Monday, December 3, 2012

Chipman: Freeman Wrong on Landfill Remarks

Well, that certainly didn't take long. Town of Rochester Supervisor Carl Chipman says that he never said he was in favor of siting a landfill in the town, and that the statement Freeman reporter Patricia Doxsey attributed to him was misconstrued by the paper.

And I think Chipman has a point. His statement was that he is "willing to talk" about using the Town of Rochester as a potential landfill site. That's very different than being "open" to the town hosting the landfill, as the Freeman's very misleading headline suggests.

But don't blame Patricia Doxsey. She's actually one of the few good reporters in our area. And there doesn't appear to be anything misleading in the text of the article itself, so she did her job.

The sensational headline, however, certainly got them some clicks, even though it was actually false. And, as headlines are almost always written by editorial staff, this screw-up is on Doxsey's bosses, not her. And there is no other way to parse this one. Chipman didn't say what the headline attributes to him. The paper published a false headline in order to generate web traffic.

I'm no fan of Chipman's right-wing politics, but this was bad journalism by the Freeman. And this could (and often does) happen to Democrats, so push-back against this kind of thing is a worthy endeavor.

The Freeman should print a correction and apologize to Chipman.

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