Uproar over articles
By 11/06/2003 00:00:00
Business owner shreds copies of The Ellis County Press
The Ellis County Press
FERRIS - Pam (James) Cootes, a former city councilwoman, and other business owners staged a protest of The Ellis County Press in the 100 block of South Main Street on Thursday, Oct. 30.
Cootes said she went to stores and newspaper boxes in Ferris buying up copies of the newspaper and shredding them to try to prove a point.
A large white sign on the trash can read, 'Please stop destroying lives to make a profit. This is Wrong and Hurtful.'
'We spent probably $75 on newspapers,' Cootes said.
'It's not that we don't want other people to read it, but it's making a point that this is trash. This is absolute trash. It does not deserve to be read.'
She said the newspaper was hurting Ferris Police Chief Jeff Cottongame and his family by publishing a story about Cottongame and a young girl.
'As far as the other story in the newspaper about the chief and the family-violence thing, I think that's one thing. I think the other is unnecessary … It's like reading a Danielle Steel novel, It's trash, ' Cootes said.
The former councilwoman said the paper was only printing their opinion instead of the facts.
The articles stated Cottongame was contacted and asked if he would like to respond to the allegations in the articles, but he asked to stay off the record.
'I think there is no point in destroying a family for the sake of profit. I think the newspaper should be impartial and from what I've seen lately its not, ' Kate James said.
However, some residents, business owners and workers in Ferris said they felt the paper did not do anything wrong and showed their support of the newspaper.
Several local advertisers said they were threatened last week by an anonymous phone call, instructing them to stop advertising in the newspaper or they would lose customers.
To show their support of The Ellis County Press and of Fiesta Inn, Melanie Queen and Teresa Schiffer, owners of A Cash and Mail Emporium, hung a sign on their front door stating, 'The Ellis County Press Proudly Sold Here.'
Schiffer said she and Queen displayed the sign after learning the owners of Fiesta Inn received phone calls threatening fines if they did not removed their newspaper racks from the sidewalks in front of their restaurants in Ferris and Ennis.
'There's no telling who it was, but basically what they try to do, in my opinion, is the bullying, enforcing and all the other little silly threats that's been going on, and you can't blame anybody, because you don't know who it is,' Schiffer said.
'So I wanted people to know since I don't have a rack out there, I do have them inside and I will continue to sell them here.'
She said her store would continue to sell the paper even if her and her business partner do not always agree with all the stories.
'I will not sell them in lump sums for anyone to shred them. It's kind of silly when you got 3,000 papers going out through the mail,' Schiffer said.