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  • Last modified 217 days ago (Oct. 18, 2023)

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Illegal legals?

To the editor:

When I was a college professor, I was assigned to serve as a “critical friend” to new faculty.

A critical friend is someone emotionally invested enough in a person to ask him provocative questions that allow him to see himself through another lens.

At 71, as a centrist Democrat, I have a critical friend who is an acclaimed journalist and a centrist Republican.

She, along with the conservative newspapers I read, help me see the world from a perspective outside of my personal mindset.

I consider myself to be a critical friend to Hillsboro, because I have loved it since I was a little girl although I never got to live there. I write this letter as a critical friend.

I’m not a journalist, but I offer as my bona fides that I taught social studies in public schools, and techniques of teaching social studies at Midwestern State University, so I am a student / scholar of history and civics.

To understand the pulse of the country, I subscribe to and read daily the digital Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Fort Worth Star Telegram, the New York Times, and The Birmingham Lede.

I subscribe to and read the digital and paper copies of the Village Voice, my local weekly in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas, and the Hillsboro Star-Journal.

I also transcribe documents for the National Archives. So, while I am not a journalist, I understand the role of the press, including its function of preserving the historical record.

Legitimate newspapers preserve the historical record on paper as a governmentally independent entity. No one can change the archived historical record.

Therefore, I am stunned that Hillsboro recently passed, 4-1, an ordinance declaring that the city’s website is the city’s “newspaper.”

Citizens of Hillsboro: Does this sound like George Orwell’s “1984” to you?

Orwell’s Big Brother from “1984”: “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”

Hillsboro City Council, 4-1, with Byron McCarty opposed: The city’s website is the city’s newspaper.

The city council can say a thousand times that the city’s website is the city’s newspaper, but does their saying it make it any more true than Big Brother saying ignorance is strength?

A legitimate newspaper is the press. The press is the Fourth Estate.

The Fourth Estate’s job is to serve as a government watchdog: Investigate, analyze, and inform the public of a government’s wrongdoing. Shine a light on deeds done in darkness.

The press also advocates for the citizenry by speaking truth to power.

Do you want your newspaper watching out for your interests?

That’s not what a city’s website does. A city’s website is, and should be, its cheerleader.

I think calling a city’s website its newspaper is akin to stationing your 13-year-old daughter’s boyfriend outside her bedroom window to ensure that she doesn’t sneak out at night.

What do you think?

A critical friend.

Millie Gore Lancaster
Hot Springs Village, Arkansas

The writer is a niece of the late Bud and Marcella Bruce, publishers of the Hillsboro Star-Journal from 1954 to 1988.

Last modified Oct. 18, 2023

 

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