BREAKING NEWS: GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES MARTIAL LAW, SUSPENSION OF CONSTITUTION IN WAKE OF ‘TERROR’ PLOT
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon held a press conference early Monday morning, to address what he termed ‘acts of terror’ being committed against families across the Show Me State. Select members of the press were invited to attend the event, held in an undisclosed, secure location.
Members of the media were told in advance that the Governor would not be taking questions after making a prepared statement.
“Evidence has emerged of a terror plot being carried out against the citizens of our state. These attacks are escalating, both in number and in severity. They represent a clear and present danger to Missourians and a dire threat to our way of life.”
“These acts are random, as are their victims. They are being committed with bold audacity and ruthlessness and are being executed in such a way so as to maximize their effect. The citizens of Missouri are the targets of a campaign of terror, being waged against our very way of life.”
“In the wake of these attacks and in order to protect the citizens of our state, I am enacting the following measures as Governor, effective immediately.”
“I am mobilizing the Missouri National Guard, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and all local law enforcement. These agencies will have a clear mission: To aggressively apprehend and detain suspicious individuals for interrogation. Citizens are asked to remain calm and above all, to cooperate with authorities during this time of crisis, so that they can effectively do their jobs and keep Missouri safe.”
“Also, beginning today, a mandatory curfew is in effect. All residents of Missouri will remain off the streets between the hours of 6 PM and 6 AM.”
“Those residents who have legitimate reasons for being out during these restricted hours, such as work, school, etc. will be identified by the Missouri Registry Database. These citizens will be permitted to travel during the hours of restriction, though that travel will be limited to routes to and from approved destinations only.”
“We ask that all residents remain calm during this challenging time. Complete cooperation is necessary. The authorities of the state of Missouri will find the evil-doers responsible for these attacks and we will bring them to justice.”
“These attacks on our way of life will not be tolerated. We will not give in to these terrorists. We will rise above and we will bring swift retribution to those who would wage war against our citizens.”
The gravity of the Governor’s remarks resonated from the concrete walls of the secure location. The seriousness of the situation was reinforced by the several armed guards who took flanking positions around the room.
At the end of the Governor’s remarks, a reporter from the Associated Press attempted to ask a follow up question, in spite of the clear instructions given prior to his statement.
“Governor, what do you say to reports and eyewitness accounts that point to these crimes are being carried out by cultists using various government offices?”
Before the question was fully formed, two armed guards rushed the reporter, each taking an arm. They escorted her through a side corridor and a heavy steel door slammed behind them. Her loud protests could be heard as they drug her away.
Immediately following this surreal event, the Governor left the room and his press secretary ushered the media out of the secure location, shoving copies of the Governor’s statement into the hands of the press corps with stone faced silence.
Her stern gaze indicated that she would not be answering questions either.
We will continue to bring you more on this story, as it develops.
MISSOURI HORROR STORY: THE GREAT AND SECRET SHOW
In comparing the accounts of witnesses and survivors of the attacks that are occurring around Missouri, several commonalities can be found in their varying accounts.
Most, like the friends and families of Brandon Ellingson, Donnie Erwin and David Norman never saw it coming. They assumed that the nightmares they are trapped in were the stuff of invention and fiction, safely contained in Stephen King novels or fright night movie marathons. For them, things that go ‘bump in the night’ aren’t real and true terror only happens in lands far, far away from the neon lights of America.
Others, like the Shore family and the Lagares family, knew monsters lurked under the Midway. They heard their claws scratching at the door. They had glimpsed the outline of the shape under the sheet. They knew that these abominations were creeping in the shadows, eager to feast on the innocent.
Universally, the cold feeling of uneasiness that has worked its way up a growing numbers of spines across the Show Me State, is due to a dark knowledge, an irrational certainty, that something wicked this way comes…and it is hungry.
In every neighborhood, down every street, down well traveled roads, an identical mirage has been seen, shimmering into shape. It warbles in and out of plain sight, there one minute, gone the next. What follows these sightings is a scratching of heads and a rubbing of eyes. The mirage disappears almost as soon as it appears, fading back into the mist of disbelief. It leaves those who see it questioning their own sanity, before they relegate it safely away under the heading ‘imagination’.
Still, doubts linger like a fog in a hollow.
Was it possible? Did they really see it? Do they need to up their dosage of denial?
It tickles at the base of their brain like an incessant mosquito, buzzing, buzzing. They know what they saw, unbelievable as it might seem. They know.
They could smell the popcorn and sawdust. They could hear the organ music. They could see the red and white tent, the lunatic lights that adorn it.
The Great and Secret Show, the dark carnival, has come to their town.
Missouri has always been a battleground.
Today, in New Republic, the ‘Battle of Who-Could-Care-Less’ is being fought in Missouri’s fields, in its cities, its valleys and hills. It is a campaign being waged by those in power who have a disdain for our values and our freedom. This war is being fought on multiple fronts and the mission is a simple one:
Obscure the truth at all costs.
Disinformation, manipulation and outright lies are the ammunition employed by those fighting it. For them, it is necessary to pull the wool over the eyes of skeptical Missourians in order to do the unthinkable.
In this, the advocates of the New Republic have largely been successful. The proof is all around us.
Last week, in an editorial from the St. Louis-Post Dispatch:
On Friday, Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander predicted that 39.81 percent of the state’s voters would turn out Tuesday. That compares with 47 percent in 2010, the last midterm election, when there was a high-profile U.S. Senate race on the ballot, and 53 percent in 2006, when there was not only a Senate race, but three hotly contested ballot issues.
Why would Missourians not exercise their right to vote? The answer can be found in this article, from David Sirota, journalist for the International Business Times:
On a warm October night toward the end of the 2014 campaign, almost every politician running for a major office in Colorado appeared at a candidate forum in Southeast Denver. The topics discussed at the local synagogue were pressing: a potential war with ISIS, voting rights, a still-struggling economy. But one key element was in conspicuously short supply: the media.
This is increasingly the reality in much of the country, as campaigns play out in communities where the local press corps has been thinned by layoffs and newspaper closures. What if you held an election and nobody showed up to cover it? Americans are now discovering the answer.
Between 2003 and 2012, the newspaper workforce shrank by 30 percent nationally, according to the American Society of Newspaper Editors. That has included a major reduction in the number of newspaper reporters assigned to cover state and local politics. Newspaper layoffs have ripple effects for the entire local news ecosystem, because, as the Congressional Research Service noted, television, radio and online outlets often “piggyback on reporting done by much larger newspaper staffs.” Meanwhile, recent studies from the University of Chicago and the Federal Reserve Bank suggest the closure of newspapers can ultimately depress voter turnout in local elections.
Colorado is a microcosm of the hollowing out of local media. In 2009, the state lost its second-largest newspaper with the shuttering of the 150-year-old Rocky Mountain News. The state’s only remaining major daily, the Denver Post, has had rolling layoffs. According to Post Editor Gregory Moore, in this election cycle the paper has only 7 reporters covering elections throughout the state — a 50 percent reduction in the last 5 years.
“We just don’t have the resources to do what we were once able to do,” Moore told International Business Times. “We try to select the competitive races that we really need to pay attention to, but in terms of having a body on every race, we just don’t have the resources to do that.”
For the 2014 election, Moore said the paper produces a voter guide providing at least a summary of almost every state and county race in the state. There’s also one full-time reporter assigned to the U.S. Senate, one assigned to the gubernatorial races and one covering the hotly contested 6th district congressional race between Republican incumbent Mike Coffman and former Democratic House Speaker Andrew Romanoff.
Challengers in districts that the Post isn’t covering say the media’s decisions about resources may help determine election outcomes.
“It creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. When the local press assumes a race can’t be close, then they don’t cover it, and then that suggests to voters a candidate isn’t credible,” said Martin Walsh, the Republican congressional candidate challenging Denver’s Democratic representative, Diana DeGette. “Ultimately, that guarantees that the race won’t be close.”
Even stories that do get published may have less of an impact without other journalists around to track reaction or do follow-up stories.
“With so many newspapers and news outlets in general having fewer resources, there’s no pressure or incentive for candidates to engage with the press and there’s no echo chamber that makes candidates feel like they have to respond to anything,” Fox 31 reporter Eli Stokols told IBTimes.
An investigative scoop might get reinforced by an opposing candidate’s ads, Stokols said. But, “there’s not a critical mass of media large enough or competitive enough to amplify scoops or gaffes or big stories. If it happens, it comes from national media from D.C. journalists recognizing something and blogging about it. But until it’s on local TV or radio, it’s probably missing most of the persuadable low-information voters out there.”
In the age of a shrunken press corps, there is now little risk for well-financed, top-ticket candidates when they avoid the few media outlets that consistently cover the campaign. Any flak they might get for shirking the press is far smaller than the risk of an interview clip going viral (like the now-famous one of Coffman trying to defend his allegation that President Obama is not an American).
Republican Senate candidate Cory Gardner, for example, rarely appears in unscripted settings with journalists, preferring to blanket the airwaves with ads.
“If you are a candidate with a lot of money, you can just hide out, maybe write a few op-eds, and then go back into hiding, knowing that any bad story someone might write about you being unavailable will just disappear after a day, because there’s no press to hound you,” Stokols said. Gardner doesn’t even put out media advisories letting the press know ahead of time where he might be, said Stokols.
Gardner’s campaign did not return IBTimes’ call seeking comment for this story.
Romanoff, the Democratic candidate in the 6th district, said that what little campaign coverage there is often ends up being about the candidates’ ads, because that requires minimal time, travel and expense to cover. And with a record $89 million worth of political ads purchased in the state this election cycle, there is no shortage of new spots to review.
“It’s not quite a Seinfeld episode, it’s not a show about nothing, but the coverage has become a show about a show,” he said, adding that it is a marked shift from his time only a few years ago as a state legislator. “Back then, there was a press corps that covered the capital, and there was news being made every day because you are voting on bills, you are amending them and there was a more robust corps of capital reporters. But on the campaign trail these days, the primary way to get to voters is through paid media and a grassroots field operation.”
During a recent get-out-the-vote rally featuring Hillary Clinton, former three-term Denver Mayor Wellington Webb reminisced about the city’s legendary newspaper wars between the Post and the Rocky, when six reporters were assigned just to cover city hall.
“It was a whole different game back then,” Webb said over the din of blaring music, as volunteers stopped to take pictures with him. These days, candidates running for local office have to be more focused on old-school door-knocking campaigns.
“The public is smarter than what you give them credit for, and you have to go out and be hungrier than anyone in terms of going door to door,” he said. “But the question is, can you get to enough voters to make that choice?”
That’s a particularly acute problem for candidates in down-ballot statewide races.
A local candidate for legislature or city council can hope to meet most voters in an election. Top-ticket statewide candidates can attract at least some media coverage. But the candidates for constitutional offices like attorney general, treasurer or secretary of state face a triple whammy: They are running in races with too many voters to meet; they get almost no coverage; and that makes it difficult for them to raise their profiles to enable them to do the fundraising needed for expensive television advertising.
One alternative, said Rick Ridder, a campaign consultant for the Democratic attorney general nominee Don Quick, is to be innovative with ads on social media and cheaper cable TV outlets.
“On our limited budget and with no press coverage, we have to try to niche-target ads to key voting blocs,” Ridder said.
But while some smaller news outlets have shown signs of life — even of profitability — it’s not clear they can power a political campaign.
“I have yet to see someone master all the alternative media out there in a way that really lets an underfinanced candidate compete,” said James Mejia, a former Denver school board member who narrowly lost a bid for mayor in 2011. “All the digital media, the blogosphere, the neighborhood weeklies — all of them are growing and getting a larger audience, as opposed to the bigger papers, which are shrinking. But they have yet to have a major political impact because they are so diffuse.”
Although his newspaper doesn’t “have the bodies to do as much as we used to do, that doesn’t mean the work isn’t being done” by others in the alternative press, said Denver Post editor Moore. “What I fear with limited resources is that we miss something,” he said.
That concern is well founded. Only four years ago, the New York Times published a front-page expose on Colorado’s Democratic Senator Michael Bennet engineering a complex financial scheme that ended up enriching Wall Street firms while costing the city’s school system more than $177 million dollars. The story, which came out days before a closely contested senate primary between Bennet and Romanoff, was largely missed by the Post, even though it involved a candidate in one of the highest profile races in the state. There was no Rocky Mountain News to cover it, either. Bennet, the front-runner, narrowly won the primary.
The media drawdown doesn’t make an upset impossible, though. Earlier this year in Virginia, most of the local and national media ignored the primary challenge to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, only to see him unseated by little-known college professor David Brat. It’s the kind of upset that gives a candidate like Republican George Leing hope.
Running in Colorado’s second congressional district against millionaire Democratic incumbent Jared Polis, Leing has been largely ignored by the local media.
“I am realistic and I know it is getting tougher and tougher for traditional newspapers as they don’t have the same- size staffs they used to have, and they have to make choices,” Leing told IBTimes, noting that he had received an endorsement from the Ft. Collins Coloradan.
“But this race is more competitive than many people think, both on a strictly numbers basis and on the merits. It is more difficult to compete if you don’t have the ability to get that message out broadly. But I think I’m going to win and shock everyone. We’ve seen it happen before, and I think we will be seeing it a lot more in the future, whether or not the local media covers these races.”
While this piece focuses on Colorado, investigations done by americanspring2011.com in 2012 addressed the dissolution of Missouri’s own local press in two series’ of articles titled ‘Missouri’s Ministry of Truth’ and ‘Rural Missouri’s Media Gatekeepers’.
A direct fundamental shift has taken place in the Missouri media landscape. The end result of this has allowed the unthinkable to occur in the Show Me State.
This migration in media goes beyond the simple disintegration of newsrooms. It has created a virtual echo chamber for propaganda promoted by those in power, allowing the Great and Secret Show to continue unchallenged.
Examples of this can be found in the Brandon Ellingson case, where local media quickly put out a sanitized version of the events surrounding his death. Two days after his death, on cue from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the account of Jim Bascue became the foundation for a myth. This account, reproduced in the echo chamber of Missouri media, became a part of the narrative heard around the country, as this USA Today article reflects.
This goal narrative was a simple one. Turn the perpetrator of the crime into a sympathetic victim. Transform the victim into someone who deserved what he got. This sideshow alchemy has worked to completely obscure the crimes committed against Brandon Ellingson. It is part of a continued illusion, meant to conceal the Great and Secret Show.
The same is true in the Lagares case.
Despite being presented with multiple facts and irrefutable proof of the attacks being waged on the Lagares family and Kyle and Nicole, the two-bit media magicians in the Lake area have continued to ignore the crimes being perpetrated in their community against the innocent. Local media simply has no willingness to challenge their benefactors, the advertisers, and their company line.
Their willingness to abandon the truth and act as carnival barkers spouting sales pitches has allowed for these crimes to go unchallenged and their perpetrators to walk freely. They are directly responsible for the continuation of the atrocities being committed around the state. Without their compliance, the guilty would be punished. Instead, these monsters are allowed to continue their crime sprees, and they are growing more and more bold.
The Great and Secret Show, the truth under the illusion, would not be allowed to continue, if the people knew the truth. These gross acts would be met with true justice instead of being issued a free pass to continue their serial attacks on the families across the state. Instead, these media outlets have traded their credibility for pennies on the dollar and sold out the citizenry in the rush to cash the check.
They have lied to us. They have tried to pretend it isn’t happening. They have tried to cover up the truth that so many families already know.
The dark carnival is here.