OIB poster Andy Fardy isn’t bashful about expressing his point of view, be it blowtorching government power or questioning media responsibility. The retired city firefighter often takes a hose to the establishment. In this commentary he expresses frustration about what he says is the Connecticut Post “failing to do its job” as a community watchdog with an emphasis on “feel-good stories.” Of course, if you talk to supporters of Mayor Bill Finch, they’ll tell you there’s not enough emphasis from the Post on feel-good stories. So it goes. Remember the airport land deal that cost the city more than $500K? The Post broke that story. Still, the role a newspaper plays in a community is always an intriguing topic. What say you? From Fardy:
Here is a brief description of the responsibilities of a newspaper. The newspaper has a responsibility to its readers, its shareholders, its employees and its advertisers. However, the operation of a newspaper is a public trust and its overriding responsibility is to the society it serves. The newspaper plays many roles: A watchdog against evil and wrongdoing, an advocate for good works and noble deeds and an opinion leader for its community. The newspaper should paint a representative picture of its diverse communities, to encourage the expression of divergent views and be accessible and accountable to its readers whether rich or poor, weak or powerful, minority or majority
The Connecticut Post is failing to do its job. I was always of the opinion a newspaper’s job was to report events to the citizens of the area they publish and newspapers were an effective tool used to keep elected officials in line and to report to the citizens what is going on in government.
I never thought newspapers were in place to report only feel-good stories but it seems I was wrong. The Connecticut Post seems to have concentrated its reporting on feel-good stories such as what was displayed in the paper yesterday. The paper dispatched a reporter and photographer to cover a plan offered by council person James Holloway. This coverage showed yellow flags that are to be used by pedestrians when crossing the street. These little flags cost the city $1,000. I asked a few council people and none of them remember voting for this expenditure of funds.
When citizens approached the Post seeking coverage on a Tip program where people could contact the police anonymously about any type of crime, the Post said nor did they write anything about the tip program.
In recent times the Post was given information of monetary irregularities that created a giant slush fund from which politicians can spend millions of dollars without accounting to the council for this unauthorized spending. The Post’s investigative reporters were shown how the budget and appropriations committee allowed unfilled positions to be funded along with benefits for two consecutive years; this amounted to $11,000,000 city officials could spend as they saw fit. This information and proof was brought to the Post at a meeting. Nothing was ever printed on ghost positions and the spending of the allotted monies.
Recently the Post obtained records from the city that showed how the council illegally spent city funds. Fifteen of the council people made charitable donations in the amount of $30,000-plus. The paperwork also shows council people charging shopping bills at Stop&Shop 51 times, the paperwork also shows cable bills were paid with city funds by council members. We showed paperwork that proved our allegations to the Post.
We brought this information and paperwork that proved our allegations to the Post and we were told they would get their own paperwork and were not interested in seeing our paperwork. Well the Post did get their paperwork from the city more than two weeks ago and still not a word written about this abuse and possible crime. I challenge anyone to tell me the last time the Post did an investigative article on city hall.
Without an honest, fair and objective newspaper, a city or town’s residents are left in the dark about things that are going on in their city or town. I suggest the editors of the Post look up the responsibilities of a newspaper.