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A Question Of Accountability (Editorial)

2 min read

Arkansas is blessed to have one of the strongest open records acts in the country, and the state’s Freedom of Information Act bears fruit regularly, as Little Rock blogger Matt Campbell demonstrated yet again with his reports on the city of Little Rock’s planned, now canceled, LITFest.

Campbell reported on the cozy relationship between Charles Blake, Mayor Frank Scott’s former chief of staff, and Think Rubix, the firm hired to produce the festival. (See Kyle Massey’s Outtakes column.) 

He also outlined numerous questions about the contract as well as his difficulty in getting the city to respond to his FOIA requests that sought to answer some of those questions. 

Campbell’s reporting highlighted a continuing lack of transparency by the mayor’s office, one that is eroding trust in Scott and city government. Campbell’s reporting also highlighted the absolutely essential nature of the state’s FOI Act.

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Speaking of accountability: A jury on Wednesday ordered Infowars host Alex Jones to pay the families of eight Sandy Hook shooting victims nearly $1 billion in damages for lying that the shooting was a government hoax. 

The judgment was just and had nothing to do with the First Amendment and freedom of speech. The First Amendment protects citizens from government censorship. It does not protect them from the consequences of their actions.

Jones’ lies about Sandy Hook and the parents who lost children in the massacre led to abuse of the families by the weak-minded people who believed — or wanted to believe — his lies. His lies also made him incredibly wealthy. 

There are things in this sad and fallen world worse than profiting off of lies about slaughtered children, but not many.

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