Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Revenge of the Right Wing Editors (part one)
I live in a very conservative district with very conservative newspapers that have very conservative editors. And like all editors, they generally like to hear a bit of feedback every once and awhile. There isn't a writer in the world who doesn't want to have some feedback from the masses. Writers are natural attention seekers. Lonely types, hiding behind their lap tops. And most of them are starved to hear something, anything, about what they write. Better read than dead, Ed Abbey said.
And so I write them what I think of certain things; I praise them when they manage to be less stupid than normal. If you write about things you have in common, you can establish a rapport. And so you become known to them. They will continue to notice you when you write a few popular stories about major candidates calling Obama "Muslim" or cover a coyote story that goes national. They start paying a bit more attention to you. You go from being an interesting reader to becoming someone that perhaps they need to be careful around. Or start to ignore.
Last week I read that Doug LaMalfa and State Senator Jim Nielsen were appearing together at a property owners club to discuss lawsuits harassing business owners not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (the ADA). Of course, this meeting was designed to have a bunch of right wingers hob nob about excessive and onerous regulations that limit economic growth. That's what they advertised anyway (I kid you not).
This meeting needed some balance, I thought, so I alerted a few Disability Activists about the event and suggested that they show up for the meeting. They did. En masse. (They wrote after the event and thanked me for alerting them.)
They certainly did a good job advocating for themselves and it made all the papers and television stations. Good coverage, although maybe not quite the coverage that Congressman Doug LaMalfa wanted to have. He had to be civil and it is hard to put down onerous regulations when you are talking to a crowd of disabled people in wheelchairs and blind people with companion guide dogs present.
Enter Rick Silva, the editor of the Paradise Post. He has accused me of being a "Gotchya journalist". I told Rick (via e-mail) that it is simple: don't say anything stupid in front of me. If they are going to continue to be stupid, I will write about it. Duh!
After the takeover of the ADA meeting by the Disability Advocates, Rick Silva wrote a horrid column stating that interest groups should limit their speakers to one person. And his last paragraph speaks volumes as to why these right wing extremist politicians try to talk to only friendly audiences:
"Perhaps Nielsen and LaMalfa could have been more forceful in controlling the direction of the discussion, but we also understand that any conservative Republican trying, even politely, to ask advocates for the disabled to stay on point may end up being a YouTube moment for them to deal with."
By the way, the Americans With Disabilities Act was a bipartisan bill, signed by the first George Bush. It has improved the lives of millions.
More about Right Wing Editors in future posts...