Apparently, Councilmember Harry Thomas (Ward 5), threatened a community newsletter, the Brookland Heartbeat, after they ran an article entitled, "Few Gains for Ward 5 in 2009 Budget," criticizing his record.
Thomas responded by sending an open letter to the Brookland Heartbeat and Ward 5 residents, which concluded with an explicit threat to the newsletter and its advertisers.
"I request that the Brookland Heartbeat publish and distribute a retraction to its readers. In addition, Long and Foster will be held accountable for its role in underwriting the Brookland Heartbeat, as well as the businesses that support the publication."
Thomas's statement reminds me of the Bush Administration official who threatened law firms providing pro bono representation to Guantanamo detainees by reading off the names of several of the firms and then suggesting that their corporate clients take their business elsewhere.
"I think, quite honestly, when corporate C.E.O.’s see that those firms are representing the very terrorists who hit their bottom line back in 2001, those C.E.O.’s are going to make those law firms choose between representing terrorists or representing reputable firms, and I think that is going to have major play in the next few weeks. And we want to watch that play out," then-deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs, Charles Stimson Stimpson said in a radio interview.
After all, supporting the right to an attorney and the writ of habeas corpus, both enshrined in the constitution, are deserving of retaliation.
Thomas's statement is quite Stimpsonesce, suggesting businesses retaliate against those exercising their First Amendment rights, in this case, freedom of the press.