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Media Transparency

In regards to the in-progress podcast series concerning the Bardstown murders…

Nancy Grace cares so much about specifics she repeatedly mispronounced my name. My mom is a longtime fan so that stung a little. But it is good that these events are finding additional ears, as the ears of local authorities might only be bent so far, themselves so bent generally. I just want to reiterate that theories of police involvement in the murders holds appeal as they’re the only ones who’ve avoided interrogation. A scooby doo villain is easier than admitting there are just *that many* bad folks around, and thinking cops are infallible is childish. And if she had actually listened to the podcast she’d know how to pronounce my name.

When previous fill-in police chief McKenzie Mattingly knocked the passenger-side mirror off my last car, it’s a wonderful sensation for outsiders to inform me how local cops are decent people. There are literal killers on the loose but we mustn’t step on any toes. Especially ones with armories.

Second patrolman Nick Houck was let go from the BPD for interfering with evidence relating to the disappearance of Crystal Rogers, girlfriend of his brother Brooks Houck, a former candidate for Nelson County Sheriff. That conclusion was reached by state, not local investigators. Initially it was a temporary suspension before public outcry made it permanent. We are expected to believe then-BPD chief McCubbin found no cause to charge either one, that Nick merely threw away his career out of concern for his brother’s good name. That is the official line.

I don’t give a rat’s ass about making friends. Truth is the only thing that matters in this world. As long as it evades us then all questions must be asked. The only comfort zone this society offers comes when we’re 6 feet under anyway. Questions asked by paid journalists will always take backseat to their careers. Doesn’t matter who they are or what they claim to believe in. You don’t need a paying gig to search for truth, translating to truth not being the priority. No fucking exceptions.

Paid journalism means paid to sell something, with Tegna also among the script-distributors listed here. I received no monies for the few hours I was interviewed, and actually I signed nothing, no release forms or NDAs or anything else. I know “true crime” programming is often used as fodder to amp police budgets, so I am expecting quotes to invariably be taken out of context. And having interviewed a few hundred people myself over the years, professionally for bullshit pop media blogs and personally for the Bardstown story, I know that directed conversations are stifled conversations. Allowing the man who was chief during most of these crimes to sip bourbon during his own interview, rather than consider the possibility that badges alone had means for both committing murders and for getting away with said murders, does not bode well for the final production.

We’ve already heard from the cops, but when paid journalists consistently never think to contrast their statements, what is the fucking point? It’s PR people talking to PR people. Instead of perpetuating disaster porn, talk to those who’ve never been interviewed. Approach random people on the street and ask their experiences with these cases, and listen to how their family or neighbors or co-workers were involved, how they were affected. Hear those unreported stories. When we say everyone has a story, we mean it. Tegna used that line and never considered what it meant, instead acting like a dog waiting by the door for its master. “Anything yet? Anything yet? Anything yet?”

Why did they need my commentary? Because I’ve spent years talking to dozens upon dozens of locals about their thoughts and feelings directly. My lines are the only things in the series that outsiders haven’t heard before, because of that.

They gave airtime to Forrest Berkshire, ed in cheese of the local paper, who makes headlines of law enforcement press releases. When shit was going down at Nazareth, he lost over 3 dozen subscriptions that I knew of, for refusing to investigate abuses residents underwent by property management. I tried to get Louisville reporters involved as well, including from WHAS, but none cared about small town old-timers, even when it led to *multiple suicides*. But we are meant to believe Forrest would have something of value to say regarding the ongoing unsolved murders? The man who would never question any institution because his job literally depends on keeping diminishing advertisers happy, despite local institutions being the only ones with resources capable of continuously getting away with physical murder. He couldn’t report his way out of an empty bourbon barrel.

The podcast is proving itself no better than a vessel for media mouthpieces and self-contradictory local cops to all pat themselves on the back for sounding like they give a flying fuck about the families of those killed. Which the public has heard before ad nauseum. Consider alternate perspectives, especially from people whose career options do not fucking rely on it, or you won’t hear anything new. Rick McCubbin and his fellow officers either failed their community dramatically, or they are complicit. There is no third option here. But faithfully giving their spin all the gravitas owed to the people who have to live with them, and you either cater to failures or you empower criminal intentions.

I’ve nothing to gain from any of this. Destabilizing institutions, casting doubt their way, is no invitation to escape routes from starvation or homelessness. But the one and only reason societal poxes persist is because egos are catered to, rather than challenged. In a just society not one person is beyond reproach, let alone the ones who’ve pilfered money, power and authority for self-serving ends. Those get gushed before. Never been in debt in my life. Never paid a bill late, not when employers would flake and even should it mean going without sustenance myself for days, or housing for months. Evictions had more creative catalysts. It takes effort to live beyond one’s means, and I have always applied mine elsewhere.

It’s a side effect of popular sociopolitical ideologies, demanding more weight be granted to one’s own desires than to the needs of others. You can’t fault people for not wanting to play servants to your ends. If your wishes go unfulfilled and you are not the center of attention, your rights are not being violated by anybody. Nobody owes you what you won’t give out yourself in spades. Failure to regularly bed supermodels is not the same as taking shit. The system is flawed *because* of inequality. Validating decisions made behind closed doors will never fix it. Freedom without using or abusing or being used or abused is all or nothing. Particularly as maintaining illusions is costing fucking lives. You won’t find truth wearing horse blinders. But you will advance your career pulling a load of something.

A culture entirely susceptible to the marketing of those who selfishly accumulate money, power and authority ends with sea to shining sea Stockholm syndrome. If assurances from the police that there is no evidence implicating any of the police is enough for you, you are investigating jack and shit.