I would like to compliment and thank the News Tribune for the excellent coverage that you have provided, and continue to provide, regarding the legal and political problems of former Gov. Eric Greitens, the investigations by the House Special Committee headed by Rep. Jay Barnes, Greitens' decision to resign and end some of the prosecutions against him, the ascension to the office by Lt. Gov. Mike Parsons, and the issue of appointing or electing a new successor lieutenant governor. Your reporters, and in particular Bob Watson who has had the main role in writing these stories, have reported these complex and important matters for the past several weeks in a clear, factual, unpartisan manner. Such truthful and balanced reporting, written with context and background so that it is understandable to the reader, is essential to the functioning of democracy and government in an era when politicians do everything they can to conceal truth, avoid responsibility for their actions, and cast blame on political opponents.
Watson's coverage of the Barnes Committee's work over several weeks was one example of clarity in reporting complex events. But I particularly appreciated the three separate front-page stories written by Watson that appeared in Saturday's paper, dealing with 1) Gov. Greitens' actions during his last day in office on Friday, 2) the prayer service and swearing-in of Parson, and his comments before and after the ceremony, and 3) the continuing civil lawsuits against former Greitens still pending in the Cole County Circuit Court. Any one of these by itself would be a major front-page story, but the fact that a single reporter was able to cover all three topics from different locations in such detail and clarity is truly exceptional.
Watson then followed that up with Sunday's exploration of the issue of whether or not Parson can appoint a successor lieutenant governor. This is again a complex question, with differing legal opinions, which Watson has researched thoroughly, provided historical context, and presented in a comprehensive and understandable way. It is this kind of reporting that citizens must have to be able to make informed decisions, and Jefferson City is exceptionally fortunate that the News Tribune provides it to our community.