by Mark Moore
Blogger Nicolas Horton from the Arkansas Project ran a piece about the city Council in Conway amending the rules in order to award a no-bid contract on the purchase of a large artificial Christmas Tree. It appears that a local supplier got $130,000 for the tree, substantially above the going market price. I am glad he did the story, saving me the trouble as I had heard about this apparent cronyism as well.
But not everyone in Conway was glad the light of journalistic integrity was shone upon this matter. Among the most upset seems to be the folks at the local paper, the Log Cabin Democrat. The ran not one but two articles attacking Horton for writing the article. Horton skewered their attack pretty well in his rebuttal.
That’s right friends, their city officials are caught red-handed in cronyism and the establishment media in that town does not attack the corruption, they attack the person who is informing people about it! Why? Because that’s what establishment media does, it protects the establishment. It attempts to define the bounds of acceptable opinion- bounds set by those whose sole qualification to do so is that they are a part of the group which are running things now.
People have to get it out of their heads that mass media exists to inform the public. That is absolutely untrue in our present culture of dishonesty. Whether we are talking national media, state media, or local media, they are not there to inform the public. They are there to prevent the public from really being informed. Their mission is to distract and mis-direct people from real stories. They want you to keep up with the Kardashians. People like Horton and I want you to keep up with the multitude of ways government officials and their cronies are presently ripping off you and your children.
The media in this state are gate-keepers for the insiders who run it. A man who found himself an insider almost by accident as a young man, before his conversion to Christianity, once explained to me that “to be an insider they have to know that when the chips are down, you will do the wrong thing for the right people”. This is never overtly stated so bluntly, it is just taken for granted that what is right and wrong varies depending on who does it. Are they in the in-crowd or outside it?
As an aside- I believe that is why the media in this state don’t even know how to tell the truth about Secretary of State Mark Martin. They don’t think he is in the club, yet he is getting reasonably close to some real power in this state, and it is freaking them out. They are not sure that when the chips are down he will do the wrong thing for the right people, but rather subject them to the same rules and standards of justice which everyone else has to follow. That is something which ruling classes in every place and age find down-right repugnant.
Such a mind-set has resulted in Arkansas consistently under-performing despite its vast resources, good climate, and generally honest and hard-working people. We should not be one of the poorest states in America, yet we are and have been for over a generation. Whether it is a sports team, or a company, or a military unit, or a state, when an organization under-performs over a long period of time, its always the fault of those who are running the thing. That would be the establishment of this state- the ruling class.
The Conway Log Cabin Democrat, along with the Demozette, serve as gate-keepers of information for the same folks who have held Arkansas back with their cronyism. Once you understand that then what was once inexplicable becomes perfectly clear. Why would the paper lash out at Horton for uncovering this story? Why wouldn’t they instead offer him a job as a reporter? Those very questions are based on the false premise that the Log Cabin Democrat exists to inform the public. They actually exist in order to protect the establishment.
Not only will they refuse to inform the public, they will actually trash the bloggers for doing the job that they should have done were they honest journalists. Many of them are not honest journalists, they are posing as journalists in order to make sure that the people who have run things are the ones who will keep running things. The honest reporters that are left are like a rare jewel.
Tonight I raise the glass to young Horton and the citizen-bloggers who uncover stories like this. Every real journalist, whether blogger or working for a paper, should do the same.