Thursday, June 20, 2013
The arrogance of the Joplin Globe
Titled "Finding the Way Forward," the editorial never touched on one of the reasons why the situation at Missouri Southern has been so bad the past five years- the newspaper abdicated its responsibility to serve the public by forgetting its watchdog role and offering to help Speck manage the news.
It cast aside its role as a guardian of the First Amendment when it failed to speak for the courageous young people at the Chart and against Speck's eventually successful effort to stop the campus newspaper from looking into the horrors of his administration.
It showed a callous disregard for the solid work of its own reporter when it pulled Greg Grisolano from the MSSU beat after Grisolano began to unravel the culture of fear that Bruce Speck instilled during his tenure.
And if all of those things were not enough, the editorial board, safely ensconced in its cocoon of self-righteousness, found it necessary to close its editorial with an attack on the people who were enough in fear of their jobs, and understandably so, that they battled Speck anonymously.
"It's also time that Southern's anonymous critics either step out of the Internet shadows or slink away. Anonymity is another type of communications breakdown."
Can these people be any more arrogant or hypocritical? How in the world can you act holier-than-thou about anonymity when your words are in an unsigned editorial?
It is so easy for people who have no fear of reprisal or of losing their jobs to sit in judgment of those who do. The people at Missouri Southern State University watched for five years as Bruce Speck cut a swath through the staff, firing people who did not go along with his agenda and controlling the publicity that came out about his school by co-opting the Joplin Globe and by firing T. R. Hanrahan, the award-winning sponsor of the Chart.
The Globe's high-handed editorial was obviously criticizing those who are responsible for the renegade blog Southern Watch, which has offered a profanity-laced examination of what is occurring on the MSSU campus ever since the Speck era began.
I have seen first hand through my experiences the past few years with the Joplin R-8 School District what a culture of fear can do to a once-great institution. When weak, ineffective administrators are placed in charge, as was the situation with Bruce Speck at Missouri Southern and as is the case in the Joplin School District, they have a tendency to remove anyone who challenges their way of thinking and will resort to any means necessary to maintain and increase their power.
Their job becomes much, much easier when the city's newspaper of record, the very institution that should serve as a watchdog for the oppressed, prefers instead to enable these people and allow them to continue to hold life-and-death power over people's careers.
At a time when this city needs someone to stand up against these bullies who put their own careers in front of people's lives, the one entity that could have made a difference, the one entity that could have stood up and held these people accountable, has offered a tacit approval of their tactics through its silence.
And then, on top of everything else, they take a cheap shot at people who tried to do the right thing in the best way they knew how.
Can there be any doubt that this is a newspaper which has lost touch with its readers?