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Editor responds to critics

A Column by the Editor
web posted April 22, 2010
COLUMN – It is nice to see that another Letter to the Editor complaining about the editors personal opinions on the fiscal matters of our county government made the local papers, but not Edgefield Daily. With more important issues facing our county residents such as our county operation budget coverage, lack of emergency response vehicles, child molesters, crime, and burglaries - responding to the two opinions was far down on the list of priorities. However, I will take time out to respond and say that everyone is welcome to his or her opinion. However, the news is the news and opinions are just that, opinions.

It is true that Ray Brooks, President of Piedmont Tech sent his letter to the editor to Edgefield Daily and it was refused for publication. It was refused due to our standing policy that as the county’s only daily news outlet we do not publish articles, opinions, or other news that has already been published in our local weekly papers. We will place an embargo on an item, release, or story to coincide with publications in the local papers, but we will not publish anything already submitted and published by other news organizations.

Since Mr. Brooks intentionally waited until after the letter was accepted and printed by one minor publication before sending it to Edgefield Daily the letter was rejected due to standing policy and Mr. Brooks was advised as to why the letter would not appear. If he is misleading others on why the letter was not published he is not being honest.

To one of Mr. Brooks’ many misrepresentations he presented is the fact that Mr. Bill Klauber did state, and was accurately quoted, that if the Edgefield County Council did not restore funding to the 2008-2009 funding level Piedmont Tech would close its Edgefield Campus. Mr. Brooks denies that fact and claims Edgefield Daily misquoted, or in his words “misrepresented”, the content of the meeting.

I can assure you that quotes are accurate as Edgefield Daily digitally records every word spoken at the meetings and uses the recording to provide exact quotes in our news reports and is the only news agency in the county to do so.

Furthermore, Mr. Klauber made the same statement again at the April 20 budget workshop meeting of the county council when advised that funding was going to be restored to the current fiscal year level of funding of $42,908. Klauber said Piedmont Tech would accept the money and still close the Edgefield Campus.

In an earlier opinion I stated that it was basically a threat, the county would fork over the money or Piedmont would close the Edgefield campus. I feel that was an accurate depiction when Klauber presented an “either or” ultimatum then, and doing so now for a second time just enforces the ultimatum, which I will continue to take as a “threat”.

Mr. Brooks also called me a liar when he stated I wrote in an opinion, not a news report, that I was approached by a staff member of PTC in Edgefield after the April 6 county council meeting. Since Mr. Brooks cannot get his facts straight on what his own representative said at a meeting he attended, he has no clue as to whom I spoke with unless he is all knowing and all seeing. I think that job is already taken.

The woman approached me and we had our discussion. A third person listening to the conversation stated to me afterwards that the conversation “looked fun”. I made a comment that it was not “fun” and I did not know who the woman was, only to be told she worked for Piedmont Tech.

That, Mr. Brooks, is not a lie, and it is you who are misleading people, not me.

Then along comes John D. Culbertson with his letter to the editor on Wednesday claiming that “a blogger” is attacking Piedmont Tech and that I (presumably) refuse to have an honest debate on the subject because Edgefield Daily refused to publish Mr. Brooks’ letter. Perhaps he might want to use the same claim of bias against the Edgefield Advertiser who refused to print my single sentence response to Mr. Brooks’ letter that was published in their paper but allowed Culbertson’s a near half page letter.

In addition, Mr. Culbertson sent his letter to the papers that never published any of the opinions he complains about and not to Edgefield Daily where the opinions were published.

Their readership reaches less than 4,000 readers a month. Edgefield Daily reaches 25,000 readers each month. It would seem logical to place his opinion where it would reach the highest number of readers, not the least.

I challenge Mr. Brooks and Mr. Culbertson to find a single statement in any news report published by Edgefield Daily that is factually incorrect. As far as the editor’s opinions, they are formed on the facts contained in the reports and recordings of public meetings and available documentation which are readily available to anyone.

Mr. Culbertson goes on to constantly refer to Edgefield Daily as a “blog”, and not a news agency. A ploy used by the likes of Bettis Rainsford and others who do not like factual reporting of the events that take place in Edgefield County government and those who are involved in the decisions, in public or behind the scenes.

Edgefield Daily has independent media credentials that can be verified. Perhaps Mr. Culbertson should “fact check” his own statements before he makes them.

In closing, Mr. Culbertson makes the tired and already disproved claim that I write reader comments in the Wandering Minds. To Mr. Culbertson, it seems, anyone who does not agree with him must be fictional. Imagine that.

Fortunately that is not the case. Edgefield Daily allows anonymous comments from readers as well as all online media outlets from the Augusta Chronicle to the New York Times.

What the once powerful few in the political elite in Edgefield despises is that Edgefield Daily gives those who were previously afraid to make their opinions known the ability to make their views available without retribution from the very same people they fear.  

Freedom comes from the political class fearing the general public. Tyranny comes from the political class threatening the layperson not to challenge their power.

Edgefield Daily stands in their way by giving a voice to the otherwise silent majority and therefore becomes the target of hate directed at me as the editor, Edgefield Daily, and the people who may disagree with them. I have no problem being the lightening rod for everyone else.

This same opinion will be submitted to the area papers for publication.

For all past articles please visit our Archives

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WEBNEWS –  Send in your favorite or favorites. There is no limit to the number of recipes you can send in. With the Editor’s wife being the driving force behind her own personal section, help her create an exchange of local favorites, home cooking, grilling, sauces, and deserts!  Send in your submissions here.