Daily Bread for 9.30.23: Fierce or Bust

 Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 82. Sunrise is 6:51AM and sunset 6:31 PM for 11h 45m 41s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 98.2% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1954, the U.S. Navy submarine USS Nautilus is commissioned as the world’s first nuclear-powered vessel.

In a small town like Whitewater, where the Whitewater Common Council and the Community Development Authority are beset or controlled by special interests (under the thumb of principals & operatives, and behaving as catspaws), residents need good & honest reporting on local developments.

While FREE WHITEWATER is a website of commentary and not journalism, this libertarian blogger can tell the difference between solid journalism (of which this city has had almost none until Whitewaterwise) and failed and fraudulent efforts (of which this city has had many). 

Seth Stern writes In defense of aggressive small-town newspapers:

The prevalence of “news deserts” has apparently led some to think it’s normal for neighborhood news outlets to function as lapdogs rather than watchdogs. A Marion [in Kansas] grocery store owner told the Times that the local paper “should of course be positive about everything that is going on in Marion, and not stir things up and look at the negative side of things.” 

Fluff pieces may be good for business (at least in the short term), but we wouldn’t need a First Amendment if the press’s role were to applaud the status quo. 

The ordeal [conflict in Marion] also belies the notion that small towns don’t need journalism because “everyone knows each other” and holds their friends accountable. Marion County has almost twelve thousand people. Small-town politicians and elites may all know each other, but there are still plenty of people outside the bubble. The press’s job is to bring them in. And even towns far smaller than Marion—where everyone actually might know each other—are by no means always exemplars of good government. 

The truth is that the powerful complain about aggressive media coverage everywhere, not just in small towns. Find me a government of any size that doesn’t think the press is too hard on it. The difference is that small-town officials often have far greater ability to meaningfully retaliate against negative coverage rather than just complaining about it. That can mean filing frivolous SLAPP suits or pulling contracts for legal notices

These efforts are especially likely to succeed in small towns because the more desperate news outlets become for money, the more susceptible they become to intimidation and self-censorship. 

This last year has seen a furious, persistent effort by a few men on the Whitewater CDA and the Whitewater Common Council to preserve special interest control over both those public bodies. 

An intensification of scrutiny has never been more necessary for this city. 

More than 70% of Nagorno-Karabakh’s population flees as future uncertain for those who remain:

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