The 4th estate under siege in Yap


Just a word to those thinking about a career in a field that in President Donald J. Trump’s Washington, D.C. shorthand these days is described as producing “fake news.” Ignore that self-serving crap, which has blighted the lives of so many professionals who have spent decades figuring out how to report on the communities in which they live and work, because in the final analysis, what they’re doing and what you want to do is worth doing and essential to democratic government.

Just don’t expect to be loved by those who benefit from their activities not being scrutinized in the local media. On the other hand, you may be surprised at how many citizens respect and welcome your honest effort to tell the truth.

Our Pacific Island Times correspondent in Yap State of the Federated States of Micronesia, Joyce McClure, is getting a real taste of how this can work, as a body of traditional chiefs there is attempting to convince the local legislature to declare this resident U.S. citizen persona non grata and, essentially, kick her off island, a la reality TV.

Unfortunately, these not-so-brave defenders of tradition did not have the courage or skill to competently explain to Ms. McClure’s face what she had done that they objected to or to give her an opportunity to explain herself.

And it should be understood that the chiefs have no direct power to bring about Ms. McClure’s exit from Yap. They or whoever is ill-advising them in this effort, are clumsily trying to throw the ball to the Yap State Legislature and then the FSM Congress. Given the relationship between the United States and the FSM, it’s unclear what, if anything these bodies can do outside of passing meaningless and potentially embarrassing resolutions.

I don’t think Ms. McClure has any reason to fear police knocking on her door to escort her to the airport in handcuffs, but the chiefs have disgraced themselves with an obvious appeal to those who might carry out vigilante action. “[She] has treated the local people of Yap State as uneducated fools and deemed irresponsible of how they should run their local government [sic].”