, 28 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
1/ I don’t do this often, but I just wanted to pause on this Sunday to draw attention to something that happened yesterday.
2/ As a FT journalist for more than a decade now—covering federal, state & local govt—I’ve seen this type of piece more often than I’d like.
3/ It’s a “hit-piece.” The gossip at the high school lunch table. Tabloid writing. It’s like getting over-charged by your doctor.
4/ There’s not much you can legally do. It’s just really shitty & poor form—generally seen by most journalists as the lowest of the low.
5/ In the words of the Internet, it’s: “an attempt to turn public opinion against someone through the appearance of objective reporting.”
6/ So, there’s that. Which, okay, whatever. It sucks, but it’s a thing. People do it. But what prompted this thread is something more…
7/ To re-cap: 3 days before Charlottesville’s City Council election @DailyProgress publishes a story on the only Independent candidate w/…
8/…strong enough numbers to challenge @laufer4council & @hillforcville — the two establishment candidates on the Democrat ticket.
9/ The story by @Suarez_CM led the site all day & has dog-whistles littered throughout: “unabashedly aggressive” “often-confrontational”…
10/…“incendiary emails.” The story’s lede suggests an analysis was done of all six City Council candidates’ use of email. Yet…
11/…@NikuyahWalkerCC is the only candidate ever discussed. The story then details 2 examples of her cursing in emails to city officials…
12/… over allegations of misconduct. The only actual email that reflects on how @NikuyahWalkerCC may govern, is buried near the bottom…
13/…and credits her activism w/ the city raising the living wage. Which, it should be noted, is more than any other candidate has done.
14/ But that’s not even why I’m doing this thread. No. I’m writing this because of the story’s 4th graf, which reads…
15/ “A source in City Hall, who wished to remain anonymous, called attention to her emails, voicing concerns about her ability to work…
16/…collaboratively with city officials.” My question is: Why was this person granted anonymity? The Society of Professional Journalists…
17/…has the following listed on their guide to using anonymous sources: “Always question sources’ motives before promising anonymity.”
18/ And yet, if either the @DailyProgress or @Suarez_CM did that, it is not explained or apparent. Rather, I know who this “anonymous”…
19/…source is. And his motives are very apparent. In fact, it should come as no surprise, he’s endorsed @laufer4council & @hillforcville
20/…But that’s not explained in this story. Instead he's granted anonymity. It is incredibly dangerous for the state of journalism to help…
21/… an elected politician plant a hit-piece on the one candidate for office that is most likely to beat his two endorsements, less than…
22/…3 days before Election Day. What’s more, is that @DailyProgress has also endorsed those same two candidates.
23/ It reeks of complicity, political advocacy & an attempt to sway voters, not over issues or substance, but over tone w/out context…
24/…and a complete disregard for civic responsibility. It is an endorsement of the powerful & their standards of conduct, at the expense of…
25/…those whose voices have been perpetually ignored, under the guise of “journalism.” Charlottesville’s citizenry deserves better.
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