Aug 31 2012

OPINION: Resident Objects to Opinionated “News” Article

Argument by Parcel Tax Opponents Misrepresented –

Letter submitted to the Piedmont Post and Piedmont Civic Association:

Dear Editor:

Journalism 101 teaches that reporter’s opinions belong in the Op Ed section of a newspaper and that news articles should be factual.

Case in point:  the August 29th issue lead article (“Parcel Tax Arguments and rebuttals argue its necessity”) by Paisley Strellis contains this statement:  “In reading them one significant difference of opinions becomes clear:  those in favor of the tax believe it is essential to Piedmont maintaining its current level of services.  Those opposed to the tax believe it is not essential.”  Ms. Strellis interjected her personal opinion into what was supposed to be a news article.

Her claim is an opinion and not objective reporting.  I read the Parcel Tax ballot argument (buried on page 34 of a 36-page newspaper) and found nothing in the opposition’s arguments that support the statement that they “believe it (maintaining current level of services) is not essential.”  The No on Y proponents’ key position is this:  “The Council has so far ignored the most serious recommendations presented.  Ill-advised spending continues on its upward trend …. We are not opposed in principle to parcel taxes.  If the Council takes needed actions to control costs, we will support one for essential purposes in the future.”  Please show me and rest of your readers how those statements can be judged to be saying that the No on Y proponents do not believe it essential to maintain a current level of services.

The last paragraph of Ms. Strellis’ article states”  “While those opposed to the tax claim that the city has done little to curtail expenses, several members of the City Council asserted at their July 2 meeting that the city has made significant progress in reigning in finances.”  The factual silence after that was deafening!

There have been two letters to The Post (mine was one) requesting that the City Council inform the public of their “Plan B” in the event that Measure Y does not pass. An informed citizenry needs facts in order to make an intelligent voting decision.  The silence on any Plan B (certainly the City Council has discussed something along that line — hasn’t it?) is also deafening.

The voters and citizens of Piedmont deserve more transparency in city government.  When may we expect it?

Thank you,

Jim McCrea

7 Responses to “OPINION: Resident Objects to Opinionated “News” Article”

  1. I also liked “[the opponents’] threat to withhold support would appear to be punitive after declaring its necessity.”. If you want an example of agenda-driven journalism, that will serve.

  2. The Post’s editorialized bias parading as “news” has started early in the Measure Y campaign. The First Amendment’s “freedom of the press” allows the Post to attempt to influence an election by a disregard of journalistic ethics and integrity. This does not serve the electorate and our community. There is still time for the Post to mend its ways and not repeat the misinformation laden “reporting” they used for Measure A in February.

  3. Gentlemen,
    I don’t like how the New York Times editorializes in almost every news article it publishes SO I DON’T READ IT. You are free to start your own newspaper just as Mr. Cathrall did fourteen years ago. Then you can report “all the news that’s fit to print”.

  4. Everyone knows the Post is an influence tool by special groups. It was outrageous with the Blair Park coverage.

    Rather than subscribe, I just buy an issue or two per year at the magazine store off Piedmont Avenue, “ISSUES”, and then, only when the topic is so slanted that I can have a good laugh.

  5. I wish Rick Schiller did write for a paper – his fact-checking on Crest Road and Measure A was impeccable.

  6. I haven’t read the Post article but the quoted language about which this letter complains doesn’t say what the letter claims it says. Here’s the excerpt:

    “In reading them one significant difference of opinions becomes clear: those in favor of the tax believe it is essential to Piedmont maintaining its current level of services. Those opposed to the tax believe it is not essential.”

    That excerpt does NOT characterize opponents’ views as a belief that maintaining the level of current services is not essential. It characterizes opponents’ views as a belief that the TAX is not essential to maintaining services at their current level. Isn’t that exactly what the letter-writer says?

  7. Patty White: maybe if the Piedmont Post simply presented itself as a journal of opinion rather than a NEWSPAPER, your point of view would be appropriate.

    There’s something about truth in advertising that separates the wheat from the chaff.

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