Thursday, February 25, 2010

Lake Basebegone: Some thoughts, some questions

I understand F. Lee Bailey was on the morning news today, naming Margo Knight and Ben Tucker as the Brunswick councilors responsible for turning Bailey (“Lee” to John Richardson) and Oxford Aviation into victims of a “truculent” and omnipotent local body.

Apparently, the local newspaper hasn’t had the column inches or advertising space for Bailey to correct the record for the “willfully uninformed.”  Nor have they dispatched any award winning correspondents to willfully dig up the facts to correct the record.  And I see from the Agenda for the upcoming council meeting that Bailey hasn’t asked for time to correct the record eye to eye with the council.

Which brings me back to this bromide from a past post:

“If you have the facts on your side, make your argument to the jury; if you have the law on your side, make your argument to the judge; if you have neither, make your argument to the press.”

It’s ever so much more fun, of course, to be on TV, where your audience is unlimited compared to the print media, sound bites are the stock in trade, and obsequious young correspondents bow in awe.

On to the questions.

1.  The local paper insulted town councilors, insinuating that they are “willfully uninformed” as opposed to exhibiting healthy skepticism.  Besides failing to prove that councilors are so ignorant on the matter, the larger question is how responsible is the local paper for willfully seeing to it that their readership is woefully uninformed on the Oxford/MRRA subject?

2.  The same local paper faulted councilors Knight and Tucker for not talking with Bailey and Jim Horowitz and asking questions.  Are the editors suggesting that the councilors intervene in the business and affairs of the MRRA, especially after the latter made it very clear that the council has no role of any substance in Base redevelopment?  Is the MRRA incapable of doing so and reporting accurately on the results?

3.  Are the editors suggesting that the MRRA didn’t have the obligation to ask the questions and inform the public, so that we could all be willingly informed?

4.  The subject editorial says that Bailey shared his letter to the MRRA with the editors.  This is an item of public business with the MRRA and the people of Maine.  Why haven’t the editors made the entire letter public? Are they acting in the public interest if they use it to make news, while preventing readers from judging the merit of the letter’s content?

5.  If they won’t make the letter public, aren’t they' operating in a secret back channel, leaving us to wonder what other privileged information they’ve seen and withheld?

Knowledgeable citizens and observers know the MRRA has done everything possible to restrain information flow to the public on Bailey & Oxford, and the local paper has willingly abetted them in doing so.

The editors of Other Side fail to see how this is in anyone’s interests except their own.  And isn’t that a fine how do you do?

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