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Citizen media | Opinon
In the last few weeks of this election season an escalation of accusations of local media bias has permeated and consumed conversations in the physical world, the social media blog world and the publishing world.
These accusations have included personal attacks on commenter’s, myself included and news editors as well as outrageous statements of deliberate attempts perpetrated by local media at filtering, blocking, removing, restricting and silencing the “voice” of the average citizen. These charges have been lobbed at various Sound Publishing papers and other local media outlets.
While the individuals who choose this approach, do in fact have the right of free speech to say such things, it is really not in either their best interest or the best interest of the “candidate” or “initiative” they are attempting to assist.
Running for local office means that you have to be prepared for the good things about you and for anything that you or your supporters might perceive as “negative” to come out in some sort of media outlet in one form or another at anytime during the campaign. There is a critical point where it becomes less about the issue that was revealed and more about how well you are prepared to handle and counter and how professionally and quickly you do so.
How a candidate deals both publicly and privately with being challenged, questioned and spotlighted during a campaign determines how that candidate will deal with the wide spectrum of constituent feedback and or requests while they hold office. Candidates that choose to allow campaign staff or supporters to operate in what is basically and nasty goon squad environment that deliberately attempts to bully other candidates or those who support other candidates, have proven in that instant that they are never going to be worthy of holding elected office nor can they professionally handle the role of public stewardship.
As far as the accusation of silencing the average citizen? That argument is baseless. Story comment privileges allowed on nearly all local publications as well as related social media allow average citizens to make their points and or complaints in real time in multiple forums.I am very much an average citizen myself. I am not paid for what I write. I am a local conservative that has been writing a weekly column for Sound Publishing for nearly two years now. I get to write about anything I want to. Not once in those two years has Sound Publishing ever attempted to restrict, block, filter or influence anything I submit to them. I hardly call this wonderful opportunity and platform they have provided to this average citizen an attempt at silencing anything. In fact it proves just the opposite.
Local candidates, look to your supporters. Publicly condemn, immediately, those who are attempting to discredit and hurt others for the simple reason of discrediting and hurting and not because they have valid data supporting arguments or credible points against your opponent regarding their position on issues, voting record or personal behaviors. Clean up your act and everyone needs to do better in 2012.