Cambridge Chronicle Unfair To State Senate Candidates?

Chris Moyer (an excellent former student of mine who now resides in – good lord! – Las Vegas) sent along this e-misssive the other day:

I came across a posting on the Cambridge Chronicle website that’s right up your (blog’s) alley:

http://blogs.wickedlocal.com/cambridge/2010/03/25/speakout-an-anonymous-persons-impression-on-the-state-senate-race/#comments

Does this strike you as journalism at its worst, or what?  To anonymously slander all but one candidate in that race is cowardly and the type of stuff you’d find in bathroom stalls, or, in the 21st century, in the “comments” section that follows any given online story.  I think this is an embarrassment to the Chronicle and should not go unnoticed. The only reason I even noticed this is because one of the candidates, Dan Hill, is my cousin; but that anonymous writer is an equal opportunity slanderer against all candidates but Flaherty.

Consider it noticed, Chris.

The Chronicle post:

SpeakOut: An anonymous person’s impression on the state Senate race

Hi, I guess my last message might have gone dead because my phone died. I was calling about the state senate candidate late last week.  I wanted to give my impression on the candidates.

First up we had Dan Hill from Charlestown who quite frankly was clueless both in terms of relations with people, and his ideas were quite frankly off the wall. I doubt if he will win Charlestown.

Next up was Dennis Benzan. Dennis is a decent guy, has a great story from Cambridge, but quite frankly doesn’t project in this race. It is hard seeing him winning Cambridge or anywhere else in the district.

Next is Denise Simmons. Denise is a wonderful lady, and did some good things here in Cambridge. Fact she may win Cambridge. But it’s hard seeing her doing much outside the district. She just didn’t have much specifics of and all the things she supposedly she did as mayor and city councilor. She didn’t mention the manager in any of those issues.

Next up was Michael Albano, son of State Sen. Sal Albano. Michael definitely has the passion for the seat but his solutions don’t really make much sense. His suggestion for solving property tax issues is a gradual income tax, which might be good, but it couldn’t happen for three or four years, if he had a ballot question. His second idea in terms of solving healthcare was a national public option, which isn’t going to happen either. Michael may do well in Chelsea, and Somerville, but it is hard seeing him winning the race.

The biggest disappointment for the night had to be Sal DiDomenico. For a guy who served as Anthony Galluccio’s chief of staff for a couple of years, he really didn’t have many specifics. He talked a lot in general. It is hard seeing him winning this.

Finally we had Tim Flaherty who is quite a good surprise for the evening. He was very articulate on the issues. He would be a real star if he got elected. That is my take. Thanks a lot.

The question is: Would the Chronicle have put this in its dead-tree edition? Or is the Web a whole nother matter?

I’ve forwarded this post to the editor of the Chronicle. I’ll keep you posted.

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2 Responses to Cambridge Chronicle Unfair To State Senate Candidates?

  1. David Harris says:

    Thanks for raising a reasonable question. To start, I think you need a little context. This is a blog post. It did not appear on our news site, WickedLocalCambridge.com or in the “dead tree” version, better known as the Cambridge Chronicle.

    SpeakOut is our long-running reader call-in line that actually predates the Web. We periodically post SpeakOuts on the blog that we believe might make for good conversation starters (and opportunities for rebuttals). We also often print SpeakOuts too, but won’t be in this case because there will be only week left before the primary by the time this runs and we are especially sensitive to giving campaigns a balanced playing field.

    The purpose of SpeakOut is to give people a different way to express their opinion. These people may not be able to write letters or they may be in a sensitive job that would be jeopardized if they do express their opinion. In this case, a person called our SpeakOut line to offer their take on the state Senate race. There’s really no way to know who this person is or what their motivation is (campaign official/volunteer/genuine political observer?), but this was an opinion expressed by one of our callers and — as long as it doesn’t verge into libel — I saw no real harm in including in along with all our other coverage of this campaign.

    I think it’s safe to say that the Chronicle, along with our sister paper the Somerville Journal, is devoting more resources to covering this special election than any other media entity. We’ve invited all seven candidate to meet with us and to answer a Q&A which we will be publishing April 8.

    So, yes, on its own that one blog post could be seen as “unfair” but as part of our entire coverage, I feel comfortable having posted it.

  2. Pingback: Campaign Outsider Outstanding Warrants (1) « Campaign Outsider

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