Stephen Fox: Paper should apologize to Hadley voters

Published: 5/22/2020 1:50:00 PM
Modified: 5/22/2020 1:49:48 PM

I am writing this letter to express my dismay at an “article” that appeared on the front page of the Gazette on Wednesday, May 13, headlined “Candidates spending talk of the town.”

The story concerned Hadley’s town election on Saturday, May 16. Let me say up front that I do not live in Hadley, nor do I personally know any of the candidates who ran for the position on the Select Board. I did not have a dog in this hunt.

I will say that as a supporter of democracy and honesty in elections, I was disturbed to find a supposed news piece on the front page about one of the candidate’s spending, which upon further review should have been printed on the Opinion page. To print an article like this three days before the election took place made me wonder what the motivation the Gazette writer and his editor had in publishing this piece.

The candidate in question, who everyone I spoke to from Hadley says is an independent businesswoman who is very generous to her church and town, apparently spent more of her own funds than the other candidates.

As far as I know, Hadley currently has no laws or bylaws putting a limit on spending by candidates. I recognize and agree with the fact that there should be limits on campaign spending to prevent people from “buying” elections, but that is something that the residents of Hadley need to decide to act on and enact if they so choose. They have not to this point.

Therefore, while it may be subject to gossip and insinuation by parties with conflicting viewpoints, it is not illegal, immoral or unethical. What if the article had been written questioning why a person of an advanced age, or people who are youthful, would want to run for this office? Why is questioning a person’s status deemed by the author to be worthy of a news article?

I remember feeling that that FBI Director James Comey did a disservice to democracy by announcing a reopening of an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails just before the 2016 election. I have that same feeling now. Regardless of one’s politic leanings, elections should be about issues, not personalities.

I think the editor of the Gazette owes the town of Hadley and the candidate an apology for presenting opinion and gossip as news.

Stephen Fox

South Hadley




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