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I was debating if it was even worth the effort to reply to Police Commissioner Le’i’s remarks about the Samoa News reporting only negative things “to sell the paper,” as I classify his remarks in the same category as Speaker of the House Savali’s inane remarks of  “half a loaf being better that none” in relation to inmates being mistreated and abused, and that teachers should be thankful for what they have — as they get paid for a year’s worth of work, yet only work 9 months out of the year.

That last remark by the Speaker deserves a special GONG all on its own due to the fact that lawmakers work two 45-day sessions a year (a total of 90 session days). But they get paid every Monday, bi-weekly during the usual government payroll run, and on non-payday Mondays, they get their tax-free office allowances. This is throughout the year.

His remark about inmates too — brings to mind the truck that arrived in Port last year in his name that Customs allegedly found contained drugs, that to date — the public has not heard of any charges being brought against him or an explanation of why no charges. He’s been seen driving the truck around island. Now, it would have been interesting to hear how he fared on “half a loaf” or is that “half a packet of saimin” … GONG!

So, I’m going to keep it simple in defense of all news media everywhere in the world.

There is always a knee-jerk reaction to shoot the messenger — to shut he/ she or them up. Some countries have passed laws making it a crime to speak out against the powers-that-be, while others have either thrown the news agency out of business and jailed their employees, or in other cases, just killed them and blown up their offices

Unfortunately for Le’i and Savali, and others of like mind, American Samoa is an American territory and as such, Freedom of the Press is guaranteed under the US Constitution. We take this responsibility seriously and do our best to report to our community what they ask of us and tell us what they care about.

I will give Le’i credit though — he did not say we were reporting “fake” news… we were just reporting ‘negative’ news … Actually, Le’i, we report what we’re told by our sources, like yourself and Savali… GONG!