Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Arrogance and a Partial Story

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Arrogance and a Partial Story

Article excerpt

Byline: Wayne Ezell

A recent news story that ran on Page B-4 caused some confusion and illustrated two problems endemic to newsrooms: arrogance and inflexibility.

In this case, the linchpin on which the story depended did not exist, according to the primary source, a legislator.

The story was basically wrong, the source said, but her efforts to set the record straight were unsuccessful.

This from the May 31 story: "Some local state representatives would like to have town hall meetings to discuss whether Jacksonville should reopen Cecil Field as a Navy jet base.

"They hope Mayor John Peyton would be open to letting the Westside and others discuss the opportunity ..." the story said.

"Peyton and the City Council rushed to support bringing the base here last year, only to pull the plug on the plan when Westsiders voiced opposition to reopening the base, said state Rep. Jennifer Carroll, R-Green Cove Springs."

The story quoted Carroll as saying, "There needs to be a clear and honest dialogue." It also reported Carroll said she would "contact the mayor and try to establish town hall meetings on the subject."

Here's the rub: Carroll said she never advocated town hall meetings to reopen discussions. She did contact The Mayor's Office, but it was to ask whether the mayor had changed his mind about the Navy and Cecil.

In an e-mail she said the reporter told her that city officials were "still in favor of opening Cecil Field as a Navy base and it was the city's to lose," and the reporter asked her what she thought of that.

"My response was that ... this issue cannot be shoved down the residents' throats ... that the mayor must enter into several dialogues with the residents that will be impacted and that the mayor will have to have several town hall meetings to listen to residents.

"I never stated that the mayor needs to have town hall meetings to revisit the idea of opening the base," she said, adding that her comments were based solely on "the reporter's premise that this is an idea floating with the mayor and City Council." She asked for the record to be set straight.

The metro editor declined. …

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