Bad Journalism + Biased Editor = The Gray News

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Editorials must be factually correct, too

Biasbuster note: IMHO is short for ‘In My Humble Opinion” and is an opinion editorial, not a news report.

IMHO May 12 by Ray Clark:
“... Sometime in the near future, the Town Council hopes to pass an amendment to the Town Charter that would take that power away from you. The Council would print up a budget and you would vote on it at a referendum. Your choice is yes or no to the whole thing, just as it is to the School budget, ..."

BUST: The point of an editorial is to use facts as the foundation to put forward your opinion about those facts. Mr. Clark states that the council's proposal would take away the opportunity for debate at town meeting or the chance to change the budget. Even editorials must state correct facts. Ray Clark's May 12 IMHO is factually incorrect.

The Town Council has been clear that the change to the charter would not take away the two main items currently enjoyed at Town Meeting: debate, and budget adjustment through majority vote. This can be checked by viewing the DVD, reading the minutes, or reading Mr. Dale's document.

Town Attorney Bill Dale sent a legal opinion to council outlining the ins and outs of the proposed change. The memo stated that the town meeting would still exist. This legal opinion is a public document that the Gray News staff may request.

Mr. Clark is almost always absent from meetings where council discusses things. Mr. Clark should attend meetings on which the discussions are being held. That way, he would hear it first hand, and his factual distortions would not occur. Actually attending the meeting would also mean Mr. Clark would have instant access to the paperwork related to the discussion, and he could take that paperwork with him to refer to when he is writing up his pieces for the paper.

6 Comments:

  • I don't read the Gray News anymore, except to scan it for events stuff. Well, I read it but I don't believe it. Lots of times we read the IMHO out loud and poke fun, because it gets silly. The more he's railing against something the more your antennae should go up because he's a pot stirrer, pitting sides against each other in order to make his point. I think the recent angry flaps began with Ray Clark and Mitch Berkowitz encouraging their groupies to be angry and "fight for what you want". Well, we can see how far that gets them. Several are discredited in town, tarnished business reputations and the like. I think they should blame Ray Clark and not the Monument. The Monument isn't as "exciting" to read, except for sound off, but it's a lot better for information.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:10 PM  

  • Hello

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:41 AM  

  • Ray Clark's 'second-hand news' should never be printed! Unless he physically sits in on any meeting, how can he report anything with accuracy?? His misuse of his position with the GN should never be allowed. He lacks credibility, is most unethical, and should never interject his personal feelings when reporting anything! He really doesn't set a good example as a so-called journalist!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:55 AM  

  • I remember a time when Ray was getting free rent from Richard Barter, who was on the Council Barter also ran for State legislature. Ray gave lots of free press to Richard and not nearly as much to his opponent. Anyway, Richard must have told Ray what he was planning to say at a particular Council meeting. However, Barter did not end up showing up for the meeting, and never said a thing. Ray, though, did not know Barter didn't show up, of course Ray did not attend that meeting either, so Ray ended up printing what Barter had intended to say but didn't, as if it happened! In this case, the news report was a total fabrication. That's the danger of second hand news: the readers are cheated and the Gray News's credibility ends up in the toilet.

    By Blogger BiasBuster, at 8:07 AM  

  • When you suggest that Ray Clark actually attend the meetings he writes about and say "That way, he would hear it first hand, and his factual distortions would not occur" is merely wishful thinking on your part. You are assuming that Ray Clark writes as he does out of ignorance of the facts, rather than in a deliberate, and often malicious, manner with the precise intent to distort the facts to his own purpose.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:47 PM  

  • When you don't go to the meeting, distortions occur. Sometimes those distortions are a result of lack of attendance, and sometimes in my opinion, they are deliberate. In all cases, readers expect that when they read a news report, the person writing is is actually reporting, a report from having attended, not second hand. That in itself, is a distortion.

    By Blogger BiasBuster, at 4:11 PM  

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