This week’s Grunter editorial finally recognizes that their reporting has been lacking. What should be coming clear to everyone is that the business dealings of the town are rarely laid out at public meetings. The press may decide to only report what they are told at those meetings, and that’s fine so long as that is cited as the sole source, and recognize that even truthful disclosure can be misleading by omission.
Problems arise when details that are otherwise not revealed are brought out. If the newspaper is going to judge the validity of those details by what they heard or saw at public meetings only, they sell the public short. They can either report what is said by both sides without editorializing and attributing motive, or they can remain silent. But when they get up on a soapbox to discredit the source and make up facts of their own, they cross the line from reporting to propaganda.
If they want to delve into the real workings of town government, there are tools at their disposal. There is the Right to Know law by which they can obtain internal communications and other documents. They can ask town officials for comments and details, on the record, with the understanding that misrepresentation of the truth will be exposed. They can ask the source for their proof.
Only after completing their own investigation of the facts, will a responsible news outlet form an opinion and express it in an editorial.