As Chairman of the Libertarian Party, I continue to be frustrated by the failure of the establishment media in Rhode Island to provide significant coverage and analysis of two key components of #38Stadium.
First, is a discussion of the appropriateness of government support of private entities. This issue alone is no mere philosophical speed bump to be dismissed. A central cause in Rhode Island’s economic and social decline is the rampant cronyism pervasive in our political system.
From a reporting perspective, another missing link is detailed coverage of the mechanics of the stadium transaction. Specifically, in depth conversations with “thought leaders”: those economists and analysts who can synthesize arguments by both supporters and detractors while providing relevant, objective assessment of the worthiness of the expenditure.
Instead, much of the coverage revolved around speculating whether the legislation would move or stall. The Journal’s coverage has been particularly myopic in this regard. Except for the Cumberland Town Council hearing, opponents’ testimony has been ignored or relegated to an afterthought. Headlines obsessed over the wait to be heard, as opposed to what needed to be heard.
In light of this, it is especially disturbing to see a significant voice in the “process” be silenced in her move from journalist to a senior policy position with a Senate office that appears hell bent on getting this deal done.
Compounding this development is yesterday’s announcement that yet another reporter from the Providence Journal would be joining the governor’s staff. That a reporter so intimate with the coverage of senior policy issues of the Raimondo administration would now become a primary voice advocating for those positions is a clear betrayal of the public trust and the public’s reasonable expectation of objective reporting of the news.
Critically, the reporters in question’s ethics and talent have been beyond reproach. But these events brings to the fore an emerging challenge facing the media: How can journalism maintain its editorial and reporting integrity if the wall between news maker (the government) and news reporter is not only breached, but ripped down?