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July 24, 2024

Bloomington’s Pantagraph should shutter its doors –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On June 26, 2015

Bloomington, IL. (ECWd) –

The Pantagraph newspaper is doing the citizens of Bloomington, IL. a disservice by advocating for the City of Bloomington to violate the free speech rights of everyone that attends a city council meeting (read how they betray the trust of their readership here).

Newspapers have a fundamental responsibility to the public they serve, to shine the light on government – NOT to advocate that a government limit the speech rights of citizens.

This is a shining example of all that is wrong with main stream media and local newspapers today. They have become the puppets of their puppet-master advertisers, and the subjects of their public officials.

The Pantagraph has equated the statutory right of public comment at public meetings with the choices it makes as a newspaper in printing letters to the editor. There is no comparison, the first is a RIGHT, and the second is at the discretion of the paper.

Then they say the city is “doing its job” if it puts limits on public comment. When the reality is that the city is violating the rights of the public with the rules it has proposed to adopt. Rules must enhance the public’s ability to address the board, but apparently the Pantagraph must think people should by forcibly silenced.

Next they talk about the City of Normal and County of McLean’s rules – conveniently forgetting to mention that those rules violate the Open Meetings Act and cannot survive a legal challenge. Pantagraph even goes so far as urging the City of Bloomington to adopt the most restrictive set of rules we have ever seen. This action would only invite litigation and I predict the city would lose, needlessly costing the taxpayers more money.

Finally, they claim the city has important business to discuss and shouldn’t have to waste its time messing with trivial issues like public comment citing “ample” opportunities to contact their elected officers. The Pantagraph must have forgotten that the Illinois Legislature has stated public comment during public meetings is a RIGHT – and violations of that right can subject public officials to arrest, criminal charges, fines, and imprisonment. No other opportunity to address public officials is a right – except for public comment at meetings.

One thing I have noticed after several years of investigative reporting, is that when public bodies start changing rules, especially rules for public comment, to further restrict the public’s ability to address and petition their government, there is something that public body is trying to hide – and it is only a matter of time before we find out what it is.

To the Pantagraph, I say shutter your doors now, you would do the citizen a better service to quit and go home, than to stab them in the back by publishing opinions like this one.

Media’s refusal to remain silent is the first line of defense against public corruption.

Bloominton-IL-Logo (WinCE)


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  • Chris M. Gaines
    Posted at 00:12h, 27 June Reply

    I agree with you. Mainstream media and even some alternative media outlets are a ” puppet ” to their advertisers and the huge revenue it generates for them. It’s hard not to be biased when you allow advertising of businesses and products within your organization or business and depend on that revenue to sustain it, wether that’s a for-profit business OR a NON-PROFIT organization and the money it generates for you evidently. That being said, I noticed advertising on your website here. How does that affect your non-profit organization and the money it generates for you? Can you remain non- biased even if one of your advertising accounts and the business that pays you for it is found guilty of any illegal activity or wrongdoing? I ask these questions will all due respect of course. Why allow any advertising on this website? Do you depend on the money it generates for you? Why do you ask for financial donations to your non-profit organization when you receive money from your advertising accounts, and I assume it’s a substantial amount of money based on the traffic to your website and the fact you claim your website traffic is increasing regularly on a monthly/yearly basis? Just curious how that advertising money affects your non-profit organization, if in fact it does at all. Can you please answer my legitimate questions i’ve raised concerning this issue? Thank you and have a nice day.

    • jmkraft
      Posted at 06:54h, 27 June Reply

      Our site generates barely enough to cover facebook ads we use, and the hosting fees from GoDaddy.
      We do not contact anyone for advertising, we use GoogleAds which show up automatically. We can opt out of certain categories like “Dating” and “Gambling” ads, which we have opted out of. Other than that, we do not search for companies to advertise on our site and do not care what companies might delete their ads from our site – there are always more ads that will pop up. In a nut-shell, we generally have no control over what gets advertised here, other than the ability to block certain ad categories.

      • Chris M. Gaines
        Posted at 11:38h, 27 June Reply

        Thanks for answering my questions honesty. Your explanation makes sense to me as it does to our audience here I assume. I am glad to here that advertising on your site doesn’t affect your judgements in reporting any kind of stories on your site. Have a nice day.

  • Warren J. Le Fever
    Posted at 10:55h, 27 June Reply

    I read the Bloomington editorial and I agree with your feeling that something is being hidden. I suggest starting by looking at how much city advertising appears in this newspaper and see if the amount has gone up – particularly recently and prior to the last two years. Money talks in many ways and particularly loudly to the media. The residents of the city themselves will have to begin watching closely to find out what is going on wrong because they will be the ones who have to fix the problem.

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