The Union has a front-page story titled “Nevada County church told to take down ‘Support Our Troops’ sign.”
It begins: “A Nevada County church has been commanded to remove two signs facing Highway 49, one of which simply reads “Support Our Troops” on top of an image of a United States flag.
The directive comes from the Nevada County Planning Department, which has deemed the sign “a non-conforming use and must be removed,” according to a Dec. 17 letter sent to the church’s property owner.
“(W)e have received an outpouring of compliments and support for the banners,” said Pastor Jeff Alaways of Simple Truth Church in an email to The Union.
It quotes a member of the church: “It’s really a shame because it’s a beautiful sign. Who would want to take that down?” said Robert Dougherty, a member of the church. “These guys lose their arms and legs, and we can’t even support them with a sign.”
But what about the other side? Only a few sentences are dedicated to the Planning Department’s position, without offering a chance to further explain their position and respond to the comments.
“The Union was unable to reach Foss or anyone in the county’s planning department Thursday and Friday, as most of the county’s offices were closed due to furloughs until Monday.”
It did not link to the letter, either.
This is irresponsible journalism: First, journalists should have home contact information for our officials — it’s a small town. Second, it’s all right to wait until someone can be reached in this case, in the interest of fairness. The letter has been circulating since December 17; it is not “breaking news.”
Instead, the reader is left with a one-sided understanding of the issue — and the story is on the front page, no less.
Will it become small-town political fodder? Of course.
Next up: An “Other Voices” from the Planning Department. Round and round and round we go …