It must be pro-Republican season again Steve Hammer The Indy Star, which has transformed itself from a family-run right-wing propaganda arm to a corporately-run McPaper right-wing propaganda arm, has outdone itself this time. Correctly sensing that there is no capacity for outrage among the newspaper’s readers, columnist Matthew Tully wrote a column last week complaining about the Libertarian Party of Indiana’s nagging insistence that they be covered by the paper. “The Libertarian Whine is one of the true campaign constants. It is to elections what potholes are to spring, or what mosquitoes are to summer,” Tully wrote, adding that their cries for attention are “annoying.” It does, indeed, suck when a journalist has to cover all of the aspects of his or her assigned beat, instead of relying on press releases from the Republican Party, and Tully wrote passionately about just what an inconvenience it is. He mocks a Libertarian candidate who e-mailed him asking for more press. And when the candidate responded to a Tully phone call, Tully mocks him again for calling him back. “As we talked, I asked [him] why I should write about a party that got 1.3 percent of the vote in the last governor’s race,” Tully wrote. The candidate said that, well, he is actually on the ballot and he could possibly win. Tully snorted in derision. “I started wondering just what they spike the water with down on Libertarian Avenue,” he wrote. This undisguised contempt for minority viewpoints is exactly why fewer and fewer people under the age of 70 rely on The Star for anything other than sports scores, horoscopes and Today’s Prayer. The Star has a long and well-documented past of ridiculing and ignoring non-conservative viewpoints. In 1968, Robert Kennedy’s travels across Indiana were headline news across the nation. Not in The Star, though, which ran front-page editorials and published derisive cartoons about Kennedy. When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed, Kennedy delivered an impromptu eulogy for the slain civil rights leader at 17th Street and Broadway in Indianapolis. His eloquent words are credited for sparing our city from the rioting and violence that erupted in other cities. Kennedy’s eulogy was carried in newspapers across the world. The Star, however, barely mentioned the speech. Thirty-eight years later, The Star has shed its local ownership, fired or pushed out most of its locally-born staff and has become another unit of the Gannett Co.’s Borg-like assimilation of the independent press. But the cultural and political xenophobia continues, as evidenced by Tully’s piece. It never goes completely out of style. Libertarians don’t get the attention given the other candidates because political reporters are trained to ignore the important issues and instead focus on things such as poll numbers, intraparty fighting and attack ads. Candidates who insist on sticking to the issues are ignored and attacked. Is it any wonder that our elected officials are mostly Ken and Barbie dolls who preen for the cameras without ever actually saying or doing anything? Tully could have written about the city’s No. 1 living Barbie doll, County Clerk Doris Ann Sadler, who hates freedom so much that she screws up the election ballots every two years. Indiana has been a state since 1816 and has held regularly scheduled elections all of that time. But Sadler seems confused by that fact, and instead searches for new and innovative ways to mess up the ballot, causing countless delays and costing the taxpayers untold thousands of dollars. Or Tully could have written about our knuckleheaded Congressman Dan Burton, who spent eight years harassing Bill Clinton and still blames Slick Willie for the mess in Washington. Burton, you’ll remember, criticized Clinton for his marital infidelity until Burton’s own checkered past was brought to light. He might have even written about The Star itself, which these days announces every story on its front page in headlines of the size and boldness usually reserved for presidential assassinations or declarations of war. “AREA NURSES STRETCHED THIN,” one day’s shocking headline asserted. Alas, the story was not about some new S&M fetish practice but the shortage of nurses in public schools. The Star was never a great newspaper, but at least it was ours. People developed bonds with their favorite reporters and columnists, because the writers knew the city and loved the city, even if what they wrote was slanted far to the right. We still get the right-wing, anti-underdog, pro-Goliath bias, but the money the newspaper makes is shipped out of state while the reporters there pray for an assignment to a “better” city. Tully may not like the Libertarians because they could cause him more work, but the message the party has to offer is interesting and vital information for the state. Unfortunately, in an era where might makes right, and the president of the United States is contemplating a nuclear first strike, Tully’s column fits right in with the culture of cruelty. It’s easy to bash a minor-party candidate for not being a major-party candidate but far more time-consuming to actually examine the party’s philosophy and ideas. Now The Star even bashes candidates for begging for a little fair treatment. No wonder people hate the media so much. For good reason.

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