Bad Journalism + Biased Editor = The Gray News

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Bias happens...when you're involved

In August 2005, Mr. Clark wrote:

"At its workshop last week, the Council wondered why the Gray Public Library Association hasn't raised any money yet. Councilor Andy Upham was quoted as demanding to know "If they are a fundraising arm for the Library, why aren't they raising any money?" Well, Andy, I'll tell you-as you already have been told: The GPLA cannot raise money until it knows what it's raising money for."

BUST: This paragraph has several problems. First, Upham "was quoted as saying"? Where? Was Mr. Clark hearing the quote first hand? Or is it second hand hearsay? Second hand hearsay should never be in a news article. It is very wrong. Unless Mr. Clark heard it himself, or the source is cited, he should not put it in.

BUST #2:, using the word "demanded" is an emotionally loaded word. News reports should stay away from adjectives. Unless Mr. Upham himself used the word 'demanded,' for example 'I demand to know,' then Mr. Clark should stick with the more neutral 'said.' That way, readers can decide if Mr. Upham was being demanding by reading what he said instead of Mr. Clark telling them how he said it.

BUST #3: Mr. Clark had said a few months earlier that the express purpose of the GPLA is “to support the library, to acquire property on their behalf, to raise funds for the construction of the library for purposes of education.” This excerpt is from the town council minutes of May 17, 2005, available online. The GPLA Bylaws say nothing about waiting for Pennell before they can fundraise. They are supposed to fundraise, period. Not lobby for the particular fundraising event that they WANT.



  • Are you allowing comments today or will they be deleted as the rest have been??

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:40 AM  

  • I see comments here. "The rest" have not been deleted.

    I may delete. I may not. It depends. I am the moderator of the blog, so I will uphold the standards as I see fit. Sort of like Donnie Carroll running Town meeting as Moderator. He allows, disallows, and he is the last word. Like the moderator of a debate, or the Council or Selectmen Chair, allowing or disallowing comments as they see fit. This is no different.

    By Blogger BiasBuster, at 7:02 AM  

  • I vote for moderated comments. Some people think the sheer number of comments you get matters, some people think it's the quality of the comments.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:58 PM  

  • I went to moderation for a bit...because someone sent me a f-swear comment, and another time for a few days someone was typing bad things after midnight on a bunch of posts and I'd get up in the morning and have to go thru and find them and erase them.

    And don't forget the stats: people post, but a great many more read without posting. Just as long as the message gets out there, I'm happy. If the quality is good It doesn't matter that there aren't 200 comments.

    I may turn off moderation in a short while and see how it goes. For the most part, people have been pretty good. Not like graydissidents or bwg. Those are awful cespools.

    By Blogger BiasBuster, at 9:45 PM  

  • Ray Clark is so 'wrapped up' in the Pennell Issue, he has lost his objectivity. His determination to discredit the Council, instead of dealing with his 'factless accusations' and his 'lack of accountability' for raising funds for the Library, is bizarre! His editorials are inaccurate, He is extremely inconsistent, He is abusing his position with the Gray News; and is totally Unethical.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:33 AM  

  • I find the lack of accountability for fundraising the most interesting part of this scene. There's a lot of finger pointing but no accountability, which, according to their own bylaws, rests squarely at the GPLA's feet.

    I learned that the anonymous letter promising the $100,000 was from a Gray want to-be paper tiger bigwig, who FIRST pledged the money, THEN sought individual donors afterward, but failed to get any amount of money from anyone. The Wanna-Be had to pull out. How to do so by escaping accountability? Blame the council. The Wanna-Be blamed the council in a letter for the lack of money, but it was really his own failure to get it, and/or his own prematurity in making promises he could not uphold.

    Ray aided this deception by continuing to blame the council for the failure, which is doubly wrong: first because Ray is involved, being part of the GPLA at the time, and also for deliberately perpetuating the falsehood. So I agree, Unethical!

    By Blogger BiasBuster, at 7:47 AM  

  • So who is the "Gray want to-be paper tiger bigwig" who made the pledge?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:13 AM  

  • One can only surmise the likely candidate. When and if I get someone to say it on the record, I will let you know.

    By Blogger BiasBuster, at 7:35 AM  

  • I don't understand. You wrote:

    "I learned that the anonymous letter promising the $100,000 was from a Gray want to-be paper tiger bigwig..."

    Now you "surmise"? Isn't there quite a bit of difference between "learned" and "surmise"?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:59 AM  

  • I learned. You surmise. Until it's on the record. Then we can use the word "know."

    By Blogger BiasBuster, at 9:29 AM  

  • I surmise nothing. All I see is a bunch of rumors, malicious gossip, and anonymous allegations without any supporting facts.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:01 PM  

  • Well, they are facts, and I learned them.

    If you look back at the issue you will see that there was an anonymous donor, a challenge grant, GPLA 's failure to meet the challenge, and a withdrawal of said offer by the original donor. Malicious? No. unfortunate? Yes.

    Thanks for reading,

    By Blogger BiasBuster, at 2:17 PM  

  • Ray Clark has decided not to continue on the Library Trustees!! Hopefully, he is realizing how little credence the citizens give him! Beware, though, we have not heard the last from him! His reputation precedes vigilant!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:28 AM  

  • Mr. Clark has chosen not to pursue another term on the town committee for the Trustees. That is his choice. I thank him for his past service, tainted though it was with the ethical problem regarding his dual roles (reporting on his own Trustee activities.)

    By Blogger BiasBuster, at 9:55 AM  

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