Mud Slinging, Meade County Style

September 21st, 2020

By Citizen Joe Redmon

The First Amendment reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. “Taken as a whole, this represented a smorgasbord of protected liberty for what would become the greatest nation in the history of humanity. Never has there been a country more dedicated to individual liberty than ours.

Today, that nation is under attack from many corners, occupied by various elements of the Democratic Party. Please make no mistake about this. You’re watching much of this on television and some of it may seem far away from us – in Portland, Minneapolis, or Louisville. We’re in Meade County and people here do not burn things down and indiscriminately shoot other people. Here, we support and appreciate law enforcement and know full well we have a citizenship responsibility to cooperate with law enforcement when we have an interaction with them. But, there is some measure of that anarchy right here in your backyard. Our local newspaper weekly abuses the protections afforded it under that 1st Amendment. Have you noticed?

The media – including the Meade County Messenger – have always been biased. To be biased is to be human and we are each human. Bias is normal and something conservatives have learned to deal with long ago. However, in this Age of Trump, the media – including our own MC Messenger – have turned from biased observers to involved players. They no longer even pretend to be objective in their reporting or analysis. The media have chosen a side and refuse to fairly represent even the day’s news. This is a weekly event in our local newspaper.

The Messenger has a regular segment where they exploit the accidental death of a county worker which occurred almost four years ago. I read this segment a few times and the author (Chad Hobbs) describes the death of a county worker (Gene Hobbs – are they related?) in the most conspiratorial terms possible. It was clearly an accident and there is no evidence of anything else happening. But, each episode gets more bizarre than the prior column. There was even a column where the county government was accused of stealing a dead man’s lunch! That seems silly – but, the newspaper was completely opposed to our recently deceased Judge Executive, Gerry Lynn. And they’ve become dedicated to reporting every rumor or innuendo which can even be mildly associated with the county government and spinning it in a negative light. Usually, they don’t bother naming a county official by name – just the ubiquitous “them” or “they.”

If you’re new to Meade County or Brandenburg and you read our local 1st Amendment-protected rag you probably have the impression the FBI is imminently hovering nearby, ready to swoop upon the county leadership and lock everyone up. The death of Gene Hobbs was a horrible accident; one member of the road crew backed a truck over another member of the crew and there is no satisfactory explanation, no adequately comforting narrative to communicate. Why does the newspaper insist there was some conspiracy afoot? More to the point, why can’t they just be honest about whatever they suspect and provide proof of a cover up? Instead, they just use the incident to spread rumor and innuendo about the county leadership. The Messenger has published a weekly column from an anonymous submitter who specializes in making nebulous accusations – without evidence, without a specific accusation, and without conscience. When later pushed for some kind of explanation, the answer is “you’ll see.” “Tune in next week

This county is in the process of the biggest change in our history. Nucor is investing well over $1 billion dollars locally and this will change our community. Our county’s leadership will be critical to our collective ability to make most of those changes positive. Regardless of their party affiliation, they’re not a bunch of crooks and the local newspaper shouldn’t so easily and in such a brazenly partisan fashion abandon their 1st Amendment-protected responsibility to the people. State Representative Nancy Tate and the late Judge Executive Gerry Lynn worked tirelessly to keep Nucor on schedule to make their investments in our community real. The newspaper has opposed this process at every turn while trying to convince the community our leadership has somehow done something illegal or unethical with regard to Nucor. The Messenger has abused its public trust in a crassly partisan fashion. This entity is protected by our Bill of Rights and by twisting themselves into a partisan instrument, the MC Messenger embarrasses us all.