Our liberty cannot be guarded but by freedom of the press. But does a free press really have to suck so bad?

I've had some unkind things to say about Mayor Michael Laws. Last week I fulminated about what appears to be his attempt to extract vengance against the local newspaper for an editorial stance he disapproves of. Such behaviour, I pontificated, represented an attack on press freedom that is unworthy of an elected official.

But then the Herald on Sunday goes and runs a muckraking (and I mean that in the truely pejorative sense) story like this, implying that he was involved in some sort of domestic violence episode and called the police to resolve it. Let's be entirely clear - there is nothing ... nothing ... to suggest Mayor Laws committed any criminal offences. His presently separated partner makes that entirely clear.

So the only story here is that a couple, under extreme stress because of personal traumas that have played out in the public eye, cracked and broke apart in a messy fashion. Leading me to wonder: is a press that serves this up as a major feature for its readers really something worth defending?

Comments (4)

by Craig Ranapia on March 08, 2010
Craig Ranapia

Andrew:

I totally agree with you, but I can't help wondering whether Laws' talkback radio show would be any better (or significantly) worse if the shoe was on the other foot.  I'm naive enough to hope that Laws will rethink his own behaviour, but won't hold my breath waiting.

 

by Andrew Geddis on March 08, 2010
Andrew Geddis

Craig,

I have no doubt whatsoever what Laws' own talkbalk radio show would do with a similar story about (say) Chris Carter and Peter Kaiser.

However, I also think that a reputable newsroom ought to be run on slightly higher ethical principles than "What Would Michael Laws Do?"

by Craig Ranapia on March 09, 2010
Craig Ranapia

However, I also think that a reputable newsroom ought to be run on slightly higher ethical principles than "What Would Michael Laws Do?"

Not getting any disagreement from me there -- but I'm just being naive enough to hope that Laws is having what us Catholics call a rigourous examination of conscience. Hope sprining eternal etc.

 

by Andrew Geddis on March 09, 2010
Andrew Geddis

Craig,

Maybe. And here's hoping. But I suspect he'll see it as more evidence that "they" are out to get him, and he needs to redouble his efforts in fighting "the good fight". Whatever those terms mean to him.

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