Last updated 1/20/2021 at 5:09pm
In this week’s Village News, (1/14/21), an announcement soliciting advertisers included this: “We’re proud of our brand of trusted journalism.” Journalism? Really?
I’ve been saddened by the shift to the extreme right of the Village News in recent months. We have James Veltmeyer’s pooh-poohing the use of face masks. And the reports from the Epoch Times (which consistently calls the coronavirus the “Chinese Communist Party virus”). And the slanted articles such as the one comparing Trump’s pardons of his criminal cronies with Obama’s sentence commutations for long-ago drug offenders.
Recently, the paper printed an entire stop-the-steal page listing all the Trump campaign’s post-election lawsuits and baseless fraud allegations, as if the weight of the suits indicated their merits. According to Business Insider, the current count stands at 42 lawsuits filed, of which the Trumpers have zero wins and 38 cases lost or withdrawn (four cases are still pending). Everyone from Trump-appointed conservative judges to Republican state election officials have concluded that the election-fraud claims were phony (except maybe Darrell Issa).
This week, the Village News gave full-page oxygen to a claim that Antifa was involved in the Capitol riots, which has been thoroughly debunked by fact checkers and refuted by the FBI. The article also included a false timeline; google “capitol mob timeline” and check the New York Times visual timeline, among others.
What’s next for our local paper – in-depth interviews with the My Pillow guy, Alex Jones, or the face-painted wacko with the horns?
Space doesn’t permit me to list all the falsehoods in recent months that have appeared in opinion columns in the Village News.
People doing actual journalism vet claims on sites such as Politifact.com, Factcheck.org, AFP Fact Check, USA Today’s Fact Check, and others, rather than simply repeating whatever appears on their social media feed.
I’m not going to cancel my subscription, though. I enjoy the unedited articles submitted by P.R. firms (clients) and proud relatives (family members), the drumbeat of relentless successes of all town events and charity fund drives, and, especially, the interminable articles about road speed-limit certifications.
Let’s not brag too much about journalism, though.