It’s usually the Daily Times that earns our wrath when we analyze hack reporting and a lack of journalistic ethics among DelMarVa’s media outlets. Let’s face it, a decent newspaper in almost all but its reporting of Salisbury city politics just can’t help itself when it comes to attacking certain elected officials. Since the election of Jim Ireton as Salisbury’s mayor, they have even subscribed to the old adage: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”. Their intense hatred of council members Debbie Campbell, Terry Cohen, and Tim Spies has motivated them to form an obvious political alliance with Ireton (whom they despised until his falling out with Campbell, et al) and council member Laura Mitchell. Unfortunately, another local media organization is attempting to surpass the efforts of the Daily Times when it comes to poor reporting and a lack of ethics. That organization is WMDT. There’s also a new bully in town – WMDT General Manager Kathleen McLain.
In response to the council’s refusal to bow down and adopt his latest plan for downtown revitalization, Ireton did what he always does – call a press conference. Attacking Campbell, Cohen and Spies, Ireton called on the broadcast outlets present to knock go knock on these council members’ doors and “stick a microphone in their faces”. “Demand answers!” as to why they wouldn’t support his plan. Only one outlet took up Ireton’s call to ambush elected officials at their homes – McLain’s WMDT.
Guess who was in the audience adding her support? Ms. McLain. Guess who was part of the “Revitalization Committee” that added their collective names to Ireton’s plan? Ms. McLain. Guess which TV station dispatched a reporter to the home of council president Terry Cohen (frightening her children to the point that her daughter was brought to tears)? WMDT (of which McLain is the GM). Guess whose reporter sheepishly admitted that she was ordered to attempt an ambush of Cohen at her home? McLain (WMDT reporter Jemie Lee). Guess which outlet presented a one sided view of Ireton’s dog and pony show without even disclosing that McLain was part of the group promoting Ireton’s plan? WMDT.
Here is the video of Lee’s one sided piece attacking the council majority’s decision:
I wonder how McLain would feel if unhappy viewers banged on the door of her home and "demanded answers" as to why the station she runs has stopped reporting the news and opened up a propaganda shop for Ireton?
To add insult to injury, McLain’s minions didn’t stop there. In another piece of stellar reporting, WMDT posts a piece on Ireton and Mitchell’s petition – another one of their political ploys to attack the council majority and get themselves on TV (and on the front page). They included a link to the petition.
McLain, a person whom I have long respected, should be ashamed. There is no problem with a person in the media attempting to be a civic leader. There is not even a problem using the media to promote pet causes; provided that the person’s relationship with that cause is disclosed. However, to twist the news in order to gain political advantage or to attack officials who do not conform to one’s point of view is unethical. To use a supposedly independent news department to deliberately tell only one side of a story is not journalism, it is propaganda. To attempt to intimidate elected officials through your news staff is bullying.
We can only wonder if the owners of WMDT concur with McLain’s use of a valuable asset.
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We had hoped that the Daily Times would have learned from the recent ethical lapses which led to the dismissal of their “crack” (sorry, HACK) city reporter and their city editor. Unfortunately, it appears that they haven’t.
Using Sunday’s op-ed page to twist the truth and promote anything that is detrimental to Salisbury’s council majority, the paper’s editors recycled some of Ireton’s less objectionable rhetoric in declaring that anyone who opposes Iretion’s “vision” for downtown is simply a naysayer. In addition the DT also lauded the “fact” that the Ireton / Mitchell petition had achieved 400 signatures. Perhaps new city reporter Earl Holland is attempting to slither into the footsteps of some of his predecessors. He obviously hadn’t done much do diligence into the petitions illustrious signatories. They included such upstanding Salisbury citizens as John F. Kennedy, Catherine the Great, Hansel and Gretel, Trapped Behind the Screen, and Light in the Loafers.
Yes, I am sure that between the bullying of Ms. McLain’s TV station, the poor reporting of Mr. Holland, and the grassroots support of both Hansel and Gretel will cause the city council majority to immediately reverse their previous action on the Mayor’s plan.