EDITORIAL: Presenting fair and balanced news during an election

By on November 3, 2016
Yucaipa Daily News February 24, 2015

It has been brought to our attention that the Yucaipa News Mirror is presenting a rather one-sided approach to their coverage of the candidates for Yucaipa City Council’s District 5. This is disconcerting and merits journalistic exposure.

The News Mirror has presented multiple articles covering (and endorsing) Dick Riddell for his umpteenth term as a city councilman.  But the same courtesy has not been awarded to his challenger Judge Robert Fawke.  Judge Fawke is a viable candidate. He is a long-time resident of Yucaipa and served San Bernardino County since 1987 as an attorney, Municipal Court judge, trial judge, Master Calendar judge and later as a San Bernardino County Superior Court.  He knows government, finance, crime and law enforcement, and, most importantly, how to work cooperatively with people to get things accomplished.

Of special concern is a recent letter received by this publication from Attorney Gregory H. Kassel of Kassel and Kassel in San Bernardino.  Attorney Kassel shared with us that he had submitted a letter to the Yucaipa News Mirror endorsing Judge Fawke, which they promised they would print. However, in spite of Attorney Kassel’s many efforts to have the letter printed, it has not occurred. In frustration, Kassel has submitted the letter to us, as follows:

“I have known Judge Robert Fawke for over 35 years.  Judge Fawke is running for city council.  He has excellent moral character, exhibits the utmost integrity, and honesty.  He will be an excellent addition to city council. I am looking forward to having new restaurants, theaters, and high quality department stores in the immediate area without exhibiting over growth. I am looking forward to eliminating High Occupancy Toll lanes or any costly toll roads.  We do not want anything that slows traffic down or costs money.  It is without hesitation that I endorse Judge Robert Fawke to bring in a new perspective for Yucaipa.”

It is the duty of the media to maintain at least some semblance of journalistic integrity in presenting balanced coverage of issues and candidates for upcoming elections.  To blatantly favor one candidate over another calls into question the very basics taught to underclassmen in journalism classes.  When this happens the media in question becomes nothing more than a shill for the candidate and loses all journalistic fairness and integrity.  To wit, the newspaper should be charging the candidate for advertising for all the free coverage and space he has received.

As for the coverage provided the Yucaipa City Council candidates for the current campaign we have strived to practice what we preach.  Four of the six city council candidates have cooperated with our efforts to provide fair and balanced coverage of the issues and the stances of each candidate; two of the candidates did not cooperate in spite of numerous phone calls, messages and emails reaching out to include them in our coverage of the three city council seats up for election next Tuesday. Without a candidate’s cooperation we are totally handicapped in presenting their views and comments on the issues.

Moving forward, the Yucaipa Daily News will be running the letters we have received, thus far, for the upcoming city council race in the next few days.  We will also be presenting our endorsements for the candidates in the three districts up for election.  Should anyone wish to submit a letter in support of a candidate to this publication we will include it so long as it is no longer than 125 words, with content presented in a fair and appropriate manner (no profanity, name-calling, etc.) and is received no later than noon on Monday, Nov. 7, 2016.

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