Monday, August 11, 2008

Spin, spin, spin at the Monitor?

I was busy with family stuff this weekend so I didn't have time to post a lot.
However, even though it is days later, I'm still annoyed by the Concord Monitor's spin about the recent city manager's report about conflicts and abuse of power, and how the reporter and her editors once again missed the bigger story.
To start, the story should have been how City Manager Tom Aspell released an incomplete report, as noted on our site: ["Aspell issues incomplete report"].
Believe it or not, that is the story. Aspell was directed by the Council to investigate a slew of accusations against former City Councilor - and now County Attorney candidate - Kathy Rogers. Instead, Aspell investigated the single leftover matter tabled by the Rules Committee - and ignored the rest. Whether he did this out of malice or not, we won't speculate. But he totally screwed up. Pure and simple.
Instead of getting the story right, the Monitor spins the story, making it look as if Aspell has uncovered some amazing revelations: ["City clears CCTV of playing politics"].
Of course, even this story is incomplete because Aspell never bothered to talk Rick Watrous or anyone else connected to the story who hasn't been trying to suffocate the story.
There are two things that are surprising about all of this: 1) that the Monitor and Aspell seem to be on the same page but everyone else in the community - and even some elected officials - are shocked that Aspell did an incomplete job; and 2) that the Monitor got the story right months ago: ["City to examine CCTV allegations"].
So, how could the Monitor get the story totally wrong? Did the reporter even bother to look at the previous story? True, there are two different reporters working on the story. Maybe there were even different editors editing the material. But, anyone looking at the 10-page report - beyond the first two pages - would see that Aspell totally ignored the directive.
Thankfully, the reporter allowed Watrous to be quoted and got at least some part of the truth out. But more than likely, everyone in town who saw the Monitor's headline continues to think that there is no story here or that Watrous is crazy and he isn't. There is a story here and Watrous is dead-on correct at trying to uncover it and seek some justice for himself.
At tonight's Council meeting, the report will be considered. Hopefully, councilors will do the right thing and tell Aspell to go back and follow the original directive. Or, they could just bury it, which is something they have done in the past. Whatever happens, here's hoping councilors follow through and do the right thing and here's hoping that the Monitor will follow up this story with a correct version of what happened.

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