Last week, we started a series on the lies by silence, the sins of omission, which runs rampant through the media of this State. Right on cue, the Bangor Daily News was found embroiled in an information and misinformation campaign this past week. The revelations that came from an over reach of freedoms came under the glaring light of public scrutiny when Maine residents became enraged at the revelations Bangor Daily News had abused the Freedom of Information Act.
The Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) is legislation, which allows any American to request information that is in the public record. The caveat being that if the information is deemed to pose a threat to the well being of the citizenry the public entity can refuse on those grounds. Often times when documents are released under FOIA, they will have portions blotted out because the information is too dangerous to be released.
This past week Bangor Daily News, citing FOIA, sent a letter to the Maine State Police and all the local town and city precincts demanding the names and addresses of all individuals who have Concealed Carry Weapons (CCW) permits be sent to their newspaper. This ignited a firestorm of protest within the State and within two days Bangor Daily had rescinded their request. Readers will recall a similar situation in New York where a paper posted a list and map of gun owners in their readership area. Subsequently, robberies began to happen at the homes from the map targeting their guns. The perpetrators were caught with the list and map in hand.
What is most curious is the explanation Bangor Daily gave for the inquiry into the CCW’s. The editor attempted to calm the situation by citing the reasons as the pending legislation by Representative Cory Wilson (R), which would block access to the CCW list, and their ongoing investigation into sex offenders and drug dealers. This leads this columnist to wonder how the paper expects the residents of Maine to have their anger pacified by the knowledge that those employed by the Bangor Daily equate gun ownership with sex offenders, drug dealers or are at least trying to establish a connection and quickly before Rep. Wilson’s bill passes, most curious indeed.
As stated, Bangor Daily News has rescinded its request. But a new group has issued a request immediately after Bangor Daily pulled its request, a group called CelebrationsConnect. They are rumored to have ties to the Portland Press Herald. A shadow group? Plausible deniability? Just a shot in the dark but it smells. At any rate, the battle against your privacy and safety is far from over. The Governor has put forth emergency legislation that would block the media or any other organizations from getting to the CCW lists. The roll call vote is set for the 19th of February. Be assured that this columnist will let you know who votes for and who votes against your right to privacy and safety.
To this point, all the Republicans are on board in support of the Governor. The only statement from Democrats is one Seth Berry acknowledging Mainers are angry…..cue sound of crickets. So I guess we know where this is going.
The Portland Press Herald made a clumsy attempt at a distraction from the issue by trying to attack the Governor for a $32,000 expense bill for the meals at the Blaine House. What they forgot to include is this Governor has made it a point to entertain many of the military veterans, business people, and just plain hard working people in Maine making this the most accessible Blaine House perhaps in the history of the State of Maine. Now the Portland Press Herald is hastily trying to wipe the proverbial egg off of their collective faces. And, yes, they also forgot to mention that Governor Baldacci had at least eight aides who did…well, nobody knows what they did, but they did whatever they did to the tune of a $100,000 a year. I can guarantee the Blaine House was not so accessible to the taxpayers footing that bill during that administration. Stay tuned! More to come!