin looked them in the eye, figuratively speaking, and said: "Fuck you, assholes."
For six years, I've been wondering where the newspaper reporters were - not journalists, looking for the next prize and arguing with their publishers about font size on their byline - but newspaper reporters.
I know where two of them are, now. It is my sincere wish the Cronkite School of Journalism commemorates, in some fashion, the actions of Lacey and Larkin.
Eric PayneGlendale, AZ