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LETTER: Council coverage has lost objectivity

Dear Editor:
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Send your letters to the editor to newsroom@ahobserver.com. (File)

Dear Editor:

I am writing to you today to register my disappointment with the tone and content of your recent coverage of the political climate/situation in our village. Since the most recent municipal election, the atmosphere in our local political arena has been challenging, to say the least, and the sort of coverage that you have provided has not been helpful. I am left wondering if your intention is to reflect and report on our local politics, or to influence and shape it. Your objectivity appears to have gone missing.

Of particular concern is the recent (Friday, March 3, 2023 edition of the Agassiz-Harrison Observer) “correction” or “retraction” entitled “For the Record”, relating to your Feb. 24 article reporting on the incidents in the Feb. 21 council meeting. This “clarification”was , in my opinion, a dismal failure. Whereas, in the original published article, you unequivocally stated that the mayor “was correct” in his handling of the meeting according to procedural order, in your “clarification” you used very different terminology (emphasis added) in stating that “the way it transpired may not have been correct.” Is there any doubt? The “clarification” continues: “Mayor Wood should probably have recognized the councillors…”. This sort of inflammatory rhetoric is, at the very least, counter-productive, and is only contributing to the escalation of animosity and hostility in the Harrison political arena.

The hallmark of journalism is supposed to be “objectivity”, not the choosing of sides to represent. To paraphrase Sgt. Joe Friday of Dragnet, “Just the facts, man”, no embellishment required. Words matter. Choose them carefully.

I also view the position of your “clarification” directly below the colourful headlines applied to two “Anti-council” letters to the editor blaring “Fighting for peace in Harrison” and “Harrison Hot Springs run by council of children” as deliberately adding further fuel to the fire, and emboldening the anti-council faction in the village.

We have a right to expect fair, unbiased, objective reporting from our journalists. Since your paper is delivered to every door in the village, there is certainly no need to try to boost circulation using sensationalism. Everyone needs to calm down.

Dennis Hill

Harrison Hot Springs