The Town Talk is the newspaper of record for the City of Alexandria, Louisiana, a newspaper that has been an institution in Central Louisiana for well over one hundred years, a newspaper whose significance in the local marketplace of ideas has been frequently documented, and a newspaper that was actually the subject of a probing piece of scholarly research in a book entitled The Talk of the Town.
Once upon a time, The Town Talk served as a model for progressive, civic-minded newspapers. It was founded by Edgar McCormick, a man who used his soapbox to champion his community. Mr. McCormick passed away nearly 100 years ago, and since then, this community has changed dramatically. We’re bigger. We’ve expanded. And we’re more diverse.
Unfortunately, however, Mr. McCormick’s newspaper is no longer a reflection of the community it serves. Now, the paper doesn’t belong to the community; it belongs to Gannett. It ships in corporate editors and cycles in publishers.
Despite the fact that 54% of Alexandrians are African-Americans, The Town Talk doesn’t have a single African-American reporter. Their inability to report the news of our entire community only exacerbates divisions and increases distrust. And, in many ways, this diminishes their ability and responsibility to be critical. A community as richly diverse as Alexandria deserves to be recorded by a newspaper that reflects that diversity, a paper that can speak to the entire community.
That said, I believe that the paper has some solid reporters, but with all due respect, they are undermined by an extremely conservative editorial agenda, an agenda that simply doesn’t speak to the community at large.
Today, The Town Talk endorsed John McCain for President, one day after it endorsed John N. Kennedy for Senate. Although I may be proven incorrect, I strongly believe our community will endorse, with its votes, Senator Obama and Senator Landrieu, and The Town Talk, with its weak endorsements, will be proven to have used its platform to advance an ideological agenda borne out of the individual political beliefs of a very small group of people and not a representation of our community.
By weak endorsements, I mean:
We leave it to others to sing the praises of Barack Obama, McCain’s primary competitor. Obama has elevated the discussion by daring to ask “what if?” and the nation is better off with his voice in the campaign. He speaks with eloquence about his primary pursuit — giving Americans the things they cannot get on their own. He also tells us he would achieve that by tapping the middle-income “have’s” to help pay for the low- and no-income “have-not’s.”
The Town Talk completely misses the point and misrepresents Senator Obama’s platform. It’s a ridiculous distortion to suggest Obama favors “tapping” the middle class to pay for “no-income ‘have not’s.’” Actually, Obama believes in providing a tax cut to 95% of working, middle class families. The notion that this is about hand-outs is offensive and ignorant. Continuing:
The underlying principle — to help others — is familiar to all of us. We are a nation of people who are known for their sacrifice and generosity. Americans do not need government to tell them to give. Americans give because their hearts urge them to do so and their faith reminds them they should.
At the same time, Americans are historically, collectively and rightly opposed to the suggestion that government should intervene in this regard. That prospect of over-reaching and ever-bigger government contradicts everything upon which this nation is built. History tells us that, and common sense tells us to pay attention.
Honestly, I find this to be incredibly amateurish. However, since The Town Talk brought it up, I call on them to voluntarily increase their tax contribution in order to help our country pay off our national debt. This would be evidence of their faithful committment to America.
Regardless, it is disingenous and dishonest to suggest that Senator Obama believes in over-reaching and ever-bigger government; this seems to simply reiterate a blanket and ridiculous argument that right-wingers use against Democrats in general. It’s really insulting how ignorantly this endorsement was framed.
But, believe it or not, they printed something even more ridiculous and insulting– an argument that because, technically, Obama is not the descendant of slaves, a hypothetical effigy of him being hanged wouldn’t be a hate crime because his father was from Kenya (and by the way, Obama isn’t actually black, according to The Town Talk):
Speaking of un-American: It is un-American for people to think that some guy in Los Angeles committed a hate crime by displaying among his Halloween decorations an effigy of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin hanging from a noose.
Free speech is often terrible. You have to take the bad with the good.
Do I think the display is distasteful? You bet. But he has a right to be distasteful. It is free speech.
And don’t buy into the suggestion that it would be a hate crime if he had hung Obama in effigy.
Obama is fair game. First, Obama is not black. He’s of mixed race. Second, his black ancestors did not experience slavery in the United States. His father was from Kenya.
If Obama were black and if he were hung in effigy, then a case could be made for that being a hate crime.
During the times of slavery, Reconstruction and well into the 20th century, a black man left hanging was meant to intimidate others. Today the noose is regarded as a symbol of that chilling time, and laws have been enacted to regulate how a noose may be displayed.
You heard it here first. According to The Town Talk, Obama is “fair game” for an effigy because he isn’t black.