Local news media kills democracy

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


  • tmac

    I must have read a different article about the credit union than this letter refers too.
    I never saw it called a merger at all. Must have missed that article. Do you remember when it was written at all so I can find it? Thanks.

  • Why were quotations added to the word “not”? I didn’t put them there and they don’t belong. When editing my writing please do so correctly.

    • tmac

      I am still wondering about the article you mentioned(about calling it a merger).
      I still cannot seem to find it.

  • I’m sorry I used the wrong term, the Record called it an “acquisition”
    not a “merger”…while Minnesota Public Radio and StarTribune
    characterized it as a liquidation by the FBI! “Acquisition” was the
    correct term over “merger” but this point in no way alters the material
    points contained in my Letter to the Editor.

    I would have responded sooner but it seemed like picking gnat poop out of a cow pile.
    The material content of my letter stands on its own merit. When every
    other news source in the state reported on the FBI’s liquidation, it
    would seem local readers, who were left with the euphemistic term
    “acquisition”, were entitled to a more accurate update.

    Funny that you’re not holding the NEWS MEDIA to the standard you appear to be
    attempting to hold its commenter. I used the wrong term in a way that
    was innocuous the Record used a wrong term in a way that mislead the
    community. This “acquisition” was a shutdown by the federal government.

    It will be interesting to see if this gets censored out like every other statement of common sense…

    • Wow. I think its important to note that this post finally appeared 7 days after it was repeatedly submitted but only AFTER I lodged a complaint with ECM.

      Community members have been clamoring for publication of Disqus terms of use and have received no response from the Record. If civil dialog isn’t allowed then someone explain to me what the purpose of the Record incorporating Disqus is?