Local press needs to hold elected official accountable

Re: Kinskey, Press, Oct. 20

I would like to address state Sen. Dave Kinskey’s letter, do not wish to address Mr. Kinskey’s arguments, poor as they are.

Instead, I would like to address the function of a vigorous free press in a democracy. Mr. Kinskey’s latest letter to the editor appears to simply be one more example in a storied history of local media operating as a kind of megaphone for our elected officials to broadcast their talking points while avoiding any accountability to their constituents.

Earlier this year, Mr. Kinskey’s anti-school legislation made him the target of significant grassroots pushback. Then, as now, he did not see fit to meet with stakeholders or enter into dialogue with constituents. Instead, he chose to write op eds and visit friendly media sources such as Sheridan Media, where he could continue to tick off his talking points without fear of fact checkers or dissenting voices, where he could mischaracterize opposing views, and where he could always control the narrative.

It’s clear that the local press wants and needs access to these elected officials, and the reticence to hold the accountable, in print or on the air, stems from this ongoing hostage situation. But it’s worth remembering that the relationship works both ways. They need the press, too.

Wyoming officials aren’t used to having their beliefs questioned, and part of the blame for that state of affairs falls on the press. If the local media cannot hold elected officials accountable, they can, at the very least, stop performing in the passive role as government mouthpiece. Maybe if elected officials were denied this safe and secure venue, they will be forced to actually engage with their constituents. Then we can practice something that at least resembles representative democracy.

Josh Hanson

Sheridan

 

By |October 24th, 2017|

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