Bad Journalism + Biased Editor = The Gray News

Monday, June 05, 2006

Gray News takes freebies from elected officials

The Gray News should not accept gifts. But they do. They accepted free rent from Councilor Barter, who not only was an elected official on the town council at the time, but he ran for state legislature. He got lots of free space to run his frequent commentaries. His opponent didn't.

The Professional Journalists' Code of Ethics says:
Act Independently. Journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public's right to know.

Journalists should:

Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.
(It's a conflict all right to take free rent. A real one.)

Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.
(Getting free rent does not pass this one either)

Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment,
(Oops, failed this one too)

Disclose unavoidable conflicts.
(They never disclosed that when they reported on Councilor Barter they were getting hundreds of dollars in in-kind gifts from him each month. Uh-oh.)

Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable.
(I do not remember on single challenge of the councilor, his ideas, his comments, or his performance. Was he perfect? Or was the Gray News less than vigilant or courageous in holding him accountable? I go with the latter.)

The Gray News is unethical.

10 Comments:

  • Question:

    Do Barter and his sidekick Hall still give free rent to the Gray News?

    Neither Barter or Hall are currently running for public office, but who do they support? Who does the Gray News support?

    Do you suspect there is a connection?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:18 PM  

  • I do not know if that situation still exists. The GN received a freebie from the SAD in their housing at Pennell. This ended up being exposed as a violation of state law, and several years ago, their lease was declined to be renewed. The violation had nothing to do with newspaper ethics, just that taxpayer owned buildings have a protocol for use, and giving it free to a local corporation isn't one of them.

    The Press Herald did a story on that a few years ago, the Gray News's ethics, called "Local Paper Falls Into Gray area." In the article, it was stated that the quid pro quo for the free rent was not to print anything bad about the schools. The same conclusion can be reached with Gray News's current offices and Mr Barter, free rent = favorable articles.

    The Hall who owns the complex where the Gray News is, is owned by a different Mr Hall than the one who ran for office and lost, Richard Hall.

    By Blogger BiasBuster, at 4:12 AM  

  • I don't know if it fits in here, but usually right before an election, Donnie Carroll or Richard Barter write a long piece making it clear who they are voting for. I don't know if that's wrong or not, but it's a misuse of the paper, in my opinion, when they don't present the other side of the story, just the bash before the vote.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:25 AM  

  • Well, that's their right, to express an opinion on whom they intend to vote. But putting in wrong facts just before a vote which disadvantages the candidate is pretty sour thing to do, because it gives the candidate no recourse. But I do support their right to state their opinion, that's what the First Amendment is for. And to be fair, Barter and Carroll are not the only ones to do that.

    By Blogger BiasBuster, at 5:40 AM  

  • If the truth be known, we would all be astounded at those who are part of the 'backstair politics' ..even Now!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:46 AM  

  • I see you are allowing only [select] comments again

    Isn't that bias of you

    By Anonymous Dixie, at 5:48 AM  

  • Great question! The answer is: no.

    If you scroll down, you will see that there are some who have challenged biasbuster, or offered an opinion that is opposite to what the documents show. That's fine.

    If someone can make their point in a civil way, and their comment actually has a point, etc., it goes in.

    Just because a blog exists, does not mean that all comments are equally valid. I know it irks some people to think that not everyone is perfectly equally intelligent, or perfectly equally nice. But they aren't, sorry to bring this to your attention.

    If you were speaking with a person in real life who was unnecessarily challenging, or too aggressive, or pointless, or just plain stupid, would you keep talking with them 'just because'? I would hope not. I don't anyway.

    I have standards and they are applied to this blog.

    PS: Some comments have been rejected which agreed with biasbuster, but the agreement was expressed in a way that spoke against people in a negative way.

    By Blogger BiasBuster, at 5:59 AM  

  • hmmmm I must disagree with you

    You are certainly biased by disallowing politely written comments and judging the writer’s intelligence level to boot

    You have failed to show both sides of an issue

    Many comments have been removed or not posted at all

    By Anonymous Dixie, at 6:12 AM  

  • Yes, I judge the intelligence of the comments I receive. Who doesn't?

    I did remove comments that existed here prior to my decision to moderate them. They were in poor taste. I do not want poor taste on my blog. So I deleted them. Absolutely.

    Both sides of an issue are presented when I show you the Gray News excerpt and I show you the supporting documents that illustrate why the Gray News is wrong.

    By Blogger BiasBuster, at 6:35 AM  

  • Keep up the Great work biasbuster! Clarity on numerous issues can only enhance our desire for accuracy; and since the Gray News seems to lack the capability to be 'straight forward' YOU are performing a great service to the citizens of the Town of Gray! Thank You!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:19 AM  

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