In April I pointed to an egregious reporting error in The Union about the Elections Office. Without checking with the Elections Office, it ran a false and some would claim libelous statement from a pro-Measure S press release: “The ACLU is investigating whether actions taken by the County rise to the level of election tampering.”
I confirmed there was no such investigation, but The Union did not. After receiving notice from the Elections Office, Editor Brian Hamilton issued a major retraction “for our failure to confirm the allegation prior to publishing the news release at TheUnion.com, which inaccurately called into question the integrity of the county elections office with the false claim.”
The Union didn’t seem to learn anything from its mistake, because it is still writing one-sided articles about the Elections Office related to Measure S.
This morning, the newspaper sided with disgruntled candidates with the headline “Delayed sample ballots irk Nevada County candidates.”
The first 10 paragraphs deal with the candidates making a rather astonishing claim that they should somehow be refunded money for their campaign statements because ballot mailings were delayed. I’ve never heard of such a thing. It almost sounds as if they are trying to come up with an excuse if they lose.
But the article never fleshed out the Elections Office side of this story — and it offered no response from an Elections official until all the way down to the eleventh paragraph.
The crux of the story is this, as the Elections Office said in the very first sentence of its press release: “All sample ballots and sample ballot booklets will be in the hands of Nevada County voters in ample time for voter preparation for the November 4 election, although legal challenges (from the pro-Measure S supporters) nearly derailed the process.”
In addition, the ballots were delayed by a distribution snafu involving the post office.
The full statement is here.
Instead of putting this higher in the story, The Union quoted Patricia Smith, leader of Measure S, the medical marijuana cultivation initiative on the Nov. 4 ballot, as stating that delays in the sample ballot mailing could affect the vote on Measure S.
Talk about an “upside down” world. Most of us are tired of the bickering about Measure S. It has come to epitomize the culture wars, political polarization, nastiness and self interest at play in our western county.
One reason Measure S may go down to defeat has less to do with the initiative but how the campaign is throwing everybody under the bus but itself. There is little to no self-introspection.
And The Union has done an extremely poor job of shedding a light on it, going back to the campaign’s defamatory statement about the Elections Office in April, which it published without even confirming.
Measure S has shown the community at its worst.