Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Hays Daily News a Disgrace to Journalism Ethics

(submitted to the Hays Daily News July 10 - appearing who knows when)

Under Patrick Lowry, the Hays Daily News has become a sham of ethical journalism. One is forced to wonder just how many shares of Iberdrola Mr. Lowry has purchased. He has given them the most favorable coverage possible since the very beginning of our community’s struggle against this corporation.

Mr. Lowry has assigned the most junior and inexperienced of his reporters to cover this most important debate, and seems to continually editorialize their articles to massage the message to his liking.

When opponents paid four figure fees for half page ads in the HDN, these were intentionally placed immediately adjacent to glossy editorials championing the proponent’s cause.

While Krista Gordon’s lies and misrepresentations have been quoted ad nauseum in ‘articles’ covering the debate, opponents’ quotes were rarely published and often mangled or taken out of context. I mentioned to Will Manly that I wanted to examine my tower photos further before sharing them. This is somehow translated into me ‘working on them some more’ as if I am trying to photo-shop them.

The HDN gave front page coverage to a threatening sign and implied it was the responsibility of wind farm opponents without any evidence it was even linked to the debate or comprised anything more than a personal slight toward an individual widely despised since the imposition of county-wide zoning.

Opponents often wait as long as a week to see their letters in print, effectively diminishing the impact and relevance of their rebuttals. Proponent Dana Kraus is able to write satirical drivel about events on Saturday and have it appear in Monday’s paper, together with letters we submitted last Wednesday.

Every article published in the HDN that details the risks to Ellis County of embracing this industry somehow manages to end with a positive twist for the proponents and effectively equate industry propaganda with valid, independent research findings, the vested interests of proponents notwithstanding.

It bears remembering that, were we to have relied on the editorial wisdom of the Hays Daily News 18 years ago, we would all now be living in the shadow of a lead smelter and everyone born in Ellis County under the age of 17 would have had an elevated risk of birth defects.

There is a term for the subversion of democracy to serve the ends of those in power.

There is a term for the subjugation of the common people so that a privileged elite class may profit at their expense.

That term is ‘fascism’.

Fascism is alive and well in Ellis County and the Hays Daily has become its primary public relations tool.

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