An bold “Sunshine Week” editorial in this week’s Newton TAB touts the virtues of transparency in government, the public’s right to know and the essential need for an unnumbered, free press.
We do get the government we collectively deserve, which is why your ability to know and to understand the functioning of your government and your leaders at all levels — local, state, and national — is so crucial to our democracy. It’s why the very First Amendment to the Constitution enshrines not only the freedom of religion and of speech to all, but of the press, and to your right to peacefully assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. There are no exceptions or qualifications among those words.
It’s an important editorial, which has never been more true or vital.
The problem is, this very same edition of the Newton TAB does nothing to demonstrate the principals that editorial tells us we must defend.
Except for a submitted column written by the mayor’s office, this week’s TAB does not contain one article about our local government or school system. Not one story. No meeting coverage. Nothing about the City Council’s marijuana moratorium. Nothing about the the folks who’ve been without power, downed trees, snow removal or the cost of storm cleanup. Nothing about the school committee’s proposed plan to shorten the high school day. Nothing about city workers joining the teamsters. Nothing about what Land Use or any other city committee is deliberating,
And of course we have nothing about the things we don’t know about but depend on reporters to tell us about.
Not one thing.
This week’s edition of the TAB also doesn’t include a single local letter to the editor. There is not one local opinion column.
Not one. Zero. And none of it is because the government infringed on the paper’s constitutional right to free speech.
“It’s more important than ever that you have access to the “facts” of how your government makes its decisions and how it functions,” the editorial concludes.
If only our paper of record were to practice what it preaches.