Our focus and our profound concerns over aggressive political disinformation most often focus on Fox News, virulent podcasters, and the anonymous scourge of social media. All worthy of contempt and response. 

What we can’t lose sight of is when far-right extremism infiltrates our communities. It is happening right now. Efforts to shut down equity work in local public schools, to ban books in public libraries, to bully bakeries hosting drag shows. None of this is in isolation.

Across the communities covered by Growing Community Media flags, the past two weeks have brought mailed delivery of the West Cook News, the far right’s grotesque rag masquerading as a community newspaper.

Make no mistake, this is pure propaganda attempting to fuel hate and fear and rooted, as is all white supremacism, in explicit and virulent racism. It is bought and paid for by dark money in our politics and it is propagated by despicable Trump Republicans such as radio host Dan Proft. Somewhere in here, we also are confident we will find the fingerprints of Brian Timpone, the former River Forester, who disgraces his roots in journalism in ever more sinister ways.

We have had calls from readers who have found West Cook News bundled in their mail with Wednesday Journal or the Landmark and asked if we have a hand in this democracy-demolishing product. Unequivocally no. We would expect this West Cook News assault to continue through the November election.

Read it. Understand its motivation to divide and enrage. And then dismiss it.

Chamber rising?

Back in April, we reported on the struggles of the Riverside Chamber of Commerce. At the time it appeared ready to fold – and still might – but there is an effort afoot by some chamber members, including one of its officers, to try to recruit newer entrants into the Riverside business community and rekindle enthusiasm for the organization, whose roots go back roughly a century.

In November, the chamber will elect new officers, but if the business organization is to have a thriving future, the ranks must be filled with those excited to take on the burden of leadership and ready to put in the time required. It’s no easy task, but it’s time for the torch to be passed.

The Sept. 20 networking event is about identifying who those people might be, so if you have an interest and are invested in the local business community, we’re sure they be happy to see you and hear what you have to say.