What the people dont know will hurt them. This statement, being part of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, and also a daily insert on the editorial page of the Johnson City Press, and also the parent owners of the Tomahawk newspaper. I find it very ironic that the Tomahawk newspaper is devoid of mentioning news of criminal and unlawful activities that is so prevalent in Johnson County.
When reading the Johnson City Press I find numerous accounts almost daily of criminal activity being reported. Many have pictures, names and addresses of those so charged. These charges list many items of unlawful infractions but the one mostly concerning the residents of Johnson County is the widespread growth of the drug problem. The drug problems in Johnson County leads to a host of other problems such as, the impact it has upon our youth, burglary, broken homes and families as well as destruction of property. The argument that the Tomahawk stopped these listings because they supply papers to the schools and not wanting to expose our children to these problems, is not relevant as the Johnson City Press is a supporter of newspapers in class rooms and far as I know do not have a special censored edition for schools.
The reporting of court cases in the Tomahawk is also a concern of Johnson County residents. The court report is very difficult to read or decipher and to find results of cases tried. The report mostly shows names, case docket numbers and charges with never a hint of penalties of those so charged. Most of the results are normally cited as continued! I would like to point out that the Johnson City Press has a full listing of court case tried in Elizabethton, Johnson City and other localities and the report list the disposition of tried cases.
I find it most difficult to understand how or why the Tomahawk newspaper has taken upon itself to censor what news the residents of Mountain City and Johnson County can read. I, as well as others I have talked with believe the Tomahawk could better serve its reads with actual reporting of the things that are rapidly changing Johnson County for the worse.
The Sunshine Law has been discussed in Nashville about relaxing how our elected official can discuss the business of localities, and the newspaper have been a strong advocate in not weakening these laws. So, in closing we can readily see what the people dont know will hurt them.
Editors Note: The Johnson County court report that Mr. Martin refers to is still available on our website at www.thetomahawk.com. He is correct that it no longer appears in the printed version of The Tomahawk per an agreement with our local school system that allows us to put the paper in Johnson County classrooms as a teaching tool under a program called Newspapers In Education. However, we take exception to the claim that criminal activity is not reported in The Tomahawk, i.e., seven of the nine issues printed this year have had at least one article on the front page concerning issues from drug related arrests to murder investigations. We are in constant communication with our local law officials to bring the news to our readers on a weekly basis in our print edition and a daily basis on our web site and Facebook page.
Charlie E. Martin
Laurel Bloomery, TN