Editorial by Chad Hobbs:
Truth is a fickle thing. Everyone wants it, but far fewer are willing to offer it. Those in power demand it, but rarely do they return it.
Humanity has proven time and time again, as a general rule, that as a person’s condition improves in regards to wealth, power, and success, so too does their propensity for thinking that they know best on how to dictate and define the lives of everyone around them, especially those they view as below them. An “I know better than you” philosophy is often the terrible side effect of success.
Pity the fool who decides to step out of line and shed light upon the shadows that such individuals cast as they decide everyone else’s fate. In trying to bring truth to the masses, such a fool will often find persecution from those in power, rather than their repentance.
No one bats an eye when a reporter writes a story about a drug addict or common thief violating the trust of this county. Go sticking your nose in the shadows where some elected officials like to operate, however, seeking truth on how the people of the county are being governed, and you may find a hornet’s nest swarming your head.
Such is the predicament I have found myself in, and such is the reason small communities like our own are infamous for their “good ol’ boy” politics. It’s a playbook as old as time.
First, they try to smear your name and threaten you into submission. Most of the time, they never have to go any further than that. It has surely worked in this county before.
Occasionally, though, some hardheaded, nothing-to-lose individual rises up from the peasant ranks and refuses to back down. Heaven knows I’ve lost more by my own hand in the past than anyone could ever threaten to take now.
When such an impasse takes place, there is usually no other option except for the powerful to raise the pot. Such power rarely folds and simply hands over truth. Instead, they double down and come back harder.
The fool must be silenced, whatever the cost. So, round two involves law and finances. If you can’t threaten truth seekers into silence, suing or financially ruining them is the next plan of action.
It was of little surprise when a local lawyer moseyed into our office a couple weeks ago, talking about how he doesn’t want to sue the paper, but the Judge is wanting to do just that.
Nor was it of much surprise when, around that same time, one of David Pace’s Fair Board members took to a social media post I’d been tagged in to voice his disdain for the paper, as he pointed out how we are dividing the county. He has a right to his opinion, just the same as I do to mine, no matter how inaccurate his was.
What was surprising, though, was how well versed he was in the financial matters here at the paper. Now, it’s no secret the huge role advertising plays in whether a newspaper’s doors are open or closed. When one of our subscribers began speaking of how many papers were flying off the shelves, the Board member quickly shot back a well-rehearsed game plan, threatening to shut down the newspaper through advertiser boycotts.
I for one greatly appreciate any business that advertises in our pages. They help put food on my table in return for access to our ever-increasing loyal subscribers.
When a business wants to be complacent, however, with a certain man’s quest to strangle us financially into compliance, well, that is crossing the line.
Banks make huge profits off the sweat of many a Meade Countians hard-earned dollars. As such, it could be said that no business has a responsibility to give back more to our community than banks, and many do just that. One such bank that bears our county’s name can be found everywhere supporting Meade County and its people’s endeavors and events.
The leadership of another bank has decided to take a much different course. Though it once had a Pace at its helm and Farmer in its name, much has changed over the years. The bank has no issue accepting my interest payment each month on the loan it floats on the house where I live. It has no problem housing and using the funds for the ballpark I help run.
The Vice President of the bank let our advertising department know that the bank would no longer be advertising with the paper because she felt we were just too negative. This translates into: despite the fact that the paper’s positive stories outnumber a few pointed editorials written by Mr. Hobbs and Mr. Doyle 50 to 1, the fact that those two have not whitewashed what our political buddies in the county have done forces us to boycott your paper. The Messenger can say whatever it wants about Circuit Court offenders, but the Fiscal Court is off limits. That is the message the powerful want to make good and clear the peasants understand.
So, here is what I offer to our loyal subscribers in the silent majority all across the county. Unlike some elected and appointed servants in this county, we here at the newspaper do not take lightly our responsibility to serve at the pleasure of the people. If you want us to continue to offer the in-depth news coverage of this county like we have been, whether it’s good, bad or somewhere in between, please continue to let us know like so many of you have already made loud and clear through your calls, visits, cards, and emails. More importantly, though, let your local leaders know that you will not stand for the voice of the people, the Meade County Messenger, to be bullied into silence by a ruling class that seems to have forgotten the difference between public servant and king. All we seek is truth and transparency from those who chose to publicly serve. A few men and women, however, seem to be hell bent on smearing, suing, and financially strangling this long-standing Meade County institution right out of business, leaving many of our employees, who have never done anything but love this county and its people, unemployed.