This morning I accepted our regular delivery of 10 Putnam County News and Recorder issues to sell in our shop. It is the fourth week in a row that I opened this “newspaper” and found not news, not factual reporting about events in our town, but articles designed to demean, deride and destroy the character of people in our community whose company I enjoy and views I respect. Gordon Stewart, publisher of The Paper, our other local news source, appears to be the primary subject of these attacks, though certainly not the only one.
Elizabeth Ailes, the PCNR’s publisher, has set about to smear Gordon Stewart’s character for what she vaguely claims as attacks on her and her family, though what those alleged attacks are remain a mystery. Mrs. Ailes appears to be fond of calling people liars and any assertion, no matter how small, seems to set off her “mendacity radar” to such an extent that it necessitates public declamation. She has published articles for the past four weeks that claim in great detail that Mr. Stewart had no involvement in writing former President Carter’s “Crisis of Confidence” speech given over 30 years ago. It’s hard for an ordinary person like me to imagine why the authorship of this speech is such an issue for her when any educated person knows that presidential speeches are collaborative efforts by numerous writers and strategists.
How does the authorship of a 34-year-old speech have any current relevance to those of us in Philipstown? What objective is Mrs. Ailes aiming to achieve by continuously calling Mr. Stewart a liar when any superficial research reveals her claims to be spurious at best? One can imagine that she is desperate to undermine her local competitor at any cost. Alternatively, she may have taken petty offense at being given a shared honor with Mr. Stewart by the Chamber of Commerce, thus explaining the false report on last week’s front page about Mr. Tamagna, the Chamber President.
The type of journalism practiced by the PCNR has a poisonous effect on our community. This publication confuses facts with opinion and fosters discord among citizens with differing viewpoints. It sensationalizes every disagreement regarding law and public policy when civil conflict and debate is the method by which effective governance is managed. It casts our public servants in an overly negative light when they struggle with the devilish details on issues that affect our lives now and in the future. In the name of free speech it threatens the free speech of our local population by instilling fear of retribution if one opposes the perspective it represents.
For these reasons, and others too many to list here, we have returned all current PCNR issues and the Area Guide to the publisher. We will no longer sell the PCNR in Go-Go Pops. Greg and I work hard to make our business a happy environment that offers only wholesome and sustainable products. In good conscience we can no longer sell a product we deem to be poisonous to our customers.
Proprietor, Go-Go Pops