Gary Peterson letter: WDAY, Forum bias turns up once again
A number of years ago The Forum editors called for a boycott of Pelican Rapids, Minn., merchants because, they opined, the school district was being unfair to North Dakotans and other nonresident owners of lakeshore property within the school dis...
A number of years ago The Forum editors called for a boycott of Pelican Rapids, Minn., merchants because, they opined, the school district was being unfair to North Dakotans and other nonresident owners of lakeshore property within the school district. Yes ... this really happened. Now that same bias towards the school district turns up again.
It's time to ask "Why?"
The obvious answer is that the powers-to-be at The Forum-WDAY-TV combine apparently believe that the school district is still taking advantage of nonresident property owners, North Dakotans or otherwise, in asking that they pay a fair share of school district costs. And since the state of Minnesota has assumed school district operating costs, the attacks now are aimed at capital outlay proposals: building projects funded by borrowing.
The latest demonstration of bias appeared May 11, the day before Pelican Rapids school district voters headed to the polls to decide the fate of a proposed $33 million bond issue. On that day, editors decided to devote a prominent portion of The Forum's editorial page to a headlined article urging voters to reject the plan. The timing was obviously deliberate, making it impossible to refute the charges made in the article, or to publish an opposing view: point-counter-point.
WDAY's television reporting was no better, making it clear that the proposal would be detrimental to those same nonresident lakeshore property owners: "86 percent of the money (for repayment of the bonds) will come from outside Pelican Rapids," the screen declared to viewers.
Never mind that by far the largest share of the district - 86 percent? - and, of course, its assessed valuation, lies outside Pelican Rapids.
The Forum claims to be our "regional newspaper" and WDAY-TV reminds us over and over again that it is "The News Leader." To make either claim believable, both media outlets are going to have to demonstrate a degree of fairness which Pelican Rapids has not seen to this point.
Pelican Rapids, Minn.