Ithaca Blog

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Ithaca's Newspapers Fail Civics Test

The primary election for Town Supervisor is over. Herb Engman defeated incumbent Cathy Valentino with over 80% of the vote.

Ms. Valentino expressed her congratulations to Mr. Engman. She also expressed disappointment in the turnout: about 25% of eligible voters.

25% is actually about normal for a primary vote in an off-year election. But a contributing factor, and the greater reason for disappointment, is the refusal of either the Ithaca Journal or the Ithaca Times to endorse a candidate, presumably for fear of displeasing anyone.

Newspapers have a responsibility to express opinions, along with reporting facts. We're sorry Ms. Valentino didn't take the opportunity to make that point in expressing her disappointment about the voter turnout. A newspaper's unwillingness to take a stand in an election is no doubt a factor in low voter interest, just as failure to write stories would be.

The failure of Ithaca's newspapers to endorse candidates and positions is tantamount to a citizen's failure to vote. We hope to hear from Ithaca's political and community leadership about our newspapers' dereliction of duty.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

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