When I read The Union’s “Our Views,” I become more and more convinced that its management and many of its Editorial Board members — including Publisher Don Rogers and Editor Brian Hamilton, as well as Lynn Wenzel, Stan Meckler, Mary Anne Davis, Norm Sauer, Megan Ross, Andy Burton, Mayrn Miller, Paul Matson, Mike Dobbins and whomever else — live in a bubble in Brunswick Basin. Or worse, have their head in the sand.
The latest shining example: an editorial titled “Measure B supporters must make their case to voters.” You’re kidding, right? You can’t make this stuff up! (By the way, whatever happened to the idea of having more students on the editorial board? One left and was never replaced).
The Measure B supporters made their case to voters: campaign signs, door-to-door campaigning and mailers but also social media campaigns, an informative website tours, and community outreach. Kudos to all the administrators and teachers who did their part — not as retirees but volunteering for extra hours after finishing their “day jobs.”
Lack of community leadership
The blame for the “nail biter” on Measure B — to use The Union’s editorial words — goes to the newspaper itself for displaying a total lack of community leadership. And to the hard-right ideologues who gobble up so much ink fighting Measure B or “Common Core” (and are The Union’s chief demographic). Some examples:
• The Union’s paid weekly columnist George Boardman ranted against Measure B, and the retired, rightwing contingent loudly fought against the Measure in the newspaper. A prime example was Wade Freedle and crew, the same group that torpedoed a fire tax in the South County and are cheerleaders for the State of Jefferson and tea party. The Union’s Editorial Board has its share of this “anti-goverment,” “just say no” demographic, such as Norm Sauer and Stan Meckler, local co-founder of the tea party.
Opponents’ “fake news”
• The Union had ample chance to “dig deeper,” do some investigative reporting, and challenge the lies and misinformation of the Measure B foes that it dutifully republished — but did not. It just ran their ads. One example: There are no plans to close Bear River High School, as the Measure B opponents claimed. It was “fake news.”
•The Union Editorial Board had ample opportunity to support the Measure on the editorial pages, even with its own editorial to counter Boardman’s rant — but did not. Some of these individual Board Members have children in our schools, and I was astounded not to see them write about this. Many of them are preoccupied with their own “pet” issues that they write about.
The Union’s failure on this front goes beyond Measure B. The schools have become the favorite “whipping boy/girl” of paid columnist, Lake of the Pines retiree Boardman (who often makes egregious errors in his reporting).
And The Union sued the schools in a Freedom of Information lawsuit over the resignation of a senior school official — a ridiculous move that was justifiably criticized by a judge and cost the district $17K. In that case, the problem also was a lack of reporting — not a lack of transparency.
Meanwhile, the retired, rightwing contingent that The Union coddles (AKA its chief demographic) continues to interject politics in the local schools with its anti-“Common Core” drumbeat. And you can expect more of it too.