Opinion newsletter openers 031923

Fox News as faith; unintended consequence of abortion ban highlighted; trampling on freedom of speech

The news just doesn't slow down. Last week brought bank collapses that sparked jitters here and abroad; the war in Ukraine split the Republicans; and inflation and recession worries linger. 

Closer to home, state lawmakers appear ready to carve out a life-of-the-mother exception to Tennessee's abortion ban ,and Republican Lt. Gov. Randy McNally is getting a little (public) heat from at least one GOP colleague in Nashville.

But happily, "Ted Lasso" is back!

On the Chattanooga Times opinion page, regular columnist Deborah Levine traces Rupert Murdoch's sordid leadership of "news" organizations, and Bloomberg columnist Francis Wilkinson has a devastating takedown of Fox News, arguing convincingly that the most appropriate "fictional corollary" is HBO's "The Righteous Gemstones," not "Succession." 

Two of Tennessee's most controversial legislative acts this year grabbed the attention of two columnists: Jennifer Shinall of Nashville, who offers a compelling look at one unintended consequence of the abortion ban, and Bloomberg's Noah Feldman, who argues the drag show ban violates freedom of speech. If you missed them last week, check them out below.

As always, thanks for reading!

— Chris Vass, public editor, Chattanooga Times opinion page, cvass@timesfreepress.com

P.S. We can't do this work without the support of our subscribers. You can join our Times Free Press community and subscribe here today.


If you lived in Chattanooga 50 years ago this past weekend, you know what the big story was at the time — the St. Patrick's Day flood of 1973. I took a look back at the flood but, more importantly, what a difference the Tennessee Valley Authority system of dams did to prevent even more flood damage and what was done after the flood to mitigate future damage. My family was fortunate that the 1973 floodwaters only lapped slightly into our backyard, but homes on the street behind us were damaged, and those didn't even take the brunt of the flood in the city. You can read my editorial below.

The Chattanooga City Council didn't give Councilwoman Demetrus Coonrod's proposal about term limits and changing the city election voting date a second last week so it could be discussed on the panel. That's too bad. I have written that we as the Free Press page oppose such changes, but I believe they are worthy of discussion. Meanwhile, a joint resolution that would put Tennessee on the list of states that would like to have a national convention about congressional term limits, perhaps ahead of a constitutional amendment proposal, moved forward in the General Assembly. A recent poll said large majorities in both parties want congressional term limits, but here we don't want local term limits even brought up. My editorial on the issue is below.

A bill is currently moving through the Tennessee legislature that would prevent people from holding spots on both county and municipal government boards. I'd like to see it become law, and I wish it would prevent legislators and school board members alike from holding a second municipal board job. I'd also like to see such a law grandfather in those already holding two positions so they don't lose them. To me, holding positions on two governmental bodies just makes it too easy to favor one position where possible with votes on the other. I also prefer that government bodies be in the hands of more people, rather than fewer. My editorial on the matter is below.

In addition, below, are Ron Hart's satirical look at how the collapsing Silicon Valley Bank was too busy virtue-signalling to pay attention to business; a commentary by Cynthia Allen of the Fort Worth Star Telegram on the realism that may be creeping into President Joe Biden, who once declared that the solutions to the Southern border problem were "pretty simple"'; and a cartoon by Lisa Benson lampooning the recent bailout of Silicon Valley Bank by the federal government.

Until next week ...

— Clint Cooper, editor, Chattanooga Free Press opinion page, ccooper@timesfreepress.com

P.S. We can't do this work without the support of our subscribers. You can join our Times Free Press community and subscribe here today.