Let the reader beware…

Local newspapers can be a great resource for information and an important part of the fabric of our community. As Mayor of the City of Bay Village, I look at the papers as partners in disseminating information and appreciate balanced and factual reporting. While reporters and I may not always agree, we have worked hard to develop the professional relationships that ensure balance and independent reporting of the pros and cons that surround any issue.
For the past year, we have had a new community paper in town. For the most part, this new forum offers a free venue for many civic and community groups as well as businesses to get their message out to our residents. There are no reporters—just send in an article and chances are high that it will be printed verbatim. Think of it as a blog-paper grounded in opinion, not necessarily in fact. 

The majority of the paper is very positive with one exception—"View from the Cheap Seats." The publisher of the paper continues to engage a writer, Alex Dade, whose vindictiveness and venom results in the spread of misinformation that adversely impacts the city Administration, City Council, and the community as a whole. Although the publisher prints a disclaimer that facts will be checked, City Hall has never been contacted regarding Mr. Dade’s “facts.” There is no balance. There is no independent reporting.
Mr. Dade is certainly entitled to his opinion. During the past election cycle, he used the paper to further his own political agenda. However, in his latest rant, his allegations of ”financial malfeasance” truly cross the line from fact to fiction. I believe the publisher is doing our community and our residents an enormous disservice by not checking the facts and allowing this vitriol to continue.   

–Mayor Debbie Sutherland, Bay Village

[Editor's note: The WBV Observer’s printed guidelines ask all writers to verify the accuracy of facts before submitting stories. Letters submitted by readers expressing personal perspectives on issues and events in our community are identified as opinions and should regarded as such.]

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Volume 2, Issue 9, Posted 12:38 PM, 05.02.2010