Driving home yesterday, I happened to tune into KKCR and heard Jonathan Jay interviewing Andy Parx. It was a very interesting show, and once I got home, I was even motivated to clean the kitchen so I could keep listening. I was reminded again that Andy really does know a lot about what’s going down on Kauai, and has a good historical grasp of political issues. Most important, he's a rare independent voice.
This blog and I were the topic of discussion a few times, and while it was kind of strange to hear people talking about me on the radio, it was all accurate, except the part about me working three jobs. To clarify, I have one part-time job (which sometimes feels like three) and make the rest of my living doing freelance.
Andy repeated the story of how MidWeek terminated my freelancing agreement because I wrote a post criticizing the inaugural editorial in the Star-Advertiser, or more specifically, this line:
We will strive mightily to be on the side of angels. We will work constantly to do, and shout, the noble thing.
I then asked if the demise of the Advertiser, which was founded by a missionary descendant and taken over by a man who helped overthrow the monarchy, would finally result in fair coverage of the Hawaiian sovereignty/independence movement:
Is that cause pono enough “to be on the side of angels?”
I already knew the answer, but it was confirmed today with Derrick DePledge’s one-sided piece on the Akaka Bill. He didn’t even bother with an obligatory comment from an indigenous person, either pro or con; indeed, the piece read like Gov. Lingle and a few Republican senators are the only opponents who need to be considered. He also mentioned that draft amendments to the bill have been provided to Akaka’s staff, but offered no insight as to what revisions are being considered, other than they might make the bill more palatable to Lingle.
The article and headline were all about the need for haste in pushing this bill through. It’s the same message Derrick and the Advertiser editors — some of whom were kept on by the hybrid paper — have been harping all along, even though the bill has sizable local opposition. It’s just really unfortunate that such an important issue isn’t getting anything close to a full airing in the mainstream media.
And it won't, so long as reporters are afraid to challenge the spin they know their editors want — a fear that is even more acute as journalism jobs disappear and owner David Black makes it clear he won’t even tolerate criticism, much less dissent.
Meanwhile, Ragnar Carlson, my editor over at Honolulu Weekly, has a piece in this week’s paper about how Star-Advertiser owner David Black’s new lock on Oahu printing presses forced the independent weekly over to a printer on Maui. As Ragnar wrote:
Black’s $150 million [for the Advertiser] was the price he paid to establish a monopoly–or something very close to it–in Hawaii’s newspaper market.
Not to get all sanctimonious, but that is a really bad thing. There is a reason we have laws prohibiting media monopolies, and it’s that they are devastating both to the essential functions of journalism–fewer voices means the public’s right to know suffers–and to the ability of small businesses and other advertisers to receive a fair market rate on advertising.
Don’t bother writing a letter to David Black–as they say in poker, he’s pot-committed.But we hope you will consider expanding your use of newspapers and news sources other than the Star-Advertiser, as a consumer of both news and of advertising. A monopoly may be good for that paper’s owners, but it bodes ill for the rest of us.
As the Honolulu Weekly also reported, that's certainly true for the newspaper carriers, who got totally screwed by the merger. So much for the Star-Advertiser doing "the noble thing" and striving "mightily to be on the side of angels."
Just a little something to consider as we move into this American Independence Day weekend.