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UPDATE 9/26/2023 5:00 A.M. — More than one week since a massive explosion rocked the city’s downtown area, not one single local media outlet has reported a single bit of information on the blast.
The failure to investigate, report, and publish continues to speak louder than the event itself.
As published yesterday, a leaked email from one of our city’s news organizations showed that City Manager Isaiah Hugley allegedly contacted a reporter’s employer in a brazen effort to silence their reporting back in April of this year.
Our earlier reporting also showed that an additional fire occurred at a separate privately-owned waste management center just days before the downtown explosion.
That report by the Muckraker thoroughly investigated how Hugley had the means, motive, and opportunity to benefit from the destruction of privately-owned recycling plants in the area, as it would place undue stress on the city’s own underperforming recycling plants and give him political leverage to expand the program’s multimillion-dollar funding even further.
No other local news outlet besides us at the Muckraker has bothered to follow up on the largest explosion in the region in living memory.
Ask yourself why.
COLUMBUS, Ga. (9/20/2023 5:00 A.M.) — Local media outlets and the Columbus Consolidated Government have remained oddly silent after a massive explosion blew a fireball and mushroom cloud thousands of feet into the night sky above the Radius Recycling Plant on September 17.
The explosion just-so-happened to occur amid a month-long series of debates by city officials over the city’s waste management programs.
As of this article’s publication on the morning of Wednesday, September 20: Not one single investigative story has been published regarding the explosion’s origin; Not one follow-up has been published by local media sharing information they’ve gathered; Not one single piece of communication has been issued under local government letterhead.
If you’re like us, you probably remember a time where an event like Sunday night’s explosion would be inescapable from the eyes and ears of the layman; there would be constant coverage through broadcast, print, and radio from any-and-every news outlet in the area.
When a recycling center suddenly explodes spewing a rolling mushroom cloud thousands of feet into the air as it literally shakes everyone’s house for miles, most would expect constant coverage from the city’s “leading” news outlets — both objectively and speculatively.
No such coverage from local media outlets exists as of the time of this article’s publication. No interview has been held with fire officials in the days after the explosion. No camera crew documented a reporter knocking on the door of Radius Recycling looking for answers. No emails have been published showing news outlets demanding answers from local officials.
The apathy is abhorrently pathetic.
The absence of such reporting — the silence of local media and governmental communication alike — speaks louder than anything else.
Ask yourself why.
The Fountain City’s local media “leaders” — your city’s local reporters who claim to be “on your side” — must therefore logically be one of three things: they either simply do not care, are too incompetent, or are purposefully not reporting information they’ve gathered.
If local news outlets do not care enough to gather and report information on a massive explosion in their own home town, then they are not doing their jobs as journalists.
If local news outlets are too incompetent to gather & report such information, then they are not doing their jobs as journalists.
If local news outlets are harboring information — for any reason — then they are not doing their jobs as journalists; they would then be censoring the truth as an agent of the government.
Go do your jobs, WTVM, WRBL, and L-E — or we’ll gladly continue to start doing more of it for you as you continue to slip further into the wasteland of yesteryear.
Facts are stubborn things — and we’ll keep publishing them, whether city officials like them or not.
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