Five Things to Know Today
Good morning! I’m upset about something this morning: media layoffs, especially newspapers.
Based on some tweets, it appears that a number of reporters are on “furlough” – which I assume is a nice way of saying “go home, don’t get paid, and we’ll call you when we need you.”
Just at a time when we need solid reporting and reliable information, the big newspaper chains are putting profit over their public responsibility to keep us informed.
Sure, I know newspapers and other media have been hemorrhaging subscribers over the past decade. And, I’m sure that with the lockdown, advertising dollars are down, and subscriptions are probably down as well.
But I also know that some of these chains demand high profit margins from their local newspapers, journalism be damned. And where do you get those profit margins at a newspaper? By cutting staff, over and over again.
So until some public-minded individuals buy back these local newspapers and are satisfied with a 7% profit margin, instead of 40%, there’s only one solution. If you want good journalism that both gets the facts right and holds politicians and businesses accountable, you have to pay for it. You have to subscribe.
We have a page on the site that covers this. It includes links to subscribe to media outlets across the state, as well as to the two big papers, the Courier-Journal and the Herald-Leader. If you don’t subscribe already to at least one media outlet, go there, pick one, and subscribe. And if you DO already subscribe to something, go there and pick another and subscribe to it as well.
There are a number of things that are going to change because of this pandemic. Let’s make sure that when it is over, we still have the Fourth Estate to do what it needs to do.
Thanks for being a subscriber to our emails and for being a reader of the site. Keep reading, and keep taking care of yourself. Remember – We’re going to get through this, together. #TeamKentucky
Bruce Maples, publisher
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As he and Beshear take the first small steps to reopen the state, Health Commissioner Stack asks for ‘patience and tolerance’ – 4/26 update
“As hard it was to say no to so many things, it will be challenging to say ‘yes but’ to a lot more things,” Health Commissioner Steven Stack said at Gov. Andy Beshear’s daily briefing, recalling the early days of the crisis. (Forward Kentucky)
Treasury gives publicly traded companies until May 7 to return PPP loans ‘in good faith’
The U.S. Department of Treasury issued new guidance on CARES Act funding saying publicly traded companies have two weeks to return loans meant for small businesses. The Small Business Administration’s Payment Protection Program (PPP) received $349 billion from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, but much of that funding was funneled to publicly traded companies. CNBC reported this week that 15 publicly traded companies with market values of more than $100 million received PPP loans. (The News-Graphic)
‘Reopen’ protest movement created, boosted by fake grassroots tactics
In recent days, there have there been public protests against continuing the coronavirus lockdown. The people who are doing the demonstrating may really be frustrated and upset, but new research, and journalistic investigation, is revealing that there are powerful forces behind them, egging them on, who want their influence to remain secret. (Forward Kentucky)
McConnell: 46 rural Kentucky hospitals get $3.8 million from CARES Act to fight COVID-19
Nearly four dozen rural hospitals in Kentucky will receive help in fighting the coronavirus pandemic thanks to $3.8 million from the federal CARES Act, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Saturday. The University of Kentucky Center of Excellence in Rural Health is getting $3,878,582 through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, and the funds will go to 46 rural hospitals to support their efforts in battling COVID-19, McConnell said in a news release. (Courier-Journal)
Beshear vetoes anti-abortion bill; legislature can’t override
Gov. Beshear has vetoed a bill that would have required health-care providers to give “medically appropriate and reasonable life-saving and life-sustaining medical care and treatment” to any infant born alive, including after a failed abortion. SB 9 would have also expanded the power of the attorney general to shut down abortion providers and keep abortion from being allowed as an urgent procedure under Beshear’s emergency orders in the coronavirus pandemic. (Forward Kentucky)
NOTE: Many new items didn’t make the Top Five cut today, so please scan the list below to find more content you’ll want to consume.
Did you miss any of these?
Featured Content on Forward Kentucky
([new] indicates new since last Forward Five; 🔥 indicates lots of reads)
— News —
[new] SCOKY provides additional guidance on judicial matters during pandemic – In two court orders, the Supreme Court of Kentucky laid out additional guidance and clarifications about judicial procedures during the COVID-19 lockdown. (read)
[new] 🔥 27 Kentucky counties receive federal disaster declaration – Twenty-seven Kentucky counties struck by severe weather earlier this year received a federal disaster declaration on Friday. (read)
[new] Dentists and state officials scramble to set rules for reopening dental offices – 4/25 update – Gov. Andy Beshear said Saturday that dentists’ offices won’t be able to open Monday because they and state officials haven’t agreed on rules for it, but suggested that other businesses might reopen on a regional basis. (read)
[new] 🔥 ‘War Against the States’ — Yarmuth on McConnell – Congressman John Yarmuth (D-KY03) issued a statement on Thursday in response to Senator Mitch McConnell’s recent remarks that he would rather see states and local governments go bankrupt than provide them with federal aid. Here is that statement. (read and listen)
[new] Beshear, Adams reach agreement on expanded absentee voting for June primary – On Friday, April 24, Governor Beshear and Secretary of State Adams announced they had reached an agreement on greatly expanding absentee voting for the June primary election, and that the state Board of Elections would be drawing up guidelines for voting in that primary. (read)
[new] Bid to strengthen ethics code on sexual harassment blocked by Senate – A bill to expressly prohibit sexual harassment by legislators and lobbyists was one of many bills that failed to become law in the 2020 legislative session that was shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic. (read)
[new] 🔥 Testing for virus will continue ramping up as May approaches – Testing for the coronavirus in Kentucky will be more extensive than ever during the last week of April. Gov. Andy Beshear highlighted 11 sites in which the state has a role, and that doesn’t include hospitals and other facilities that are also doing tests. (read)
[new] Most daily cases; absentee voting expanded; reaction to McConnell comments – 4/24 update – More testing announced; prisons, nursing home, and long-term-care facilities still a challenge. Major change in June primary is no-question absentee voting. (read)
🔥 Wins for open-records advocates in Kentucky and Tennessee – Two recent wins in open-records cases make plain that the size of the request does not make it invalid – a key principal that will affect many future such cases. (read)
[new] 🔥 Dear Kentuckians – Don’t get played – In these days of social media, getting played is a constant danger. Here are three ways that it can happen if we are not careful – and how to prevent it. (read)
It’s up to us now – Donald Trump’s tweet suspending immigration in order to “protect” the United States falls in line with a long line of xenophobic acts by our leaders. It is now up to us to decide what sort of country we choose to be. (read)
🔥 Dear Kentuckians – Don’t be stupid – After we get our facts straight, we can recognize statements that are, truthfully, stupid – and call them out. This article does just that. (read)
🔥 Pandemic transformations – if we choose – In the Greek, the word “crisis” also means “opportunity.” The coronavirus crisis is forcing us to take a hard look at our country, and to consider what needs to change. This crisis could also be a time of opportunity – if we choose to make it so. (read)
🔥 Dear Kentuckians – Get these facts straight – Before we can talk about “reopening,” we need to get some basic facts straight. Here they are. (read)
— Cartoons —
[new] What modern-day heroes REALLY want – During this pandemic, we’ve taken to calling our front-line responders and essential workers the “heroes” of this crisis. Some people have even made capes for them. Aaron Smith, though, captures what many of these modern-day heroes are REALLY thinking. (view)
— Media —
[new] 🔥 Drive-thru testing in Louisville’s West End – a photo gallery – Del Ramey traveled to Louisville’s West End on Sunday to observe a drive-thru testing site and how the process worked. Here’s a gallery of what he saw there. (view)
[new] 🔥 Anti-Trump Repubs post new coronavirus ad: “Two Americans” – The Lincoln Project has released a new ad, focused on the coronavirus and the contrast between those who are sacrificing and those who are demanding. Watch it here. (view)
[new] TSOK – Native Americans and COVID-19; plus KY Senate 23 candidate Ryan Olexia – Join us for this week’s The State of Kentucky, as we talk with Tiffany Pyette about the challenges indigenous people are facing in dealing with the coronavirus. Then, we welcome Ryan Olexia, who is running for state Senate. (watch)
[podcast] COVID protests and end-of-session shenanigans – This week, Jazmin goes through all the new COVID-19 news, including updates about cases, testing, and the emerging protests that are appearing in Frankfort. Robert talked about the end of the legislative session, which saw a surprise abortion bill passed and the confirmation of all but one of Governor Beshear’s nominees to the Board of Education. Plus, Quick Hits! (listen)
🔥 Broihier calls out McGrath in new ad – Mike Broihier has come out with an ad directly challenging Amy McGrath on her stance on the Brett Kavanaugh nomination. Watch it below. (view)
New Orleans artist creates perfect print for our times – New Orleans artist Terrance Osborne has created a print that both honors our health care workers and captures their spirit. Take a look. (view)
Posts with Most Social Media Shares in Past Fourteen Days
(🔥 indicates post with surge of recent shares)
- C’mon Kentucky – our census rates stink, especially in rural areas. Let’s do better! (22,000+ shares)
- Koch Brothers try to use COVID-19 to reawaken Tea Party movement (4,000+ shares)
- Confederate flags: Changing flags doesn’t change the facts (2,000+ shares)
- Lawmakers, state officials condemn threats to Beshear (2,000+ shares)
The Forward 5 is published Monday to Friday by Forward Kentucky, an independent media organization focused on progressive news and issues in Kentucky, and is re-posted with permission. You can sign up for the email version of the newsletter on their website.
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