It’s outrageous, but not surprising, that a CNN crew, including reporter Omar Jimenez, was arrested for doing their jobs covering the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week.  The crew had been broadcasting in the early morning hours about the protests taking place in the city. That incident began a weekend of attacks by the police against reporters, who were simply doing their jobs.  The arrests and the violence against the media were an extraordinary interference with the freedom of the press. 

The climate around media as of late has been toxic. One of my favorite sayings is a newspaper prints what others might not want printed. If it printed what people wanted to see all the time, it would be a public relations agency, not a newspaper, whose job it is to report the news, hold elected and government officials accountable, unearth malfeasance and investigate wrongdoings. 

But, President Donald Trump calls news that isn’t favorable to him and his tender ego fake news and claims that the press is the enemy of the people. The president’s constant mantra is damaging to democracy and the free flow of ideas leading to civil discourse of the important societal issues. 

We don’t print fake news. We cover the news. Those same people who bash us are some of the same people who complain that the news isn’t free to them. The Record’s coronavirus coverage is free to the public for a period of time, but as a private business we also have bills to pay and need to charge for our services, just as an electric company needs to charge for electricity. 

We are worth the $39 you pay for a subscription. Now more than ever local news is imperative. 

If it weren’t for the media, people in this county wouldn’t know how many people associated with Madison County have tested positive for Covid-19 nor would they know where to go to get tested, what free tests are offered, how the pandemic has affected local business, or when the NWA Food Bank would be in town giving out food to those in need, just to name a very small number of stories that we’ve reported on and will continue to report on.

The Arkansas Department of Health is behind on tracking and reporting cases of positive tests of Covid-19 in our county. We’re the only news source in the county with accurate numbers of cases being reported. 

We broke the news story when a resident of Meadowview tested positive and we kept an open line of communication with officials informing the public of how the case was being treated and when the patient recovered. 

We also broke the story of employees at Butterball testing positive. And we’ve stayed on top of the story, learning as much information as possible in order to relay that information to our readers. We have had many employees or family of employees reach out to us about the working conditions at Butterball. One of them offered an appreciated comment by thanking The Record for being their voice. It is our job to report the news to keep the community informed, and we work hard to do just that. 

The president’s tender ego of not always having positive affirmation, striking out against the media and gaining a cult following is not helping us do our job of helping you stay informed and it’s adversely affecting the news industry.