To the Editor:
In his Feb. 27 column, Tom West contemplates how judges are elected. Tom wrote of a censured judge and said, “Voters in Fillmore County were strongly opposed to the judge’s re-election, but the rest of the district, having little knowledge of Fillmore County gossip.…”
If community members had too little knowledge of the judicial censure and were forced to rely on gossip as West wrote, it doesn’t reflect a shortfall of our electoral process; it’s a glaring failure by the local news media.
This point was lost on Tom West.
While it’s true that most obtain national news from online sources, this is generally not the case for local news. Small newspapers still play a critical and unique role in American democracy, but when communities are forced to glean information from gossip, rumors and speculation, then transparency does not exist. Where transparency is absent, democracy cannot exist. This does “not” signal a shortfall of our electoral process but the gaping failures of the most basic and fundamental function of a local newspaper.
Last week, the StarTribune reported that the FBI liquidated St. Francis Credit Union while the Morrison County Record reported it as a merger. Democracy dies at the Morrison County Record. — Jody Scott-Olson, Little Falls