Chalk one up for the TFP! At least, for the TFP editorial writer who bitch-slapped Gov. Bill Haslam last week for his shameless, unnecessary and perhaps illegal treatment of Occupy Nashville protestors when he squashed the protest movement’s encampment at the Capitol’s legislative plaza, where state troopers manhandled and arrested 55 protesters, including a Nashville Scene reporter.
“It has to rank as one of the harshest editorial condemnations of a Tennessee governor since Ray Blanton was setting free criminals for cash,” noted the Scene, remarking on the TFP’s unusually harsh words about the governor’s actions, which the paper labeled “an abuse of state police power akin to those of a petty Balkan dictator.
“Gov. Haslam owes the protesters an apology, and a commitment to observe their First Amendment rights. Nothing less than that is acceptable.”
Haslam unleashed state troopers on the protesters using “an illegal, post-facto rule, which was concocted in secrecy on Oct. 27—weeks after the protest had begun— without public notice, legislative review or approval by the state attorney general,” the editorial notes.
Given the paper’s dual identity on its editorial pages since the merger of the Times and the News-Free Press, it’s heartening to see our local daily take a bold stand. It’s the sort of repudiation we might expect from former editor J. Todd Foster (no fan of jack-booted thugs he) and gives us some hope for our local paper. Not much, but some.