We don't yet have all the facts on the police raid of the Marion County Record, but AP coverage is leaving a lot to be desired.
So, Smith is complaining that the paper ran a story about the firing of a city administrator who shared nude photos of Smith's wife. Regardless of the unnecessary editorializing at the the. end of the stories, it sounds like the paper was doing its job in reporting on local politics. And yes, as justifiable as Smith's anger was, it's hardly relevant to the raid, as you point out. It sounds to me like an attempt at false equivalence, of balancing out "this was a blatant violation of the First Amendment" with "some townspeople had issues with how the paper reported the news." Same thing that papers like the New York Times and the Washington Post do all the time, and are doing now in stories about Trump's indictments.
Apparently, some of these people are not familiar with the phrase "don't shoot the messenger."
yeah...I feel like there was an effort to get the "what does the community think" angle in there but when you've already framed your story as being about the police action that doesn't really fit, definitely not in the fourth graf. Personally, I'd toss it in at the bottom if my editor insisted on it, or do
a separate story about how the community's responding. And I'd try to talk to more than one person. Like you pointed out it's one thing for community members to critique the paper, it's another for a branch of the government to seize material from the paper.
I think there is merit in including local sentiment, because even if this raid was illegal (and I’m positive it was) there will be no legal consequences. Only the community speaking to its city council can hold the police accountable. And if they think the raid was justified because they don’t like the paper, well, that means the cops are going to get away with it.
tfw you decide to go to law school on the hope of one day signing off on an illegal search warrant of Pamela Paul