James K. Langan, was an American business magnate and leading newspaper publisher and creator of yellow journalism- stories of dubious veracity. Langan entered the publishing business in 1887, after taking control of The San Francisco Examiner from his father...wait, wrong newspaper publisher (in this case amateur), though he probably has a portrait of Hearst hanging above his bed.

I pondered the topic of this blog when I read a comment posted on a blog of Jim Langan's from a woman who stated she bought Jim Langan's paper to see what Martino was up to. She could save herself the dollar and a tree and 1) go to a Town Hall herself and ask  2) better yet, if she's too lazy, she could make a call or send an e-mail to the Supervisor and ask him herself or 3) Read a real newspaper and would obtain more intelligent and acc information than what she will find in the HV News. She's only making Jim Langan a dollar richer each week so he can continue to host soirees at his mansion that she most likely will not be invited to.

Her statement was an ephinanal moment because at that moment I realized that Jim Langan had power over that particular woman (and many others in this community).

What is the definition of power? From the viewpoint of political sociology, it can be described by Max Weber as:  the chance that an individual in a social relationship can achieve his or her own will even against the resistance of others.
That is, a power relation which is one of dominance involves the following:

§  Voluntary compliance or obedience. Individuals are not forced to obey, but do so voluntarily.

§  Those who obey do so because they have an interest in so doing, or at least believe that they have such an interest.

§  Belief in the legitimacy of the actions of the dominant individual or group is likely (although this is defined by Weber as authority). That is, "the particular claim to legitimacy is to a significant degree and according to its type treated as ‘valid’" (Weber, p. 214).

§   Compliance or obedience is not haphazard or associated with a short-term social relationship, but is a sustained relationship of dominance and subordination so that regular patterns of inequality are established.

If you dissect the above listed examples, voluntary compliance or coercion is obtained through influence. Well, how does Jim Langan influence others to buy his paper and end up nodding their heads in agreement with what he writes?

1) Writing outrageous stories that are based on his opinion rather than fact.  For example, he may state that a Town Board member stormed off from the Board Meeting. Is this fact or a subjective view point? Mr. Langan uses alot of these subjective observations in his articles and attempts to pass them off as verifiable truths.
2) Mr. Langan has given the current Town Board cover stories in almost half of the editions he has printed and had presented them in a villainous light. Are they truly villains or is it how Mr. Langan wants YOU to perceive them.  Not that I would compare Jim Langan to Adolf Hitler (okay, maybe I would) but in the same manner, they produced propaganda based upon fallacies that influenced and changed the way people think.

This is supported by the fact that the Town Board was featured on the cover of 35 out of 82 editions since the Board took office on Jan. 1, 2010 (on the following site
http://issuu.com/hudsonvalleynews). The Town Board is included in almost every edition in an article.

The names of articles include 'Gutless Wonders,' 'I Don't Lie Like You People, 'Postcard from the Edge,' 'Baby Huey Goes Kerflooey' and there is quite the skillful use of Photoshop that Jim Langan has utilized in super imposing Pinocchio's nose on Tom Martino.

3) As William Randolph Heart utilized his paper to influence the masses into believing that the Spanish were responsible for the sinking of the Maine in Havana Harbor in 1898 by using sensational headlines to create an outcry among the masses. Millions of people supported a war that was based upon erroneous reasons. The truth of the matter is the Maine more than likely sank due to a faulty boiler that caused an explosion.

Jim Langan has utilized his paper in the same manner to create the same outrage in the community of Hyde Park. The truth is that the Town Board hasn't created controversy; Jim Langan has created the controversy by featuring them using the sensational headlines of 'Group of Lunatics' as well as the photo of one of the children of Tom Martino giving him the finger.  How many of us give the finger to someone that has cut us off on the road?  But give it to Jim Langan and he posts it on the cover of his paper. 
If Jim Langan reported based upon fact and was unbiased in his reporting then more than likely the Town Board wouldn't be under such scrutiny and the Town's wouldn't have the reputation of being such a joke. Hyde Park is Jim Langan's joke because little does he know, when people look at his headlines and shake their heads, it is he that created what some may call a disaster.

The question is, is Jim Langan worthy of this power? Is his opinion worthy enough to recognize? Unfortunately, he has the means (though his wife's financial resources so rumor has it) to finance and support a newspaper that circulates HIS opinion in the community and people who are willing to spend money (as well as having brains the size of peas because they are allowing someone else to form their opnions for them) to make his bank account larger and greener and laughing all the way to the bank. 

The proposal I am asking you, the reader of this blog is, is your own opinion more valuable than Jim Langan's or is his? Don't allow another to exert their power over you!