In order to maintain an illusion of neutrality, the media often employs what’s known as “he said, she said journalism.” They are often criticized for it. On the other hand, at least in this form of journalism both sides are heard from and given a platform for their goals and ideas. I’m certainly not fond of this approach. There are times when one side is clearly right and the other clearly wrong and yet the talking heads just shake their heads and go on to the next story.
When I read an article called “A Course Divided” in the October
Avon Life last week I
was surprised to see that another form of journalism existed: simply telling
half the story. The article began telling the story of the bond fight at Woods last
spring and devolved into a one-sided fluff piece about the overwhelming greatness
of our village told by the usual suspects, all of whom were either members or
former members of the Golf Club. And of course, the president of the boards and
a couple board members were quoted as well. Farmington
After reading the article I flashed back to a couple of Executive Board meetings after the bond vote when some board members wanted to hire a public relations firm to improve our image after the debacle they tried to impose on us. I’m not a PR man, but if I were, this article would be something I would have suggested, or even written to put a damper on the problem that golf presents for many residents of
Woods. And with the District Board
election coming up October 30, golf needs all the boost it can get. Farmington
I have one request. Before you read my letter, please read the article, if you haven’t already. I’m hoping I wasn’t too hard on Ms. Pollock, considering that Avon Life’s advertising consists largely of real estate ads and most articles have a positive spin with lots of smiling faces in the pictures. It is, after all, a lifestyle publication, not the NY Times.
Anyway, enjoy the article: http://www.lifepublications.
com/ , Avon edition, page 8. I’d like to add
that it was well written, as are all the articles I read by Ms. Pollock in the
publication. I probably shouldn’t fault her for not seeing this story for what
it really is, because if she did and reported it, she would probably be sending
out resumes this week. A person’s got to eat, you know.
HE SAID, SHE SAID, JOURNALISM
As someone who was actively involved in the $4M bond fight at Farmington Woods last spring I was disappointed to see that only one side of this important issue and historic vote was given a platform to express its views.
I am the individual who created the blog that the article states "attacked Dan Sullivan". I too, believe in the Constitution's First Amendment but as a retired teacher I also believe people deserve all the facts in order to make informed decisions.
That is the reason I started www.farmingtonwoodsinsider.blogspot.com back in March
In six months this micro-community blog has received 10K page views and posted a total of 63 articles written by myself and more than a dozen other contributors, most of whom prefer to remain anonymous for fear of social, or other sorts of retribution. So they write anonymously, which is really sad when you consider we live in the "land of the free, home of the brave":
With regard to the subject of this emaiI, I can only say that I would have been happy with that type of journalism. But in this case what I read didn't go that far. The people you quoted all represented one side, so I'm afraid that in this case you have failed in your mission "to give each........ party fair and equal representation" as stated on your editorial page.
I was going to avoid being critical in this email, but as another resident who read the article and wanted to respond said in an email: "I have had numerous editorial comments for the NY Times and The Hartford Courant published over the years, most political, but I'm not sure I can write this without emotion becoming a part of it".
Some of the facts left out of the story include: $50K of resident taxes spent to study a proposal that was turned down 2 to 1 with an historic 1,023 votes cast; a golf/clubhouse operation that has lost $1.3M over the last several years and continues to lose hundred of thousands of residents fees and taxes yearly, money that is then not available for improvements to the infrastructure of the community; the fact that most members of the Tax District Board (and the people you interviewed) are golfers or ex-golfers who think nothing of spending resident funds, in this case with an 18% increase in taxes for twenty years, for their entertainment; the fact that there are 89 resident golfers in a community of 1,084 homes and nearly 2,000 residents. It takes 300 members to break even on the course. We haven't had more than 200 members in years. And there's a lot more.
Since I've already exceeded the word limit of 300 for letters to the editor I may as well add to the total. I started the blog to counter the propaganda of the monthly magazine published by the Master Association, "In the Woods". In this month's issue there's a letter from a member of the golf committee. In it he characterizes non-golfing residents, whose fees and taxes have supported this losing operation for years, for a course that we're constantly told we own, as having a "feeling of entitlement" for asking for at least some time to walk the course they pay for. I think they call that projection in Psych 101.
As someone who appreciates a catchy title, I liked yours. "A Course Divided" is definitely creative and aptly named due to the fact that the article itself left out one half of the story: words from the people who fought vigorously to defeat a multi-million dollar boondoggle that would have locked us into a losing proposition for 20 years. As a result, it ends up being exactly what it says it is, divided.
Please excuse the long winded nature of this email, but this story is not really about the long-term survival of Farmington Woods. In the end it won't be Farmington Woods that goes bankrupt as our President likes to say; it will be the so-called "self-entitled" residents who will pay the price and face financial tragedy because of a selfish few. Probably something that isn't news worthy anyway.
E. Lee Lagasse, Chair
Woods Residents for Fiscal Responsibilty Farmington