True journalists — those who go into the profession with no agendas or selfish motives — hold one thing dear to their hearts–the sanctity of news.
That means 1) reporting accurately on events that transpired; and 2) presenting both sides of an issue in an effort to better inform the readership.
The most important aspect of these two points is keeping personal feelings and opinions out of the news. Opinions only belong in one place – the editorial page, under a header that reads, “Opinion.”
And that is what is so disturbing about another local “newspaper,” that will only be referred to as a “publication” from this point out. That publication severely criticized a candidate’s forum which was organized as a public service to help voters have an unfiltered audience with candidates seeking office in Levy County.
The attack was akin to a bully not getting his way, throwing a temper-tantrum and using that publication as a tool to strike out against those who do not kowtow to its desires.
Recently, that publication attacked the Chiefland VFW Post 5625 and its moderator after the Candidates Forum. The VFW has been host to this event for years without any problems. This year, due to less manpower, the VFW considered not holding the event. The Chiefland Citizen stepped up and helped fill that void (organizationally) so that the VFW could continue this long-running tradition and provide this valuable information to the public.
Instead of reporting what happened at the event, this publication filled nearly three-quarters of a page attacking and criticizing everyone involved.
Even worse, it accused those involved of “censoring” the news because every question wasn’t answered. And yet that publication did not print one comment from the forum – not one. They complained about censorship, but then forgot to actually report what was said by the candidates.
Instead, it used its “bully-pulpit” to try to imply some sort of conspiracy occurred.
Journalists ask questions – not chastise people for not answering questions that were never asked to begin with.
So why attack?
Because at least two of the county commissioners did not support this other publication’s bid to land a legal contract with the county.
As a result, this publication is going out of its way to imply wrongdoing in hopes of swaying public opinion. Nothing is based on fact, only supposition, and that again maligns what real newspapers do.
It has become so blatant, that at least two commissioners called out a representative from that publication in an open meeting this past Tuesday to express their displeasure.
Fortunately, we believe the residents of Levy County are not so gullible as to buy into this form of attack journalism.
The Chiefland Citizen believes in printing the truth and letting readers decide without fear of strong-arm tactics or repeated bullying.
We believe our residents and readers will vote for the candidates they believe will do the best job and not be swayed by someone who is driven by self-interest instead of the public good.