The news according to...
Throughout history we have seen great examples of the government controlling the media. Joseph Goebbels was extremely talented at press releases. Joseph Stalin was very adept at it as well. These government officials didn't have to answer to the people, they told the people what to think, and the people believed them.
Recently we have received comments from some of our readers that criticized our stories about UNITE. Our stories have not been the press release stories written by UNITE, stories that praise their accomplishments.
The Hazard Herald has never held back on their positive press, but our realization that there might be issues needing closer examination, as far as the operation of the agency, has put us in bad favor.
UNITE sent us an e-mail saying, "Please be advised that operation UNITE will no longer respond to questions from the Hazard Herald Newspaper."
UNITE is not alone in their refusal to answer questions from the Hazard Herald. U.S. Representative Hal Roger's Office has also refused to answer any of our questions.
When a government official refuses to answer any questions about a project he sponsors, a project costing taxpayers millions of dollars each year, the appearance of impropriety arises.
UNITE could be the most perfectly run government agency in the nation, but the refusal of its leadership, and of Congressman Hal Rogers to answer questions from the Hazard Herald goes beyond the drug war of our region, and into the fabric of democracy.
A free press is useless if the government is not accountable to the people, and the actions of UNITE and Congressman Rogers would indicate just such an attitude.
The public has the right to more than just those releases pumped out of UNITE by their Communications Director. They have the right to know more than the evening newscast spectacular drug roundup story every three or four months.
News which is orchestrated by the newsmakers is not news, it's propaganda, and UNITE has done a great job at orchestrating the news to the majority of the news outlets in eastern Kentucky. That which is most alarming is the readiness of the media to blindly accept the government version of what is happening, and ignore the people's claims entirely.