From Bias to Irresponsibility

Historically, a newspaper has been important to the lives of a community’s citizens.  It has been a place to not only learn about events locally, but also what is occurring around a region, nation, and the world.  The op-ed section permits citizens to opportunity to express their opinions as well as learn the opinions of their neighbors.  A level of trust inherently goes along with publishing a newspaper as its readers want to be able to believe what is printed within its pages.  What happens when a newspaper breaks that trust with its readers.
Growing up I not only enjoyed the daily newspaper of wherever I was living, I respected its place in my community.  Even from an early age I recognized the bias inherent in  coverage; the publishers rarely shared my world view.  I had to seek coverage from multiple sources and I learned to critically evaluate what I read.  Growing up in Virginia I new that the Daily Press and the Virginian-Pilot weren’t going to provide full coverage of the things that mattered to me, so I also read the Richmond Times-Dispatch.  Sadly, if you live in Salisbury, MD and its environs (as I do now) you are saddled with a daily newspaper that not only doesn’t share your world view, it attempts to mold the views of its readers by deliberately using its news and editorial pages as little more than propoganda in support of its chosen candidates and policies.
This past week I witnessed the nadir of a daily newspaper.  The Daily Times has called on the Salisbury city council to violate the very laws they are sworn to uphold.  In their effort to prop up a mayor who is spinning out of control, they actually want elected officials to commit an illegal act!  I almost understand their dilemma.  To date they have refused to acknowledge that Salisbury mayor Jim Ireton has taken the attitude that he is above the law when it comes to the tenure of his acting fire chief.  They were faced with two choices – ignore the incident or go “all in” support the illegal behavior.  Regrettably, they chose the latter.
Attempting to turn the tables on a council majority that is prohibited by law from providing the reasons for their refusal to confirm Ireton’s choice as fire chief, the Daily Times news and editorial staffs think themselves clever by calling on the council to violate their oaths of office:
Instead of hiding behind “personnel matters,” tell us why this man who has capably managed the department for the better part of the past four years on an interim basis cannot be the department’s official 22nd chief.

As this same group of “journalists” prepares to go to press attacking Ireton’s opponent in the upcoming election with charges of racism, they should be careful what they wish for.  While the council is tip-lipped about its reasons for denying confirmation to Ireton’s pick for fire chief, one reason appears to center on charges of racism within the Salisbury Fire Department, particularly among its top officers.  I wonder how they will defend this.
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