Not a perfect world

By Staff
July 13, 2004
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour didn't exactly mesmerize a bunch of newspaper types when he spoke to their convention in Memphis last week. Our governor seemed irritated. Seems he's taking it on the chin and not just from the press over his plan to overhaul the state's cash-strapped Medicaid program by dropping many recipients from the rolls. The vast majority of these recipients are elderly, poor or disabled people who fear they have nowhere else to turn for the medicines on which they depend. Barbour believes otherwise.
Barbour took a few pot shots at one big, unnamed Mississippi daily newspaper for writing major stories about pending economic development projects, projects that may need the benefit and surety of state-backed bonds to make it. He encouraged reporters to get their facts straight before information is published that could scare away an interested business.
Well, there's nothing wrong with that journalists should have their facts straight. But the press should also have access to all of the facts so we can inform our readers and viewers before legislators are asked to approve new bonded indebtedness. This is the only way to retain and protect the public's interest in how its own money tax dollars is used by elected officials.
Journalists are not historians; our duty is to report facts as they come available. That is the nature of news. In a perfect world, there would be more of an open process so all of the details of major economic projects would be available to anyone with an interest in knowing. Of course, as Barbour is finding out, this is not a perfect world.

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