A Tale of Two Town Halls Highlights A New Media Bias
There was a District 33 Town Hall on Monday night in Severna Park. What happened at that Town Hall, though, seems to be up for interpretation.
This morning left-wing propaganda outfit The Arundel Patriot posted a glowing review of the forum, put on by a group called W.I.S.E. (Women Indivisible Strong and Effective). W.IS.E is a left wing group that “was born out of the Women’s March on Washington DC, a sense of anger and a feeling that we could not stand by and watch our country move backwards.” The Arundel Patriot was part of the event, livestreaming the forum. The issues were standard left-wing fare including, bizarrely, a discussion about net neutrality even though that is not a state issue.
Here’s how the author, Moira Buttner-Schnirer, characterized the proceedings:
The evening was characterized by a cordial exchange which delved deeply into a number of issues. Participants were encouraged to share their agreement or disagreement with green and red “thumbs up and thumbs down” signs, allowing the debate to continue while recognizing strong differences of opinion within the audience and between the audience and the representatives on several issues including a woman’s right to make her own reproductive decisions, something all four representatives said the were ardently against.
The WISE women who hosted the event, proposed some basic rules of engagement for the evening, and underlined the need for all participants to set a tone consistent with WISE’s organizational principles of inclusion, diversity, respect and evidence-based debate. In doing so, Arundel Patriot photo editor Peter Cane suggested they had set “a new gold standard,” in the County for such meetings. WISE announced its intention to support more information exchanges with elected officials, including a WISE Candidate’s Commitments Template in the run up to the 2018 elections.
That glowing review of this event was not shared by everybody, however. North County Republican Club Past President David Zwald posted this review over at the club’s Facebook page:
Many of our Club members attended the Townhall for District 33 this evening held at Woods Memorial Church.
I, for one, was very disappointed with the moderation of this event, sponsored by W.I.S.E. Women. The introductions of the Delegates included negative commentary about the Delegate’s voting records. People were allowed to go on, well over their time limits. Two people were allowed 4 followup questions each which were more statement than questions.
It was also very unwarranted to allow 2 people to criticize an elected official who was not present. Both speakers made allegations about that official which were taken out of context. Now, THAT is rude, something the moderator claimed she didn’t want.
And what took the cake for me was the hypothetical question about conversion therapy. My goodness. How can these gentlemen be expected to give a meaningful answer? This was not even an issue discussed by the legislature!
Having said my piece, I wish to conclude by complementing the organizers on their efforts to attract a large audience and to pull off this ambitious event in an attempt to improve the dialogue with citizens. And many thanks to Delegates Tony McConkey, Sid Saab, Michael Malone and Senator Ed Reilly for their gracious, clear answers and their hard work representing we, the citizens.
In a follow up comment, Zwald noted: There were several times the microphones were cut off if our legislators went over their 2 minutes, however when the “non-partisan” WISE women went over their 1 minute time in which to ask a question, nothing happened. And they were permitted to ask many follow up questions even though there was a rule about that too.
To read it, Buttner-Schnirer and Zwald attended two different forums.
One reason that I share these stories with you is to note the proliferation of new “media” outlets that are popping up that are purporting to be non-partisan. The Arundel Patriot says: “We believe that a free and robust press is a hallmark of American patriotism. In that mode, The Arundel Patriot is produced by crowd sourcing and crowd funding in order to fuel Anne Arundel County’s vibrant democracy.” However, take a look at some of the stories that they are running:
- A glowing story about people urging Governor Hogan to not veto the sick leave bill;
- Noted Democrat Carl Snowden is given a prominent position as a “featured writer”;
- A story relitigating County Councilman Michael Peroutka’s past activities, covering ground that we at Red Maryland were covering three years ago.
Based on the social media feeds of the two organizations, it would not be hard for one to come to the conclusion that W.I.S.E. and the Arundel Patriot are linked.
The issue, of course, is not with the Arundel Patriot having a point of view; it’s the fact that it pretends not to. While outlets like Red Maryland and others, both right and left, do not hide their political biases, this new-fangled outfit is trying to become a left-wing propaganda arm while pretending to be unbiased and non-partisan. Based on the number of articles
Something to think about as we head towards 2018.