Saturday, October 3, 2009

No egg on their faces

So I was talking last week to someone who is in the news business.

I was expressing my hardline position that the "fourth estate" should report the news in an unbiased manner, damn the consequences.

The discussion was about (Newbury's) state Sen. Bruce Tarr, in the last 2 meetings of the MR Beach Alliance, kind of slamming me/the Current for printing what actually happens at the meetings. I mean, he actually said that some of the media was reporting "too much of what happens" at the meetings.

I was told by the first someone that my position was "naive and old-fashioned."

HUH?

I have come to realize that people don't trust - or even expect - news sources to be accurate or unbiased.

It's the 'expect' part that gets me.

What I don't expect is to be shunned and basically made fun of by a public official (or officials) in a public meeting because I'm reporting the facts.

I have an idea why Gary Davis, the counsel for DCR who attends the meetings, slighted me at the last meeting (not my imagination). I slammed his public information officer in one of my stories because she gave me what turned out to be totally wrong information.

No wonder people don't trust the government, either.

Although ... all I hear privately is that it's Davis' fault that this whole thing is falling apart. He was the one talking with the property owners about the easements.

(I call this, in my head, "Blaming The Black Guy." He seems perfectly competent to me; but I could be wrong.)

Just keep in mind that at the first meeting I attended of this beach alliance group, there were reps from Tierney's local office, I believe Kennedy's local office, someone from (Newburyport's) state Sen. Baddour's office ... and (Newbury's) state Rep. Harriett Stanley was there.

Somehow, somewhere along the line, these people all dropped out. I believe they saw right from the start that this was likely a failed effort and didn't want to be associated with it, politically.

Tarr is the co-chair of the group so he was obligated to stick it through. Fred Lucey from (Newburyport's) state Rep. Mike Costello's office, bless his heart, is also always there.

But I think Fred and Mike might also be a tad miffed at me.

Sorry, guys. I believe in the public's right to know.

2 comments:

Ari Herzog said...

Might I suggest, Gillian, they may not be miffed at YOU but at the realtime nature of the web and how blogs can scoop newspapers (and potentially travel faster)?

Case in point with Senator Tarr: The link you shared to his website - http://www.brucetarr.com - has a news section if you scroll down. The last update was April 2007. His office is clearly generating press releases and the like; but they're not updated on his official website.

I'm guessing that's what's happening. Not anything against the 4th estate but a curiosity about where the web is going. Call it ignorance, even; a term I've heard from federal legislators, admitting they don't understand everything.

Tom Jones said...

The People seem to be soured by the bias demonstrated repeatedly by various media outlets, exacerbated by the competitive branding of one another, and by the political leaders (see "vast right-wing conspiracy", "liberal commie press corps") constantly bashing one another for their flawed philosophical biases. I seem to remember way back in the distant past, when I was in school, when the "newsmen" strive to present the facts and the opinions were printed as such in one small column. Thomas Jefferson extolled the virtue of a free press, all the while dogged by the articles written about him and his style of governance. Yet he knew that a free media was a guarantee of free speech and free choice by the masses. Sadly, we too quickly abandon those ideals these days, as we choose sides and suffer no middle ground nor much discussion. Please try and hold true to your goal of fair reporting of the facts as you see them, even when I disagree with you or your assumptions. After all, we all hold our own perspective of truth, no two exactly alike, but we should all be so honest as to stick to the facts we see and hear. Good luck with that.