In Smith county Texas, a lot of people are saying a lot of interesting things about the local media’s coverage of the local jail bond issue. Most notably, the local newspaper, which seems to have become a mouthpiece for jail supporters. The local news media does about what you would expect from small town news. It reports on the stories that it thinks the public should know about, protects the image of the area that the communities power base wants to project, looks at criminal justice issues from the perspective of only showing the powers that be in as positive a light as possible, and functions as a preservative for the status quo.
That is about all we can expect from such media sources, being as inbreed as they are. The one notable exception to this trend was the coverage provided by CBS 19.
Even if the local media wanted to say anything negative, the local political structures keep the facts from them. The city of Tyler, has a policy that no one employed by the organization speaks to the media on any subject without the approval of the city manager, and if they do, the wrath city government will rain fire and brimstone on the offender. I am sure that the county has a similar policy.
It is time for a change in the local media and local government. It is time for more transparency. It is time for alternative media.