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Commentaries and editorials

Editorial Barrage Unprincipled

by John Roskelley
Spokesman-Review, December 11, 2009

One editorial on the city of Spokane's purchase of the YMCA is an opinion; two editorials on the same subject is an assault; but five negative, derogatory editorials on the YMCA purchase since July 2006 is an abuse of a bully pulpit.

By using its "power of the press," The Spokesman-Review wrote editorials to intimidate elected officials, denigrate citizen park volunteers, sway public opinion and drive public policy. As the sole source of daily news for greater Spokane, we rely on the paper's editorial staff to provide information with truth, fairness and balance, without a conflict of interest. They failed.

With these five malicious editorial attacks concerning the YMCA property, the Review's opinion editor broke one of journalism's cardinal sins - balance.

The question is why the editorial blitzkrieg? My guess is control -- if you can't own it, control it. The conservative, pro-developer owners of The Spokesman-Review, KHQ, Inland Paper, Centennial Properties, and much more, want some control over the Spokane City Council, particularly when it comes to downtown development. Monday's milquetoast City Council vote on the YMCA property is proof that editorial badgering and intimidation is an effective control of public officials.

John Roskelley, Spokane
Editorial Barrage Unprincipled
Spokesman-Review, December 11, 2009

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