by Elliott Stonecipher
Now, having been held for many weeks by some in the news media, the story of the 1968 shooting death of mayoral candidate Ollie Tyler’s first husband is out.
Shreveporters who care are now able to know and consider the information. Many, many questions have been asked of me, and concern, on many fronts, is being expressed and shared.
The official report, prepared then by the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office (CPSO), is now available. I read it for the first time last evening, as did many of you. Although it is the Shreveport Times which finally published a story about these events, many of you cannot access it on their website.
KSLA Television (www.ksla.com), however, does have the story on its website, and within the article is the link which accesses the CPSO report. We thank KSLA for providing this important public service.
As things have been arranged, our logical and expected questions about the event are, sadly, unlikely to be answered.
To, and About, Our Shreveport News Media, Particularly the Shreveport Times:
A large number of questions asked of me have to do with the timing, methods and motives of the Shreveport Times. Again, in today’s Shreveport, those questions are not at all likely to be answered.
Most of you believe, which I well understand, that The Times is somehow involved in Ms. Tyler’s choice to only now “address” this issue – one of many dogging her campaign – on a Friday, and only four days before the election.
Some of you take it a step further, and link this story to an expected Times endorsement of Ms. Tyler for mayor, closely following its days-ago endorsement of U. S. Senator Mary Landrieu’s re-election. That link, to many of you, is rooted in a seeming Times’ kinship with Ms. Landrieu, the Glover Administration to which Ms. Tyler is attached, and other partisan (Democrat) interests now deeply embedded in Shreveport’s government.
However, contrary opinions about which candidate the newspaper favors are also rumored by more than one credible source. Many share my conviction that the Times should endorse no candidates … for any office … ever.
Most readers believe, too, that the Times was “given” the only “interview” by Ms. Tyler because they agreed to – or arranged – the terms, most notably that there be no direct questions asked of Ms. Tyler. The Times, as this suspicion goes, agreed to write a feature in place of a news, intended to boost Ms. Tyler’s election chances.
The Times, I trust, will address such questions. I don’t discard them out of hand, but I certainly don’t want to believe them.
It is a fact that Ms. Tyler refused to be interviewed yesterday and last night by KTBS and KSLA, according to those stations. Each station, and the CBS News, posted online stories … without any questioning of Ms. Tyler.
What All of This Actually Demonstrates
When the news media fails to do the job a free “press” is uniquely situated and tasked to do among free people, free people and their governance suffer … mightily.
No honest lover of our nation (or my Shreveport hometown) deserted journalism. We have, though, deserted partisan manipulations of journalism in the name of ever larger profits, the political agendas of owners – right or left – and infamous hubris among too many news media writers. Truly, “We didn’t leave journalism, journalism left us.”
Faux “news” outlets are dying, yes, by suicide. The weapon primarily used is political partisanship parading as “news reporting.” Real newspapers and journalists, though rare, are alive and working among us, with our ever deeper respect.
I am blessed to know many exemplary journalists, and more than a few still-solid, reputable and fair newspapers and TV stations. I spent the first day of this week, on my nickel, driving to and from Baton Rouge for a meeting with a team of these exemplary people, at their request. (Yes, one of our mayoral candidates was included among the topics.) It was the least I could do. I am proud to know and work with them, and they give me hope for Louisiana.
Put simply, Shreveport’s news media seems afraid to report the news, or is somehow too compromised to do so. Debilitating relationships nurtured by top brass are suspect, but many causes are easy to identify.
When and where such occurs ,,,
… “news” becomes one more cheesy kind of entertainment,
… “news reporting” gives way to feature writing,
… facts are indistinguishable from any other mass-communicated blather,
… political coverage morphs into hucksterism, dishonestly favoring certain candidates or issues, and
… a rare “truth” unearthed with and by journalism excellence is but a ghost of a much better day, painfully past.
Shreveporters must come to grips with what its choices for mayor really tell us about our city. In point of fact, the “next” mayor is arranged to be, again, the current mayor, only in a changed physical presence.
If that is to be our fate, all the smoke about a corruption-free, straight-up city government will be blown away. Only a staring corpse of a much better place, once upon a time, will remain.
To the honest, ethical and hard-working journalists left among us, know this: you are not invisible to those of us who care, and we thank you for what has now become, for some of you, your daily sacrifice on our behalf.
Elliott Stonecipher’s reports and commentaries are written strictly in the public interest, with no compensation of any kind solicited or accepted. Appropriate credit to Mr. Stonecipher in the sharing – unedited only, please – of his work is appreciated.