Media Monday–March 25, 2013

SHOWING BIAS IN A BETTER WAY?

The Daily Times seems hell bent on queering this year’s Salisbury mayoral / council elections just like they’ve tried every other time in recent memory.  Will they be successful?  We’ll know next week.

After a series of scandals destroyed what little credibility remained at Salisbury’s Daily Times, new publisher Tom Claybaugh and managing editor Michael Kilian faced a tough choice:

  1. Report the news as fairly as possible (I don’t believe that anyone is 100% objective) and be honest on the op-ed pages (if you are going to claim to be the “voice of the community”, then print op-ed which reflect this).
  2. Continue the paper’s old bias, just try to be more like their big city rivals and commit more “sins of omission” rather than print easily verifiable lies; and certainly don’t encourage reporters to actively participate in their own stories.

All the News That We WANT to Print

    To most of us, choice number 1 is obviously the best path.  In an industry that appears to be dying, regaining credibility amongst readers is a good place to start if you want to rebuild.  The

Daily Times

    can claim some good young reporters.  They’ve shown that, when allowed, they can provide good, accurate coverage of local news.  Alas, Claybaugh and Kilian have decided on a darker path.  Rather than report all of the news, the DT seems determined to only run stories which aid their preferred candidates.
    How can I make such a claim?  Haven’t they run stories critical of Jim Ireton?  One!  Haven’t they run stories critical of Jake Day?  Less than one.  Who really cares that the Jakester has a heavy foot?
    I’m not claiming that the DT has savaged Joe Albero or Debbie Campbell.  They haven’t.  That’s the

Daily Times

    of old.  Besides, like Katherine Crowell four years ago, I don’t believe that Jeremy Cox would allow his name to be put on pieces that are riddled with lies and innuendo.  No, the DT is playing the stealth game.

Where is the story on Joe Albero’s economic development plan?  Where is a thoughtful analysis of Jake Day’s slick manifesto (which you can’t even download from his site anymore)?  Where is an analysis of Jim Ireton’s attempt to raise taxes (more than once) while he claims that he never raised your taxes (worth at least four Pinnochio’s over at the WaPo)?  Where is the story about Ireton and Day’s lack of basic math skills (how do to add 500 residential units downtown, plus commercial space when you have less than 100 available parking spots (after you have sold off all of the riverfront lots – which has merit – plus Lot 1 between the library and the plaza?).  WHERE is the story about national real estate interests doing a mailing  two mailings for Jake Day?

They’re no where to be found.  Why?  Mr. Kilian doesn’t want the public to learn too much about the candidates running for office.  If they did, the DT’s favored candidates wouldn’t stand much of a chance.  Unfortunately, things are worse on the op-ed side of the shop thanks to Mr. Claybaugh and op-ed editor Susan Parker.

WE Decide the News, WE Decide YOUR Opinion

Have you bothered to ask yourself why there haven’t been many letters to the editor in support of Joe Albero or Debbie Campbell?  The answer is simple … the Daily Times won’t print them.

I’ve only been sent letters regarding Mrs. Campbell’s race, but it seems that they are (almost) all too long, too short, too critical of Jim Ireton, too critical of Barrie Tilghman, too critical of other council members, too critical of the weather, printed on the wrong color paper or using the wrong type of ink.  NOW (from today’s paper) …

In other words, we will print your letter to editor IF it doesn’t talk about ANY issue other than the issues WE (the DT) deem worthy of having an opinion about.  Now, it’s the op-ed page.  They certainly have a right to print whatever they want.  Just don’t claim to be the voice of the community.

So… here’s what you can expect between now and Friday:

Dear Editor,

I’ve known Jake Day since he was at James M. Bennett HS.  He planted a garden.  He’s a good guy.  He went to some fancy schools.  He’s in the Army.  He’s a nice guy.  He has lots of ideas but I can’t talk about them because Jake doesn’t want the voters asking too many questions about the cost.

Signed – Someone who probably doesn’t live in Salisbury.

Messrs. Claybaugh and Kilian can be very proud of the business they are running into the ground.

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Comments

  1. Please get over yourself. Mr. Claybaugh is a genius. A true leader. Smartest publisher in newspaper history. Just ask him.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Even if what you say is true about the paper’s bias, you can’t possibly think that will be the cause if Albero loses the election. You are obviously a big fan of his blog bases on your recent activity there. Yet anyone who follows his site and yours knows that you both have deemed this paper irrelevant. So which is it? Either no one reads it anymore or it will be responsible for Albero’s defeat. If Albero loses, it will be because of his blog, not because of The Daily Times.

    • G. A. Harrison says:

      Dear Anonymous –

      First of all I have NEVER said or implied that IF Albero loses it would be the DT’s fault. I did say that they are hell bent on queering the election. That’s not the same thing. Regardless of who wins, it’s a COMBINATION of work, money, AND media.

      You are also incorrect that I deem the Daily Times irrelevant. I believe that it tries very hard to make itself irrelevant. I am continually shocked at friends of mine – smart, well-read people all – who keep telling me that they stopped reading the DT years ago. That is an area of genuine concern. We know that their financial situation indicates a declining readership (like almost every other daily).

      One of the areas where Albero and I disagree is his attitude towards the DT. I criticize them, but I don’t hold them in contempt. I have held some of their practices in contempt, but that’s part of my criticism. I WANT the DT to be a good, even great, paper. I think every city should have a daily paper. While I don’t always agree, I’ve enjoyed reading reporters like Jeremy Cox, Jennifer Shutt, Brian Shane, and Vanessa Junkin. Unlike many of my conservative friends, I don’t believe that these reporters TRY to slant the news. I simply recognize that they have a world view that is to the left of mine and I can’t expect them to write about stories that they are either not aware of or where they don’t have access to all of the facts.

      Your last premise is also wrong. IF Albero loses, it will be neither the fault of the DT nor SBYNews. IF Albero loses, it will be because of a number of factors, including the DT and SBYNews. There are seldom any silver bullets in a political campaign. This also applies to Ireton. IF he loses, it won’t be because he’s gay (although I’m sure a few people won’t vote for him for that reason) or because he’s a leftist (although a lot more won’t vote for him because of this) or …

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