Mar 20, 2007
Newspaper takes heat for doing its job
In another Republican letter writing campaign, the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus published three letters taking them to task for daring to revel the finances and irresponsibility of an elected office, including one from a former Republican state Representative and Senator.
Maybe I don’t understand how investigative journalism works, but isn’t the job of a journalist to report on the finances and wrongdoing of an elected official? Also, where else will a company give you the platform to blast them?
As everyone knows, the home of Rep. Chris Ward, R-Brighton Township, and his ex-wife is in foreclosure. That’s public record because a required legal ad appeared in the P & A. The bigger question maybe why the newspaper sat on the story for a week until the Detroit News broke the story first. This newspaper has bent over backward to not ask any tough questions or be critical of Ward.
The newspaper reported back in February of 2006 about Ward’s divorce. Now, the life of a public official should be an open book, and divorce is one thing that we should know about, especially when you try and paint yourself as the party and candidate of family values. We should know even more if that person makes is alleged family values a campaign issue and uses that family as a campaign prop. If your campaign web site uses this tag: “Chris Ward is a committed conservative who will fight for limited government, low taxes and family values” then I think your family situation is an issue. If you also use your family as a prop then your family values are even more of an issue.
Former state Fred Dillingham wrote a letter saying personal matters should stay private. Then we should do way with laws that require candidates to revel their finances and other conflict of interest and campaign finance laws. Dillingham writes; “Unfortunately, many choose to seize the opportunity to expose the personal lives of public officials with little or no consideration to the impact it has on their children and others who fall victim to this type of public disclosure.” The finances and lack of judgment of elected officials has nothing to do with their personal life, but it has everything to do with their character or lack of character.
M. Battison, of Genoa Township writes, “I really think the editorial staff screwed up and should be reprimanded for allowing this gossip piece to be published. In the future, please think before you publish; ask if it's newsworthy and serves the public interest. There's enough gossip out there already without the need for articles like this one.”
This is not gossip it’s public record. The gossip has been around for a long time, but no one reported or printed it. The finances, judgment and morals of our elected leaders are more than newsworthy.
Laura Bickel of Howell writes, “When is enough, enough? Divorce is a tragic pandemic in our society; it is painful for all involved. Is it really necessary to revel in someone else's private pain and then further shame them by boldly announcing their sad financial predicament?”
We have a 50 percent divorce rate in this country, but I guarantee the foreclosure rate is not nearly that high. Divorce does not automatically mean you lose your home, and the fact remains Ward has a place to live; his family does not. In this economy there are many people losing their homes everyday because of lost jobs and loss of income. However, people who make nearly $100,000 a year have no excuse, in my opinion. It’s about responsibility, priorities and judgment.