To the Valley News:
An interesting development has occurred in the race for Town Supervisor of Elizabethtown. Our very own Valley News has played a role in determining the outcome.
The issue involves two Letters to the Editor submitted prior to election day. Both came in to the Valley News the week before the election during a time which the Valley News announced it would print no more election letters.
The first was a letter from Barbara Dunsmore, of Lewis, containing accusations toward incumbent Supervisor, Noel Merrihew. His name is mentioned 3 times. The Valley News chose to print this letter a few days before the election.
The second letter was submitted by a Town Councilman in Elizabethtown, Michael McGinn. This letter addressed an issue involving the other candidate for Supervisor, Margaret Bartley, a Valley News employee. She writes for the Valley News. The Valley News also distributes a newsletter for Ms. Bartley which presumably she pays for. The McGinn letter was printed 2 days after the election.
Mr. McGinn was informed that his letter would not be printed prior to election day since it might be construed as political. I believe that’s the intent of all election letters, including the Dunsmore letter which was a follow-up to a prior voter appeal letter. Bartley’s name wasn’t mentioned in the McGinn letter, but property she owns has been enhanced by litigation against Essex County which has cost the taxpayers close to $100,000 as related to the Otis Bridge mess.
The impact on the election will never be known, but clearly the Valley News chose to allow a smear of one candidate, but deny an elected official equal time to report on an actual event involving the other candidate. Ask yourself if this is a representation of an unbiased press or was the Valley News protecting one of its own? Ms. Bartley is currently leading a close race.