LETTER: Nelson Star opinion mislabelled as news

From reader Scott Burrows....

After reading yet another of your page three editorials mislabelled as News, I’m sharing a slice of advice given to me as a young reporter by an old salt at the Vancouver Province: “A good editor has to be tougher and smarter and fairer than his reporter.”

It’s good advice, no matter if you toil for a rag that steers right of centre, or a mile left, as is the case with our little Star, a bona fide hotbed of advocacy journalism, which is of course journalism dressed up and sold as something more than what it really is, which is lazy reporting compounded by indifferent editing in a pattern of obvious bias.

Wednesday’s piece quotes at length several of the protesters who recently gathered on Baker Street to complain about the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion and sign a petition circulated by NDP MLA Michelle Mungall, who gets eight of the 26 column inches to tout her brand and malign a political foe in Christy Clark.

Here’s the rub: If you want to attack conservative values by passing the megaphone to a special interest group, go ahead, but don’t play dumb and tag it News.

Real news requires an opposing viewpoint of equal weight, or at least an effort to contact somebody willing to provide one; without a counter element the reader is left with nothing but a self-serving, one-sided view of a complex issue (witness Will Johnson’s effort of July 21, in which our local citizens of colour were invited to scold their white neighbours for our “hatred” and “hostility” as part of a “dialogue on race” with no input from the hateful, hostile white folk, mind you; why complicate the narrative?)

For the record, I make my living in the traditional resource sector and I support the Kinder Morgan expansion, as do a great number of rational, responsible, hard-working Canadians, many of whom have settled in the Kootenays and together have poured millions of dollars into local economies and federal coffers, which, in turn, enable the rainbow of charitable organs and social welfare programs that prevail in these parts.

That said, I’m unoffended by those who stand opposed, and tolerant of their views.

My beef is with the Star.

If it’s news, call it news. If it isn’t, don’t.

To do so is to assume to know better than your readers, and that makes you look dumb.

Scott Burrows

Nelson

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