I heard through the grapevine that several businesses pulled their advertising from the Eureka Springs Independent and its Fun Guide because they didn’t like Bill King’s Guestatorial in the March 2 issue of the Independent that simply addressed King’s questions and concerns regarding the proposed Community Center where the former high school now stands.
I was not privy to names, but am pretty sure I could identify at least two of the culprits.
Years ago when current Independent editor and publisher Mary Pat Boian, Bill King and I owned and ran the Lovely County Citizen, I was tipped off by a friend to not miss the Republican-staged event at the Inn of the Ozarks Convention Center; that there would be a photo-op worthy of my time.
The local Republican Women’s chapter had organized a meet-and-greet with Tim Hutchinson, the virulent anti-gay, ordained minister who was running for re-election to the US Senate in 2002 on a pro-family values platform.
Tim and his brother Asa, who is currently governor of Arkansas, were both instrumental in the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. Asa was a member of the House and one of the prosecutors/hatchet men during the impeachment trial. Nicknamed “The Righteous Brothers,” their far right-wing conservatism ruled.
Meanwhile it was discovered the holier-than-thou Tim, who voted to convict Clinton for his Lewinsky indiscretion, was having a secret affair with one of his much younger staff members.
My friend and informant Timm Hilty, dressed in a nun’s habit and wearing a large scarlet letter A on his chest, greeted the Republican women, shook Hutchinson’s hand and addressed the obvious hypocrisy to a very stunned and unamused candidate and crowd.
It was a brilliant piece of political theater I caught on camera.
Timm was escorted from the premises, and I was confronted and threatened by a business owner against running the picture in the newspaper. Honestly I thought he was going to hit me.
Of course the photo ran on the front page and the business owner pulled his advertising while orchestrating a full-out boycott of Citizen advertising to all his buddies.
They would show this uppity newspaper who held the power, and teach us all a lesson.
And it did teach us a lesson: we would never cave to advertiser demands or retract or apologize for anything we stood behind.
Did it hurt us? Of course it did. At the time we were a start-up weekly, dependent on advertising dollars. But we survived and thrived because the people appreciated an independent press.
Bill King’s Guestatorial was nothing more then a letter to the editor that was allotted more words to make his point. It was not the official editorial stance of the paper. It was a well-written opinion piece by a well-respected member of our community that deserved to be heard.
This shooting the messenger and taking all-of-my toys home attitude does nothing good for our community. It’s a bullying tactic they have used over and over again.
Please support the Eureka Springs Independent and its free independent voice.