Small Town, Big Smears, No Rebuttal Allowed

UPDATE: Yesterday, July 5, Publisher Jack Mitchell posted 
both my open letter and the Amador Fire press release online, 
and featured both links on the front page of the Ledger Dispatch. 
Thank you, Jack. 

Given the many questions posed in Mr. Frank Moreno's OpEd  
and by many others privately, I am calling on the Ledger 
Dispatch and its owner the Jackson Rancheria Band of Miwuk 
Indians to hire an independent investigative reporter, someone 
without personal connections to the people involved, to answer 
the "Who, what, where, when how and why" of this very 
important story. Fire safety is the single most important issue 
of our time in this rural county, and we deserve the best public 
service we can have. Certainly there are excellent reporters close 
by who have worked for McClatchy news' The Sacramento Bee 
who would be willing to take this on, or perhaps given the state 
implications, someone from CalMatters. 

Let your light shine, Ledger Dispatch. 

I'll say a bit more, please see my comments below.

UPDATE 10:15 AM July 4: Still nothing online as promised, 
except a second hit piece is featured. 

UPDATE JULY 3: Publisher Jack Mitchell tells me that my letter and 
the Press release from Amador Fire are both featured in today's July 3 
print paper. As soon as I can link to the stories I will revise this post.
 July 3, 2020
      From my Facebook page:  "Our local newspaper, the Ledger 
Dispatch is mounting a witch hunt and refuses to allow the entire 
story to be told. Such is the danger of living in a community that 
has only one news source. So I have published "Small Town, 
Big Smears, No Rebuttal Allowed" on my blog as it 
is the only means to provide the other side of the story.

Original Story:

I have written a lot over the years about the danger of 
relying on a single news source in one community, but for 
the first time, this has hit home with me.  

Jack Mitchell, the publisher of the only newspaper in 
Amador County, has engaged in a witch hunt against the 
Fire Chief of our local Fire Department. My readers who 
focus on media accountability will be shocked with his 
obvious bias and inattention to facts in his initial  
piece, to which I responded.  Rather than printing my 
open letter to the Board of Supervisors correcting the 
facts, he has doubled down with more accusations, yet 
he provides zero opportunity for comments or rebuttal. 

I am publishing my letter below, as this is the ONLY 
means I have to color in the picture made yellow by 
someone who apparently cares more about an agenda than facts. 
Will it reach as many people as his paper does? Doubtful. 
But you know what to do.


June 30, 2020 

An Open Letter to the Board of Supervisors
Dear Amador County Board of Supervisors,
I am writing to you in response to the many misstatements 
and unstated facts in Jack Mitchell's recent article about 
the Amador Fire Protection District in the Ledger Dispatch, 
especially the allegation that AFPD is trying to destroy 
volunteer fire fighting in this county. Here is what I know 
based on my personal dealings with Fire Chief Walt 
White and AFPD about volunteer staffing in Fiddletown.

Impeachment By Radio - The Elephant in the Room is NOT the GOP

February 14, 2020

     On October 24, 1998, a group of activists from across the United States gathered in Washington DC to protest the Ken Starr investigation into Bill Clinton in the first rally ever organized on the Internet.
     Darrell Hampton's umbrella group "We the People" was generally outraged at Starr's excesses; White House staffer Bob Weiner railed against Ken Starr for subpoenaing him for eating ice cream with a fellow Democrat; the fledgling group "Censure and MoveOn" (later to become was featured; and my "Truth in America Project" focused on the biased media promoting the investigation, media which had recently gained its dominance from the 1996 Telecommunications Act.

     We all understood the long drawn out Grand Jury investigation of Bill Clinton had found no crimes, and so Starr et al manufactured a perjury trap to have an excuse to impeach the President. As I said on the Ellipse in front of the White House, "Is it okay for a big government attorney to work with a private civil lawyer to see if they can figure out a way to get a man to lie about his sex life so they can prosecute him for it?"
     But what was just coming to light, and what has had a lasting damaging legacy, is the effect of the 1996 Telecommunications Act on our political landscape.
     Brief history: When radio and television were first invented, broadcast pioneers and government officials recognized that radio had the potential to entertain and inform, but when used improperly, also to brainwash a population. So Congress passed the 1934 Communications Act, which limited any one owner in the United States to owning just 9 stations nationwide: 3 AM radio stations, 3 FM radio stations, 3 TV stations. The thinking was that by having multiple local owners, no one person could dominate the (publicly owned) airwaves with political rhetoric.
     Ah, those were the days...

Fakebook: Zuckerberg's Hands-Off Political Ad Policy Undermines American Democracy Itself

October 25, 2019

$10 billion should buy a lot of fact-checking on his social media platform. Instead it empowers the fake news he claims to oppose...

     There has been a battle between Elizabeth Warren v. Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook since the social media giant started accepting incendiary paid advertisements from President Donald Trump in which his campaigns makes claims about former Vice President and Presidential candidate Joe Biden that are, to put it mildly, less than true.
     Recently, Warren, in a gutsy move, shot back with an ad that willfully lied about Zuck and Trump so she could make a valid point about Facebook's recent policy of allowing candidates' ads to run on Facebook without any vetting of facts.

     What is really at issue is whether laws developed for local broadcast licensees can --- or should --- apply to social media platforms and, really, whether any outlets should be allowed to make billions of dollars knowingly running ads that lie and purposely misinform the public.