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September 30, 2004
Crawford Newspaper Doesn't Like Criticism Of Its Editorial Policy

Yesterday's "big" news was that the local weekly in Crawford, TX -- Bush's home town -- endorsed John Kerry in a half-page editorial. This made national headlines around the country in places like the Boston Globe and Chicago Sun-Times; not bad for a paper with a circulation of 425! The implication was clear: even Bush's neighbors aren't supporting his re-election. Too bad most of them will miss this follow-up of local Crawford reaction to the Lone Star Iconoclast's endorsement:

But the rack that once held the Lone Star Iconoclast Crawford's weekly newspaper now is empty, thanks to a blistering indictment in Tuesday's paper of Bush's presidential record and a call to elect Democrat John Kerry in November.

For a town drenched in Bush, the editorial is practically political heresy.

"Not only is he the president of the United States, he's my neighbor, he's my customer," Coffee Station owner Nick Spanos said. "We're not carrying that paper after today." ...

Iconoclast publisher W. Leon Smith, who co-wrote the editorial with two other writers, is unapologetic. "We're just trying to point out the direction the country's going in, and it's not good," he said.

Smith is majority owner of the Iconoclast, the Record of nearby Clifton and the Bosque Globe. He's also the mayor of Clifton and a Democrat who was defeated twice in campaigns for the Texas House of Representatives.

I'm sure the locals know about Smith's political track record, but neither the Boston Globe nor the Chicago Sun-Times mentions it. It changes the story somewhat to know that the editor that wrote Kerry's endorsement has his own political career to consider with the Texas Democrats, and explains why he's willing to risk the ire of his readers and the financial standing of the paper. Six advertisers have already dropped the Iconoclast as well as a handful of subscribers, but at a circulation of 425, it won't take much to put it into the ground.

Smith has a problem with people expressing their opinions about his opinions, too, likening their criticism to living in a police state:

He pulled up his computer e-mail inbox, filled with messages of varying intensity.

Smith said about 75 percent of them applaud the editorial, but the remaining fourth border on vitriol.

"It really appears to be me that we no longer live in an open society," he said. "When you get to the point where you can't express an opinion, then you're in trouble."

It sounds like Smith is the one who has problems with people expressing opinions. "Border on vitriol" sounds like a pretty tepid response for him to whine about reader reaction. Liberals love to express themselves and criticize others but get awfully thin-skinned when other people practice their First Amendment rights. No wonder Smith lost two elections. (hat tip: DagneyT)

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 30, 2004 6:55 AM

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» From the BFD Department from The Mile High View
A newspaper in Crawford TX with less than 500 readers makes national news when it endorses John Kerry. [Read More]

Tracked on September 30, 2004 10:28 AM

» from I Have No Idea Where We Are---- But We Are Making GREAT Time!
Echoing all the Democratic talking points that I've read about in blogs, the Lone Star Iconoclast is endorsing John Kerry for President. The Iconoclast is the newspaper in Crawford, TX, where President Bush has his ranch. Excerpt: Four items trou... [Read More]

Tracked on September 30, 2004 10:31 AM

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