Aaron Vargas & The Fort Bragg Advocate-News

by Letters to the Editor, April 12, 2010

Hullo Freda,

Thank you for your opinion piece in the "AVA" about the lack of responsible reporting by the "Fort Bragg Advocate News" especially in coverage of Aaron Vargas.

I'm sure I don't have to tell you the corporate-owned, corporate-friendly print and electronic media has an OBLIGATION to inform—as fairly as possible—its readers/audience.  A major reason for the current Wall Street meltdown, affecting the entire world, is because, exactly like Congress, the corporate media hasn't been watching out for us.  All along, the so-called "major media" has placed profit before people, allowing advertisers to dictate editorial policy. And, adding insult to injury, the corporate media consistently denies this.  How the right-wing can call the corporate media "liberal" is proof of the low integrity and/or equally low intellectual wattage of so-called "conservatives."

I studied journalism at the University of Texas at Austin in the early 60s and ended my brief career in that field just a few years later publishing and editing an underground newspaper in San Antonio that almost got me literally killed. I still haven't fully healed and am still seeing a shrink, the direct result of placing people before profit in my newspaper.

I am now 73 and it galls me more than ever how we students at UT were drilled over and over to be "objective" in our writing.  It didn't take me long "on the job" to figure out there ain't no such animal in journalism as "objectivity" especially in the US of A which today ranks about fortieth among nations in freedom of the press, according to Reporters Without Borders.

In the twenty plus years I've lived here on the coast, the "Advocate News" has published many dozens of my letters-to-the-editor and even opinion pieces.  A letter I submitted recently in support of Aaron Vargas is the very first—in my memory—NOT to be published.  This gives credence to supporters of Vargas who say the "Advocate" has been blocking news about him for political considerations.

If this is true, the owners and staff of the "Advocate News" must be truly chagrined at the incredible amount of national major media coverage of Vargas. If this young man receives justice, it will not have been with the help of his hometown newspaper.

Tom Cahill
Fort Bragg

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