In the October 17 2018 edition of the Valley Gazette, Councillor Ernie Peplinski published an advertisement headed “Beware of the truth twisters.” It reproduced and endorsed several of the comments published in previous Valley Gazette editorials concerning “fake news” and “blogs.” As was the case with the Gazette articles, his advertisement has been construed as questioning the truthfulness and ethics of The Current. The Current therefore wrote Peplinski this email:
Dear Councillor Peplinski,
The Current’s attention has been drawn to your advertisement appearing on page 22 of today’s Valley Gazette.
In it you refer to and endorse comments made by the Gazette relating to what you describe as “false and destructive propaganda” and “packaging opinions and turning them into what looks like fact, then broadcasting these opinions into “news” segments and deliberately trying to influence constituents.”
Some of our readers have drawn the conclusion that your comments are thinly veiled attacks on The Current, a conclusion that many drew from the Gazette’s original editorials.
You might care to note the following:
1. I have today received a letter from Mr. Lavigne, in response to a letter I had written to him, in which he confirms that he did not intend the comments in the Gazette to apply to “The Mad Valley Current blog” and he will be publishing a clarification.
2. Any and all objections (and there have been very few) to the accuracy of The Current have been published under the applicable Comments section and responded to. For the record, The Current has never received any communication from you.
3. In addition, as we make obvious in all of our articles or opinions particularly if they discuss contentious issues, we identify the grounds upon which we rely for that content. Note also the articles that we publish, where applicable, give the subjects two opportunities to respond; i.e., before and after publication. We repeat, we have never received any communication from you.
4. If, as you appear to want the readers of your advertisement to believe, you have identified examples of “truth twisters” then you owe a duty to the voters of this community to make full disclosure, and furthermore, to say what has been “twisted” and why. Otherwise, it appears to be your position that if it is not in the Valley Gazette, it should not necessarily be believed.
I’m sure Mr. Lavigne agrees, and a copy of this email is being sent to him, that it is not in the interests of the voters of this community that they should be asked to rely on such serious imputations from a candidate when you provide not one iota of corroboration for the accusations you make.
The Current agrees that if this sort of thing is happening, then voters should be given sufficient information to know what it is that they are being invited to believe, or not to believe, as the case may be. The Current therefore invites you to identify the “truth twisters” that you are warning the public about, and specifically what has been published that justifies that description, and why. Upon receipt of this, The Current will, in the public interest, publish the information that you provide.
Please let us have a reply to this email by no later than noon tomorrow, Thursday October 18 2018, which is when we intend to publish an article concerning your “warning” which will include this letter.
Finally, please confirm that, as you have endorsed the Gazette’s original comments, you too now accept that they do not apply to The Madawaska Valley Current.
Roger Paul, Publisher
The Madawaska Valley Current
Peplinski had not responded to it by the deadline. If any reply is received, The Current will immediately post it.
Update for readers: Note that Mr. Lavigne’s clarification was published on page 6 of the Valley Gazette, October 17 2018 issue.