Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Irresponsibility Taken to New Levels

I was going to do a post today with some pictures of my dives from this past weekend, however there is something else that has grabbed my attention and is just begging to be addressed. The Marianas Variety printed a letter to the editor from Ron Hodges on Tuesday which proved to me that the Variety can indeed find new ways to sink to new all time lows. I am not the first blogger to talk about this. Brad and Angelo have both posted their thoughts on it, and if you want to see what has us all so up in arms, you can read the letter to the editor here on Brad's blog.

Ron is not happy about the local government passing House Bill 15-38, which is called the local Labor Reform Act. Ron is not the only one who isn't happy about the passage of the bill, the business people don't like it, the contract workers don't like it, the federal Labor Ombudsman has some real concerns with it, but Ron is the only one who is advocating domestic terrorism as an answer to the new law. Ron is telling the cooks in the CNMI to start spitting in the soup of all the tourists, he's telling the youth to go on a grafitti rampage spray painting everything, and he's telling the workers to sabotage the generators at Commonwealth Utilities Corporation.

At a time when we are already suffering some of our worst tourist numbers ever, Ron wants to completely kill the economy, all as his way of protesting this Labor Reform Act. I think it's important to point out here that Ron is a teacher at one of our public high schools. Is this what he is teaching in his class? Is he inciting his students to civil disobedience and unrest? Is he teaching them that the only way to deal with something you don't like is to become a lawbreaker yourself? Are we really paying him government funds to teach this to our children? Will PSS continue to employ a teacher who is clearly encouraging vandalism and terrorism openly in the newspapers?

But he's gone further than just encouraging destroying tourism with vandalizing food and spray painting everywhere, he's encouraging people to sabotage the government generators that provide electricity. I believe this has crossed the line of free speech and he has now moved into a fuzzy area that is known as inciting domestic terrorism. It will be interesting to see how the various law agencies handle this and what their reaction will be. Will they have to wait until somebody actually does something to one of the engines or generators, or do they have enough to go on already?

Then there is the other side of this, that would be the role of the Marianas Variety. I understand that the editor, Zaldy Dan Dan is claiming the letter was only meant to be sattirical, saying that if people don't understand satire it's not his problem. The thing is, after reading Ron's previous letters to the editor, I don't believe this was meant to be satire at all, I think he was being totally serious. So does a media outlet such as a newspaper have a responsibility to let everyone say whatever is on their mind, all in the name of free speech, or do they have a community responsibility? I think the Variety has once again clearly demonstrated that they are an irresponsible rag with no conscience and no integrity. They have become a mouthpiece for terrorism and vandalism.

It was issues such as this one that prompted me to cancel my subscription of the Variety over a year and a half ago. It was issues such as this that have prompted the business community to boycott advertising in the Variety and to show them they want nothing to do with them. Promoting or supporting a newspaper that runs letters to the editor supporting terrorism and vandalism means that you are also a part of the problem. I think it is time to renew the boycott of the Marianas Variety, and to rid the island of this disgraceful rag once and for all.


Angelo Villagomez said...

A public apology would be a step in the right direction.

Satire is meant to be funny. His letter was not satirical.

I hope that he gets to personally paint over every single "Free the People" graffiti tag that pops up....then he can come help me scrape paint at the Lighthouse.

Jeff said...

I don't support what Ron said, and I think he has had good points in the past, but he has now lost his audience with this.

I think the editing should be in rumor mongering. If a politician said this, it would be reported. I don't think Ron is going to lead an uprising or anything, and I don't think anything will come of this. Middle aged white people aren't that influential with the youth.

From what I see in the Tribune, their ads are from their other holdings, Fiesta Resort and such.

I certainly don't think this letter makes the Variety a rag. The Variety is much more critical than the Tribune, isn't the corporate mouthpiece in the company town, and their editorial forums much more open and frewheeling. Zaldy hits the mark regularly on Friday, and their Wednesday columnist is one good looking devil.

Bruce A. Bateman said...

It may just be a poorly conceived and badly calculated piece of PR. The guy's name and the name of his biz will be on many lips. If he can stay out of legal harms way he may just have formed the advertising coup of the year.

On the other hand, he may just have imbined one too many peyote buttons while smoking a huge joint...then decided to write.

In either event, he owes more than an apology. He owes a retraction.

Good piece, Harry.

I still read 'the rag' but only to see the picture of their HB look alike on Wednesdays. (:-))

Jeff said...

Cmon Bruce. Can we stop with the drug stuff. Ron took things a bit far. He's been repudiated. Drug accusations are absurd and unfair.

O. Calimbas said...

Free speech protection ends when it becomes an incitement to "imminent lawless action." Not my words. It comes from the US Supreme Court decision in Brandenburg v. Ohio. I haven't read that opinion in ages, but if I recall correctly, there will be very few cases when a call to arms reaches the point of becoming criminal. I suppose the OAG may be looking into this as requested by PSS.

I think there was a recent appellate case in the States about a letter to the editor (?) in which the writer suggested that people get together and lynch Muslims(that conveniently could be taken from a local mosque) if there was another terrorist attack of some sort. The state (or federal?) court found that this wasn't an illegal incitement.

Bruce A. Bateman said...

Mellow, Jeff, It's a joke.

Ron is, I think, a drinker not a doper. And it would be in his favor to say that he was drunk when he wrote it. But I know nothing of the kind. This may likely have been just a case of going over the edge while stone cold sober.