Yesterday was a sad day for journalism in the Red Stick.  We talk about media spin, but what I was looking at on the front page of the newspaper literally took my breath away.  Questions were racing through my mind so fast that my head started to spin. 

I looked around Starbucks and spotted a few heavy hitters and started wondering who had crossed them.  Would they be willing to go public to garner front page news about a ‘he said-she said’ scenario almost a decade ago? 

I doubt it.  Most community leaders would not be interested in using a news publication to bring down someone they agreed to a settlement with eight years ago.  

So, what is really behind this front page breaking news?  After all, the candidate, Lee Domingue, openly addressed it on his website

What is the real message to the readers?  What questions are we to ask?  Is a “substantial amount of money”, defined as $140,000 in the news article, really ‘substantial’ to a $600 million inheritance? 

Why this story now? 

Unfortunately, this ‘news’ story was about as biased as the seam on my pants.  It’s the ongoing saga of a group of individuals who are willing to bet on a trial attorney, Dan Claitor, to represent Senate District 16 vs a Christian businessman, Lee Domingue.  Maybe the word Christian is the rub?  What is really going on here?

Front page news is like grabbing the golden ring for a reporter. 

What really happened?  Did the pressman call and say, “hey, we have some prime space and need someone to come up with a real zinger”?  Did the red sea of the back page part the heavens of the front page open for this reporter? 

The only congratulations that can be given to this reporter, Marsha Shuler, is proving that the local newspaper is now a vehicle for the powerful to send a message to us.

Some might say, “here’s a quarter, call someone who cares”.  We should care, though.  There is a lot more to this story than meets the eye.  Besides, tomorrow the story might be about one of us.  The Advocate isn’t a blog, it’s a newspaper delivered to 100,000 citizens in the Red Stick!  I think I hear Charles Manship rolling over in his grave.

It’s a message to ‘outsiders’ that the Red Stick is still like a ‘small town’. 

I’ve heard that for years, and now I believe them.  It’s part of the reason that we lose our best and brightest.  It’s the narrow kind of thinking that sends a message that we are willing to do whatever it takes to ‘win’ – not counting the cost.  Small minds carrying around big sticks threatening anyone who dares to become a member of the ‘insiders’ who ‘run this town‘.  It’s business as usual in the Red Stick.

It explains so much – not about the man they set out to discredit and ‘shame’ publicly for daring to fail until he can live the American dream.  After all, we know these powerful men and women have never failed, right?  (If you believe that, I have some land to sell you!) 

We won’t be reading stories about their child that may be on drugs, or the employee who gave their all and was let go because they had a bad day.  We won’t be reading about all the ‘less fortunate people’ they took advantage of, will we? 

Of course not. 

In the archives of The Advocate, there is not one story to be found on the front page of the newspaper that has ‘exposed’ a disagreement similar to this one:  A satisfied business transaction that most likely involves a much deeper story that remains to be told.

This is why it took my breath away.  Domingue’s desire to serve the people has become a real comparison to the classic by Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress – except this time, the story is in the Red Stick. 

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Statistic:  Out of 18 news stories written by this reporter on the Senate District 16 race, 15 articles were written targeting Lee Domingue.  NO articles were written targeting Claitor.  This begs the question as to what the connection is between the reporter and candidate, Dan Claitor or his  political operatives?