By Medicine Hat News Opinion on May 14, 2021.
The Medicine Hat News has reported on this region for more than 135 years, including its first 20-year period when it was part of the North West Territories.
The paper reported on the formation of the province in 1905, the First World War as well as the last major pandemic to hit the region following that conflict, the Great Depression, the Second World War and every drought and flood that hit the region since 1885.
In that time, we’ve reported on every elected leader on the municipal, territorial, provincial and federal level representing this city.
We’ve ruffled a few feathers as well as shed tears of sorrow and joy with the residents of this community.
But Hatters are legitimately a finicky bunch and the staff at the News know they are only as good as the most recent edition of the paper.
Which brings us to the challenges of today and our reporting on the second major pandemic this news organization has covered.
It comes down to an issue of credibility.
Our news organization, and those like us across the province, have been widely criticized for “spreading lies” in our reporting of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
But for anyone who’s truly interested in doing their own research by diving into the microfiche record of every paper we’ve published for free, or paying for the digitized versions, they will see we continue to do what we’ve always done.
We report on the issues which affect the people of Medicine Hat.
We interview community leaders in politics, business, education and health. And, most importantly, we also tell the stories of Hatters affected by the the decisions made by those individuals.
If Hatters prefer the information being provided by some huckster from Ontario who has no known connection with our community, they have the freedom to do so.
If they wish to consume questionable information being spread by people who have never visited the Hat or have never even heard of this community, this news organization is not going to stop them.
If the Alberta justice minister wishes to insinuate our organization desires a disaster to befall the good people of this city, we can’t prevent that.
If Hatters want to believe the information spread on a Facebook page that has existed for a year and set up in seconds over a news organization which has been heavily invested in our community for well over a century, go right ahead.
But for those who tout themselves as defenders of freedom, Hatters should ask themselves why they are so obsessed with getting rid of the free press and its reporting on what people with medical degrees are saying about the COVID-19 pandemic as well as business leaders, experienced emergency officials and elected officials.
The Medicine Hat News will continue to do what we’ve always done – report on the issues which impact the residents of this city.
Nothing we do is impeding the freedom of others from doing the same.
Alex McCuaig is a longtime reporter in Medicine Hat and currently a freelance reporter with the Medicine Hat News