Of the myriad comments to be thrust onto the Black Lives Mississippi Facebook page against the owner and staff of this newspaper, the one that made us laugh the most was the notion of collecting money to start another newspaper in Laurel.
We could introduce you to a pair of corporate newspaper giants who did the same thing. We can point you to a sheriff the people retired last year who asked if the city deserved a good-news newspaper. We can introduce you to others, too.
That is not what you want. We know that. We have our finger on the pulse of Laurel and Jones County like no other news source in the world. We know our readers want an unvarnished look at both the good and bad around us. You not only expect that, but you demand it.
We know that you will be by our side as loud voices with a following on Facebook — many who two months ago probably couldn’t find Laurel on a map — try to convince you that we’re the bad guys. We know you will be with us because through the years, we have been with you. We have been with the Joes and the Janes of Jones County.
We have been under death threats by taking on the rich and powerful — all of them white, by the way — without being fearful. We have had our entire staff armed during a work day because the threats got that serious. Yet we never backed down. Not. One. Time. When it came time for the masses to get the most complete coverage of those cases, they turned to us.
We faced severe backlash by reporting on the first same-sex marriage in Laurel — long before same-sex marriages were legal. Phone calls and protests poured into the newspaper office of the then-ReView of Jones County. Yet the staff and owners never backed down. Not. One. Time.
Our mission is to present the facts on news pages and give opinions where they belong. Those who write take responsibility for each word that appears either under their name or beside their picture. We don’t apologize for our opinions — nor our news coverage. Those trying to “cancel” us are forced to take snippets of editorials, then attribute that to an opinion columnist who did not write those words, yet whose picture appears by the words. It is they who must go to nefarious means to try to paint us as something that our valued readers and our loyal advertisers know that we are not.
Of course, they won’t tell you that. They’d rather hope that a knee-jerk, emotion-driven response will garner them enough support for a shakedown. A pitiful display if ever there was one.
Let’s get this straight. We will not kneel or bow or capitulate to anyone. That is not who we are and that is not who we ever will be. You demand better from us and we vow to adhere to your demands today, tomorrow and long into the future.