Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Verde Independent: "Renzi, Hambrick could have dodged current spotlight"

Here's an example of how an editorial related to this breaking news can express disapproval while maintaining journalistic integrity and credibility. Contrast this with yesterday's Courier editorial.

16 comments:

leftturnclyde said...

gee Steven ,the big difference between the 2 pieces is
A:the inclusion of Rick Renzi and a List of what he is accused of
B:No call for Hambrick to step down.
and on B I suspect that if Hambrick was the tax guy for the Verde area the unnamed editor would have been all over him to resign as well.
I wonder just how many folks will wind up getting implicated in these two unconnected(?) scandals

Steven Ayres said...

Assessor is a county office, so Mr Hambrick works for the Verde folks as well.

leftturnclyde said...

"Assessor is a county office, so Mr Hambrick works for the Verde folks as well."
Okay
but it does not change the fact that the two editorial are not that different. the Verdes is a little less outraged maybe...

Steven Ayres said...

It's exactly my point that the difference is small between a measured response and going over the line into yellow journalism.

Media Dude said...

You're wrong on this one, Steven. The Courier did its homework on Hambrick. Nothing yellow there.

Steven Ayres said...

I expect you're thinking of the reporting, MD, where I'm referrring to the editorial.

courierfriend said...

Steven, just wondering where, specifically, you think the Courier editorial crosses the line? Is it the editorial's overall assumption that Hambrick is guilty -- whereas our legal system calls for innocence until proven otherwise?

Steven Ayres said...

Exactly -- the Courier has turned up some things that don't look good, but there's been no comment or action on the official level from law enforcement or people on higher levels of state edministration who are not apparently involved. By pulling the trigger too early, the paper is impetuously betting its credibility and breaking off communication with Hambrick, who may yet be vindicated, for all we know, for nothing more than bragging rights if things go the way the editor expects. The media have a constitutional role to play, but it is neither prosecutor nor judge.

We should bear in mind that there's a quiet war being waged inside the Republican party between the right and the extreme right statewide, so we should watch out for media manipulation to further the various inside strategies. I'm not saying I know anything specific, just that I'm sure there's more to know about this matter.

courierfriend said...

I see the difference between the two editorials, but I am reading the Courier editorial differently than you are, I guess. I just took it to mean that Hambrick's simultaneous employment as assessor and Townsend employee looks unethical. I don't think the editorial is saying it WAS unethical, just that it appears to fall in a gray area -- and therefore looks suspicious. Just a thought...

Steven Ayres said...

=> I don't think the editorial is saying it WAS unethical,

Perhaps you missed that the Courier called for his resignation in response to this appearance.

Media Dude said...

I think you're missing something here, Steven, like most people do: It's the opinion page, which is where opinions belong. Joanna did it right in the news hole, and the editors are giving their opinion where it belongs. Pretty simple.

courierfriend said...

I agree with Media Dude -- the editor's opinion is that Hambrick should resign. I'm not sure that's a "call for his resignation," rather, it's the editor's opinion that he's "smelly." A call for a resignation typically says something like, "Hambrick, resign before you're voted out," or something -- more directly to whoever has offended the editor. In this case, it sounded more like an opinion, not a call for action.

Steven Ayres said...

MD=> It's the opinion page, which is where opinions belong.

Of course it is, and I don't contend otherwise. My point is that if the Courier editors hope to be taken seriously as journalists, they would do better to be more measured and thoughtful in print.

Bear in mind that there's a difference between a byline column and the main editorial, which states the opinion of the organization rather than the person writing it.

leftturnclyde said...

Steven , If the reporting bears it out ,isnt this editorial showing the right amount of outrage?
I mean you yourself have made statements that things look kinda fishy .
Perhaps you feel that the editor(although unamed ) should recuse him or herself from commenting since the paper backed Mr.Hambricks opponent when he was elected.

Steven Ayres said...

=> If the reporting bears it out ,isnt this editorial showing the right amount of outrage?

Since you're commenting on my post on the Verde Independent editorial, I'm not sure which you mean by 'this.' I'm guessing you really mean the Courier editorial, so on that basis I'll reply: if the issue eventually leads to a solid legal case, the Courier's call for his resignation now will have been justified. I'm saying it's impetuous to make that call now, and that the Verde editor did a better job at basically the same point.

leftturnclyde said...

Moo