Times Record: Fear this? (Feb. 6, 2013)

You’ll be happy to know — as heating oil skyrockets, fisheries close, climate shifts, property taxes explode and the Maine job market remains punchless — that Gov. LePage has identified this sheet of paper as the thing Mainers should fear most.

Speaking to a group of second-graders last week, LePage warned them to avoid the print media while once again excoriating the state’s public schools.

Don’t read the daily paper. Don’t go to a Maine public school. A recipe for success from your governor, kids.

The newspaper business is struggling — but it has little to do with political bias and everything to do with the business conditions that come from losing a monopoly on the means of production.

LePage, meanwhile, has personal reasons to fear newspapers, which demand accountability from politicians like him.

He would love nothing more than to see this industry collapse. To that end, he has already proposed eliminating Maine’s sales tax exemption on newspapers.

Most in the media who have watched this governor know of his allergy to accountability — fleeing talks with legislators because someone is filming him one minute; threatening to assault a reporter who inquires about his tax status the next. But ripping an industry that employs hundreds, pays taxes and buys local products and services helps nobody.

Sometimes we fall short, but we in the newspaper business strive for accuracy, a balance in editorial viewpoints and a daily news diet that reflects the values of our communities — as this newspaper did last weekend in covering first lady Ann LePage at a veterans’ event in Topsham.

No one in this industry comes to work looking to lie to anyone.

Can the same be said of the governor?

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