Sunday, September 6, 2009

Maine: Forecaster investigates Air Station's savior

Here in Maine, investigative reporting is so rare that when one of our news outlets actually does some, it's a newsworthy event in and of itself. Aspiring-to-be-informed-citizens become so surprised and excited they pass the article around as if it were a picture of a live Great Auk, even if the piece has little or nothing to do with their own community. Look!, they write one another, Such-and-such news outlet actually did some digging! Can you believe it?

Such is the case with this week's issue of the Mid-Coast Forecaster, which carries a front page story by Steve Mistler which reveals that the company seeking taxpayer subsidies to open an aircraft maintenance facility at the soon-to-be-defunct Brunswick Naval Air Station already fleeced taxpayers in a strikingly similar scheme at the Sanford Regional Airport. The company, Oxford Aviation, is asking Brunswick for public subsidies while it can afford to pay power attorney F. Lee Bailey (of O.J. Simpson and Patty Hearst trial fame) to represent them at meetings of the local Redevelopment Authority.

It's the kind of reporting any newspaper worth it's salt should be doing week-in and week-out. If public officials and private interests know nobody is watching, there's little limit to what they'll try to get away with.

(P.S. Are you the editor of a major Maine newspaper and don't have any ideas about investigative stories to pursuit? Try this one. Or this one. Or maybe even this one.)


  1. I'm with you Colin, regarding investigative journalism in Maine, or the paucity thereof in our fair state.

    The lack of any meaningful content is why I stopped both my daily newspapers (Lewiston and Portland), as much as I love a daily print publication with my morning coffee.

    The F. Lee Bailey stuff is interesting and something I noticed when he came to Maine and spoke at Eggs and Issues, in Portland.

  2. Don't forget Red Shield. There is a ton of public money and shady deals in that project's recent history.