January 26, 2005
In the Dictionary of Local Definitions, under slanted, see The
a column by Nelson Thibodeaux
Case in point is the January 21, 2005
edition article, "Bond Issues: Colleyville's Future in
"Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one."
A. J. Liebling
(from The Wayward Pressman)
News fabricated opinions as facts, in a deliberate effort to
impact a presidential election, a new standard for bias
reporting was revealed.
Striving to meet that standard, on a local basis, is the The
Colleyville Courier. It is not surprising that the
paper, owned by a coalition of political buddies, would attempt
to portray any who may be critical of its tactics as
supernatural visitors from the underworld (claims of mind
control and the like over council members).
However, after being caught with their journalistic pants around
their knees, one would at least hope for some originality in the next
chapter of The Courier's, "the spin starts
The article provides speculations, written as facts, such as,
"Thibodeaux controls the citizen's group Colleyville CAN,"
(that would require control over former-mayors, former council members,
successful businessmen, high profile attorneys, etc). In addition,
all the Colleyville Council members, who voted for the bond issues to be
placed on the February 5th ballot, have done an about face because
"Thibodeaux has come out in opposition."
The article fails to explain the fact that if I had so much influence
over the council members, the issue of spending $13.75 million to bury
TXU's power lines wouldn't be on the ballot at all!
The article quotes Councilman Mark Skinner as saying about Colleyville
CAN, “That group is the most negative, anti-Colleyville group you will find. Until they are gone, it will continue.”
So now the stage is set, I am steadfastly and adamantly opposed to the
taxes of homeowners increasing to bury power lines on Hwy 26.
However, Councilman Mark Skinner supports increasing taxes to bury these
private company's lines.
Will citizens vote to raise their
taxes, by approving Proposition 6, primarily because they know I am
against the issue? Will they raise their taxes because they share
Councilman Skinner's approach that taxpayers should spend money to
improve private property?
Or will citizens cast their vote based on real issues and not on
personalities? Will pocketbooks and prudent spending of their tax monies
take the day?
After the elections in May 2004, The
Courier crowned me "King of Colleyville," in a
sophomoric cartoon. They just don't get it, we need a bumper
"ITS ABOUT HIGH TAXES STUPID!"
However, my favorite line in the article
is, "CCAN helped elect the new
council members with last minute scare
tactics that convinced many voters
that the present bond election would lead to a 40
percent increase in taxes."
First, the "present" bond election was only under discussion
prior to the May 2004 elections. An in-depth report on the bond
discussions, projects considered and the tax increase based on a
contemplated group of projects was covered in LNO on May
13, 2004, Click
Here to see that article.
Possibly Scott Price (staff writer for The Courier), as he
has in the past, relied on one of the major newspapers for his facts,
for example, the Star-Telegram wrote that the 40 percent increase
in taxes was "campaign fodder" for the election. On May 20,
2004, LNO reported on the evolving question of the tax increase
Here to see that article.
On May 21, 2004, the Star-Telegram
printed a correction, as seen below, confirming that the estimated
tax increase by Local News Only.com was factual.
The Courier continues to write
that evidence of a huge tax increase was simply "scare
tactics", even after their journalistic pants where yanked down by
no less than the Star-Telegram.
Borrowing a quote of Laura Schlesinger, "When you
stick your head in the sand, you leave your butt showing." In
this case The Courier's butt is clearly exposed in more ways than
one. While there are a number of misconceptions in the article, the
"scare tactic" crutch best exemplifies the point that The
Courier should label these articles as "opinionated
columns" and not a balanced reporting of facts.
Finally, when considering The Courier, readers are reminded that kind of slanted
journalism doesn't get distributed out of thin air, it takes some
money. While some of it comes from the political buddies of the
ex-mayor, other is from advertisers on the pages of the newspaper.
Perhaps readers that feel a more balanced newspaper would be in
everyone's best interest should pass that feeling along to the Courier
"People everywhere confuse what they read in newspapers with news."
A. J. Liebling
columns posted on Local News Only.com (LNO) are noted as "a
column by." The opinions expressed are that of the
author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of
LNO or of any advertiser. LNO does not warrant, confirm or endorse any facts
that may be referenced in the column.
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