Bad Journalism + Biased Editor = The Gray News

Friday, July 07, 2006

Leave people's voices alone

Before The Monument, when The Gray News was the only opportunity for people to express themselves in their local media on issues important to them, Editor Ray Clark used to snipe back at people who wrote letters. He would attach a reply after their letter, in the same issue, no less, and more often than not, his tone would be sarcastic, immature, and/or childish. Here is an example:


(The Editor, somewhat mystified himself, replies:...What about that sentence confuses [irritates] you, Mr. Monroe?... [I do pay attention, you see. Perhaps that's what irritates Mr. Monroe.] Mr. Monroe sees criticism where none was intended. But he has invented a very useful word:``confoundation''. That's precisely what your Editor feels when he reads Mr. Monroe's letter.)

A newspaper is an important vehicle for people to read about their local government, formulate their opinions about them, and if they so choose, to write back in the form of letters or commentaries. It's just plain wrong for the editor make caustic remarks back to the people who trusted that their opinions would be presented intact and unattacked. Moreover, it is journalistic abuse. And it demonstrates that the editor takes things way too seriously and emotionally, a bad state of affairs when the editor is supposed to be unbiased and unattached from the events.

Mr. Clark does not do this so much any more, but sometimes he still does. More often, he, or his reporter/minutes-taker Nathan Tsukroff, would just make these kind of remarks in the body of their articles.

Mostly, this entry points out two things: editorial abuse, and inability to emotionally disentangle himself from the events and opinions. That inability to disentangle demonstrates itself in his newswriting more and more frequently. This adds up to bias.


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