Bad Journalism + Biased Editor = The Gray News

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Ray Clark can be unbiased when he wants to

On March 17, 2006, Ray Clark wrote:

1,090 signatures turned in on recall
Ray Clark

"Organizers of the petition drive to recall Town Councilor Andrew Upham turned in 1,090 signatures to the Town Hall on Monday.

"The signatures will be checked by Registrar of Voters Donna Hill against the official Town voting list to see whether at least 830 of the signatures are valid Gray voters, the number needed to require a recall election. The tally must be completed within ten days. If a sufficient number of signatures are valid, the results will be certified by the Town Clerk, presently Mitch Berkowitz, and the Town Council must call an election within 45 days. The question on the ballot will read: "Shall Councilor Andrew Upham be recalled?" The question will be decided by majority vote.

"If Mr. Upham is recalled, he must step down from the Council immediately. The Council may appoint someone to serve in his place until the next regular election, which will be in June. Mr. Upham may run again for the office in June, but he is not eligible for the appointment.

"This is the first effort to recall a Town Council member in anyone's memory."

There is nothing wrong with this news brief. There is a byline. There are no insinuating words. It is factual. It is informative. It leaves the reader to come to his own conclusions about the information. This is what a news article is supposed to do. Good job!


  • Interesting report. I disagree with your statement that there is nothing wrong with this news brief.

    Clark made the statement "This is the first effort to recall a Town Council member in anyone's memory."

    This sounds innocent, but it is factually wrong. Clark did not ask everyone. I know because he did not ask me. What he probably did was to ask a few of his associates. Then he extended that to the entire population. That is unethical and simply wrong and prone to error. There was no need to make that statement.

    I do believe that it would be correct to say "This is the first effort to recall a Town Council member." That is a statement that can easily be verified, and is what I think is the truth.

    Some may say that this is a fine point not worth discussion. I disagree. This is a perfect example of subtle distortion that can be a powerful tool to manipulate public opinion. At the very least it is an example of careless reporting.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:14 AM  

  • I did have a qualm about that last sentence, and so your point is extremely well taken. I stand corrected. Thank you for sending your comment.

    By Blogger BiasBuster, at 11:16 AM  

  • Clark was too lazy to do the minimal research to discover whether this was the first such recall.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:34 AM  

  • The facts in this case supported his own case and he didn't need to embellish or make justifications. IMHO.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:29 PM  

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