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The Journal Gazette

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Wednesday, November 06, 2019 1:00 am

An open letter to Jason Arp

JULIE INSKEEP | The Journal Gazette

Congratulations on your reelection as the District 4 representative on Fort Wayne City Council. But, be assured, you did not “defeat The Journal Gazette,” as your recent campaign mailer called for.

Your large postcard featured you gripping a baseball bat and included, in capital letters, the phrase: “BEAT THE MEDIA.” There were four references to The Journal Gazette, the only media identified by name.

At best, it was disappointing and inappropriate, especially from an elected official. Do you not remember the murders of five staff members and the wounding of two others at The Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, just over a year ago? The alleged shooter in that case, angry with the newspaper's coverage, pleaded guilty to the shootings just last Monday.

Why would you tie your campaign message to the bat-wielding photo and language that not so covertly invited violence?

The Journal Gazette is a locally owned business, with many long-term staff members who live and work in this community. It takes its journalistic role in promoting community understanding very seriously. That goes for our news pages as well as our editorial and oped pages.

During the election cycle, the editorial board does make recommendations in local races. It is always our intent to inform and share our insights based on both our news-side coverage of the candidates, our observations and research, and our interviews with them.

This year, you did not respond to multiple requests to meet with our editorial board before the general election. You also did not respond to calls from a news reporter preparing an election preview story. All were opportunities we provided you to identify the issues you considered most important and to explain to our readers, many of whom are avid voters, your plans for addressing those issues.

We did ultimately support your opponent, Patti Hays. However, as part of our efforts to share many community perspectives on local issues, we have published more than a dozen commentaries you have submitted to us in the past four years, as well as others you coauthored.

We also have published a number of letters to the editor in support of you.

Because the mailer came so late in the campaign, we chose not to call you out prior to the election. Now that all votes have been cast, I need to say how disappointed I am that an elected official would use such an offensive and inaccurate characterization to promote himself.

 

Julie Inskeep is publisher of The Journal Gazette.