Since readers of the Niagara Falls Reporter depend on the credibility of this publication – any newspaper relies on its relationship with its readers – the Reporter must tackle the sensitive and daunting, First Amendment protected task of reporting that its publisher has been indicted for crimes he claims he has not committed.
And why he claims what he claims.
Not to report it will doom this paper to its demise or, worse, irrelevance.
Daring to publish it – with the same fearless integrity this publication would tackle any other subject – may, of course, doom the publisher –now as being the accused - to reprisals from the government.
This is one of those instances where the First Amendment must bravely trump other, more timid considerations, for this is what makes not only a newspaper, but America itself great.
Americans must be defiant of injustice. The First Amendment is their finest tool. It was not made First – of all Amendments - for no good reason.
We must fight for it. Defy any who would take it away, not only for ourselves, but for all Americans, present and future. Now and always. For when the First Amendment is gone, so will America be gone. We will not be first, we will be dead, last, for we had it and let it be lost.
If this publication has knowledge that this, or any prosecution, is wrong and unjust, or conversely, right and proper, not to publish this that comes into our knowledge and possession will make us no longer a newspaper but a craven tool of oppression.
Will we tremble in the shadows mute or declare what we know to be true and dare it to sunshine?
The answer is forever obvious to all those who ever dreamt of freedom even once in their shattered, fractured lives.
How often do we have a chance to test our resolve, our courage in the crucible?
To make our action equal to our talk, not during the days of comfort but in perilous times?
For my part, I play two roles in this matter – the (falsely) accused – to be presumed innocent by the spirit of the law, but by the practicality of the law, so often assumed guilty, and that of the independent American publisher who must convey truth regardless of consequences – even if it relates to himself and even though his opponent is a behemoth, a Goliath used to easily trampling opponents too often with scant regard for justice since he verily can do it.
Goliath would do it until he met his David.
That David is the First Amendment.
And Goliath’s own sword shall overtake him.