Times needs new ownership

This is perhaps the most important and most difficult public communiqué I have penned in my over four decades in Aspen. My desire to communicate the thoughts in my heart is hampered by the limits of my skills. I am going to address freedom of the press, my respect for The Aspen Times staff, the rights of a private publication to slant their coverage of the “news,” and my love for Aspen.

Fox “news” is the example that rises to the top of my consciousness. “The First Amendment protects us against government limits on our freedom of expression, but it doesn’t prevent a private employer from setting its own rules. The First Amendment is neither ‘left-wing’ or ‘right-wing.’ It can be used to push for social and political change, or to oppose change. The First Amendment is for everyone.” Middle Tennessee State University.

What is legal and what is morally or socially acceptable in our community may not be in harmony. I am not a constitutional scholar, but I believe my representations to be true. Ogden Newspapers, I believe, has the right to slant its articles as it wants. It has extended a strong hand to control the authors of content published in the Times. They have fired at will and undercut the authority and word of the publisher. The faith and trust of the Aspen community have been lost by their actions.

The dilemma we as a freedom-loving community face is how do we make Ogden pay for its actions without penalizing the dedicated staff of the Times. I called for a boycott of the Times, but the unintended consequence of a boycott is to jeopardize the livelihood of the Times journalists and columnists. My outrage is not with the Times, it is with Ogden and the Nuttings family that presumably pulled the strings in fear of intimidation of lawsuits by Doronin, that axed Andrew. What a tangled web.

We have witnessed the arbitrary nature of employment at the Times, to wit Andrew and Roger. These actions were without the influence of any boycott. The consequences of speaking truth to power at the Times have been seen. Every person who contributes content at the Times now knows they are walking on thin ice.

If Aspen wants to be fed pablum and slanted news by the Times, do nothing.

I propose that local Aspenites with the means should purchase the Times from the Ogden group. I do not want a hands-on investment group to purchase the Times. I believe Aspen is best served by a Times free of owner control and content filtering. My perfect Times owners will purchase employee housing for staff. They will allow the Times to report a nonbias, nonideologically slanted narrative to the citizens of Aspen. The staff will not be fearful of losing their jobs if the truth hurts. The owners will have the courage to resist intimidation from Russian-like tactics. They will not view ownership as an investment but rather as a service in pursuit of truth, integrity and freedom.

Ward Hauenstein