Perhaps 2004 will be remembered as the year that internet news
reporting made the difference. ”’HawaiiReporter.com”’ broke a story that
many believe may have changed the course of an election. Controversy
followed, but for the first time the little guy knew his side of a
story had a chance to be told when “mainstream” media decided it was
not worthy of telling. The reaction from other media to
Hawaii.Reporter.com’s publishing of this story was disturbing. Some
called the story a “smear” and likened it to the rumors circulated
about Cef Heftel in his 1986 run for governor. During that campaign
rumors were spread about Mr. Heftel that no one would take credit for
or substantiate. The press had no one to interview to back up the
rumors. No one could or would claim actual knowledge to support what
was being spread. To report these rumors on the evening news would
simply have played into the hands of the cowardly people who would
not step forward to claim credit for them.
In 2004 a very different set of circumstances existed. Disgruntled relatives
of a deceased individual learned that a woman they had been
involved in litigation with was likely to be the new first lady of
the City and County of Honolulu. These people may have been
completely off the wall, but they were willing to appear in person
to make their claims, and to present documents about the fight they
had been engaged in. Just put yourself in their position for a
minute. The person you are furious with gets free media attention all
the time and is never questioned about the allegations you firmly
believe to be true. You on the other hand are ignored despite your
willingness to talk to media and produce what evidence you have to
support your side. How would you feel? Furious? This is how we
Libertarians often feel when the media reports on only the thoughts
of the Democrats and Republicans.
”’Hawaii.Reporter.com”’ was blasted by many for publishing the
allegations made by these angry people. Bias in favor of the other
candidate was charged, but such charges don’t change the rights of
the people who made their claims to be heard. I have been told point
blank that the reporters and news staff of at least one of the four
TV News teams here regarded this story to be newsworthy. They were
only held back from reporting it by the recently hired mainland
station management. It was news and should have been treated as such.
The veracity of the claims made by the relatives should have been
questioned publicly by media and by the candidates concerned. Voters
should not have ended up making decisions about the important choice
in this race without hearing a statement from the people under attack
and from getting some honest investigation by the daily papers and
television news departments.
It is sad that this whole incident may have tipped the election.
Although I personally voted for the winning candidate, I have
personal respect for the other man. I understand his pain and his
anger. For my part I would never have chosen to vote as I did over
the sort of accusations, true or false, that were made in this case.
What I do hope is that now Hawaii will realize that the arrogance of
the TV stations and Newspapers to decide to ignore people in the
community who have something to say about public persons should stop.
This case should prove that such censorship isn’t in the best
interests of candidates or community. Thank God we now have the
Internet and people like the good folks at ”’Hawaii.Reporter.com”’ to
help ensure that censorship can be fought.
”’Tracy Ryan, chair of the Libertarian Party of Hawaii, can be reached by email at:”’ mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
”’HawaiiReporter.com reports the real news, and prints all editorials submitted, even if they do not represent the viewpoint of the editors, as long as they are written clearly. Send editorials to”’ mailto:Malia@HawaiiReporter.com