Media outlets and readers rally in support of press freedom

VALE – Malheur County found itself in a national spotlight last week as news spread that county officials requested that the Malheur County Sheriff’s Office consider whether the Malheur Enterprise engaged in criminal misconduct.

Newspapers, cable channels and television news shows all carried reports after the Enterprise detailed the unusual state of affairs in an article published last Monday.

During the lull in which it was unclear whether an inquiry would be pursued, the Washington Post publishing a story on Tuesday morning.

The online story drew more than 300 comments, and was followed by coverage from other national media outlets including Fox News, the Huffington Post, the Hill and the Associated Press.

In Oregon, the Lars Larson Show twice featured appearances by Enterprise publisher Les Zaitz, and six newspapers, ranging from the Oregonian in Portland to the Bend Bulletin, penned editorials about the situation. The daily newspaper in Walla Walla also published an editorial and a columnist wrote about it for the Austin (Texas) American-Statesman.

The issue gained traction on social media, and the Enterprise received calls and emails from across the country pledging support.

Local residents weighed in too, posting comments on Facebook.

Jim Beaumont commented, “Great to see The 4th Estate is alive!” and Rhonda Sesker wrote, “Stand your ground! We love you.”

“Seems y’all struck a nerve,” Barbara Pennington commented, “now all they’re doing is bringing EVEN MORE attention to the situation. What are they hiding? Go Malheur Enterprise!”

News tip? Contact reporter Joe Siess: [email protected] or 541-473-3377.

For the latest news, follow the Enterprise on Facebook and Twitter.

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