I was glad to read last week that President Donald Trump had reversed course and announced that he would not implement budget cuts that would have permanently closed Stars and Stripes, the military newspaper serving American troops for several decades. 

This reversal by Trump came after the bombshell report in the Atlantic magazine, which quotes several anonymous sources stating that Trump had used disparaging language concerning American Troops killed during our nation’s wars calling them “suckers” and “losers” and, specifically had made comments degrading the late Senator John McCain, a true war hero. 

In February, the Trump administration had implemented plans to cut from the Defense Department budget funding for the newspaper, which was set to cease operations on Sept. 30. 

However, last week, Trump reversed course and announced on Twitter that the paper will continue publication after several major news organizations began publishing stories about the paper’s proposed demise. 

Stars and Stripes, even though funded by the Defense Department, had been vocal in its opposition to some wars, which it called “forever wars” and at times the paper had contradicted commanders and political leaders. In other words, it did the job that a newspaper is supposed to do: bring to life a difference of opinions, promoting an exchange of ideas about issues and allowing people to engage in conversations in which a difference of opinion can be openly discussed. 

Since I’ve been writing this weekly column recently, I’ve had several people reach out to me, some complimentary, while others have been upset with recent columns. What has occurred is a nice exchange of ideas, a way of looking at an issue differently with more information. 

Once of my favorite pieces of advice that I like to tell my two daughters is that in order to refute an argument, you must always listen and hear the other side. By failing to do so, how can you possibly offer a different take on it? And oftentimes, just by listening, you can learn a bit more about this issue. Perhaps your mind is not changed but you might be able to empathize with someone. 

Or perhaps, you learned to validate your opinion. 

Another job of newspaper is to let our readers know how the government is spending your money. We looked into that last week when we learned that the Madison County Water Facilities Board placed two legal notices in the statewide newspaper, but not in our county newspaper. As I’ve said in this column before, we like to run those legal notices because it shows transparency by our local officials as to what they are about to spend money on. We were disappointed to learn that the board chose not to advertise with us. 

The ads not only announced that the board was taking bids for a booster pump station rehabilitation and standpipe rehabilitation but also announced the time and date of when those bids would be publicly opened. We regret the citizens of Madison County missed out on the opportunity to bid the project as well as be present when the bids were opened if they chose to do so. 

The cost to run the legal notices in our paper was less than $200. The cost to run the ads in the statewide paper was approximately $700. Jeremy Rawn of Engineering Services Inc. said the board would not be able to be reimbursed for the cost of running the ads in The Record so he declined to do so. We regret that the our readers, the ones most affected by the projects, didn’t have the opportunity for transparency. 


Ellen Kreth is publisher of the Madison County Record and can be reached at ekreth@mcrecordonline.com