Monday, June 02, 2014

This Is An Example of a Slanted Article

Even if it were labeled an opinion piece, which it wasn't, it is still highly unethical for a journalist not to disclose one way or the other any relationship she may have with the subject of her article. The parent is a journalism professor at the University of Nevada, Reno. Is he a former professor of hers, is he a neighbor, is he a friend? We aren't told, and the reporter is supposed to disclose in the article any relationship or deny any relationship with the subject.

I have written about this parent before and how poorly he was treated by the district and police when last year he tried to attend a board meeting and was arrested. One can't defend the Washoe County School District over this. The district knew it was in the wrong and settled with him for a bit over 17 grand over its behavior. However, none of us knows what specific issues this parent has regarding his daughter, and we certainly don't have the teachers' and staff's points of view regarding this man. We don't know if he has personally threatened staff--a crime, by the way--and we never will know. Teachers especially are told to "shut up or else." The "or else" invariably means termination of a job. Teachers live in fear of such implicit or explicit threats by administrators.

There is no doubt in my mind all sides in this matter have been told by their attorneys not to get into specifics. Without the specifics, however, a reporter can't do a decent article about a situation like this.

The article never should have been written. It was designed to poison public opinion against a school district and its staff.

There are reasons to criticize this school district, but here we don't have enough information to go on to make an educated judgment. All we have are insinuations by a reporter who appears to be too close to the situation to write a fair article.


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