birth of a website: 'OP ED' letter newspaper ignored June 3, 2016
editor urged me to submit a critique, then cloaked her reputation by spiking every word
Riddle: what does Steamboat Today have in common with Howelsen Hill? Both exhibit slippery slopes, with the newspaper's editor choosing to abandon standard principles of journalistic integrity when sympathies override the value of maintaining an impartial, straight-talking press. Welcome to advocacy journalism, Steamboat. It's alive and well with Editor Lisa Schlichtman's blessing in the westside newsroom.
Indeed, the paper's Editorial Board engaged in a redundancy exercise this week to enthusiastically and unconditionally endorse the local teachers union. Careful readers of last Friday's front page sweetheart kiss by reporter Teresa Ristow, "School employees upset: District staff voice frustration over split decision on pay raises" provide all the evidence you need. Paper's favorite facts play on page 1, mentions of Huron mother-daughter conflict and deficit spending buried inside.
Ristow quoted former employee union leader Babette Dickson declaring "war against Good and Andrew." I know Roger Good, however there's no quid-pro-quo. I do this fact-finding, independently as an investigative journalist by training. (career included KBTV newsman/substitute anchor in the 1980s, 9News, KUSA now.) Good answered a few questions I asked, particularly as an elected official and his treatment by this "newspaper". He said he wasn't contacted by Ristow after Dickson leveled her outrage at Good and Andrew printed in the paper's May 27 edition.
I initiated an email dialogue with editor Lisa Schlichtman, focusing on, "...why did reporter Ristow not reach out to Good for his reaction?" As a reporter tasked with follow-up and fairness, this obligation is INSTINCTIVE, particularly when one individual impugns another, Roger Good, a publicly elected official. Schlichtman was vague and evasive, first backing her reporter, believing Ristow performed her duty to seek comment from Mr. Good on Dickson's adversarial remark.
In our email exchanges, Lisa dodged offering a direct, authoritative answer until Tuesday, May 31, when I again pressed her via email. Her response came at a minute past 10am Tuesday: "She (reporter Teresa Ristow) did not call Roger for Thursday's article but did for Wednesday. She talked to Joey and assumed both Joey and Roger did not want to respond." Dickson's attack quote published Thursday online, Friday in the rag. Reporter Ristow simply assumed any comments Roger might make were irrelevant to her chosen narrative. When I asked Schlichtman about the prospect of apologizing on behalf of the paper to Roger Good, she declined, dismissing me as a "middle man", a false presumption, to be sure, but hers nonetheless. What a professional!
It's a revealing smoking gun moment, Steamboat readers. Your news is being manufactured to the quality control standards enforced or waived at the discretion of editor Lisa Schlichtman, the woman in charge of this fiasco masquerading as news.
Meanwhile, reporter Ristow is encouraged to rally on with a know-it-all disposition choosing which newsmakers to speak with and which to avoid in any future article, political or not. Look at all the integrity safety valves in place: a socially-sensitive, defensive editor, an Editorial Board that okey-dokes the whole enchilada. What could possibly provide greater employment security than working for the Steamboat Today News Manufacturing Company? Likely, editorially inappropriate for a paper you can trust.
Sure, dismiss this as lunacy, wacko, conspiracy theory if you wish, but liberals do railroad the media trained as leftist J-school grads by and large. Witness Steamboat Today proudly aligning with MSNBC, Huffington Post and Slate. Notice these journalists do not apologize. Their agenda: have us spend more than we have, forever!
Judge the facts. Accept no substitute for the truth.
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