What a night!
So, as most of our readers who follow the Amarillo Pioneer know, yesterday we published a story in which a source said that KVII-TV in Amarillo did not release information that was potentially damaging to the City of Amarillo's MPEV project. The story, when released, drew quite a bit of feedback, both positive and negative. I would like to address some of these concerns for our readers.
First, we did not print this story with intent to damage the reputation of KVII-TV. Personally, I believe that KVII is probably the best television station in Amarillo and I really respect the different facets of reporting that the station has, particularly news director Amy Sullivan, anchor Anthony Pittman and chief meteorologist Steve Kersh. The channel has also had some great talent that have departed in recent years, like Larry Lemons or Leann Kossey. However, when it is revealed that a news source had information of that magnitude, it is worth addressing. Yesterday's was not a fun article to publish for that reason, but I believe that while media is also supposed to hold government accountable, holding each other accountable is also important. I point to the Academy Award-nominated film "The Post" for a quote that sums this up. In the film, Tom Hanks' character, Ben Bradlee, says something very profound: "The only way to protect the right to publish is to publish." It's a fight that all media outlets face and I think that we should all hold each other accountable to that standard.
Secondly, we did not print this story with the intent to damage the reputation of any person or entity mentioned. The Amarillo Pioneer has documentation to back up everything listed in yesterday's article, which led us to feel comfortable publishing the piece. If there ever comes a time when some of our documentation can be refuted, we are willing to publish a retraction. However, in the case of yesterday's article, there has been nothing to lead any person in the newsroom to believe that our source was not truthful in their statements.
Finally, we completely stand behind this article. You can still find this article on AmarilloPioneer.com and on our social media sites and we intend to let it remain there.
Also, I would like to address a criticism that was hurled our way Friday night. One of our readers pointed out that he feels that the Amarillo Pioneer has taken an "anti-City of Amarillo" or "anti-government" tilt. The fact is we never plan to take any "tilt" and offer praise where it is due and criticism where it is due. If you do not believe this to be the case, please read Hays Deserves Credit on Vote (amarillopioneer.com - March 6, 2018) or Hartman Promotion Deserves Praise (amarillopioneer.com - January 11, 2018) for some examples. However, I would point out the role of the press, as outlined by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black in the landmark decision, New York Times v. United States.
"In the First Amendment, the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy," Black wrote in his opinion. "The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. The Government's power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government."
Just as I have written before, we will never allow government of any type to dictate what we may print or may not print on our pages. The Constitution is written in such a way that makes this clear. We hold persons accountable when necessary and deliver praise when warranted. That is the job of a truly free press.
Thank you for reading the Amarillo Pioneer. We hope to see you again right back here on Monday.
-Thomas Warren III, Editor-In-Chief