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Monday, April 25, 2016

An Aggrieved Reporter

For John, BLUFWe do need the debate.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Following on the theme of items from The [Lowell] Sun and "The Column", here is an item on Lowell Resident and Freelance Reporter Ted Siefer.  Mr Siefer is the chap who wrote the recent article in Commonwealth Magazine, "Why whites control Lowell city government".  The sub-headline is "Voting system concentrates power in heavily white Belvidere".  That would be "The Belvidere".

At any rate, here is the item from "The Column":

A RECENT piece by Commonwealth magazine painted Lowell as a city dominated by whites serving in elected office, on the police force and in school leadership positions.

Many of the issues have been debated before, including resistance toward a system in which city councilors would be elected to represent wards throughout the city instead of at-large, and that a neighborhood like Belvidere has an outsized influence in elections because its residents vote at a much greater a rate than other sections of the city.

But the piece, headlined "Why Whites Control Lowell city government," struck a chord with many in the city, who found that the Lowell resident who wrote the piece had not voted in the past two city elections. It struck some, particularly those who didn't like the piece, as hypocritical.

Reporter Ted Siefer didn't vote in last year's city preliminary or general elections, nor in the two city votes in 2013, according to the Lowell elections office. Siefer voted in most state elections since he became an enrolled voter in Lowell in 2012.

Siefer, a freelance reporter, responded:  "What kind of newspaper, when approached by government officials who use their access to records to disclose personal information about a journalist who wrote a story they didn't like, regards that not as creepy, but as a legitimate journalistic pursuit and even helps the officials in their transparent attempt at retaliation?  My personal political behavior have (sic) ABSOLUTELY NO RELEVANCE to what I report on, as should be the case for every journalist."

I will talk about the article in a subsequent post, but for now I would like to address Mr Siefer's assertion that The [Lowell] Sun had to use access to "government officials".  There are records open to all, the voting rolls, which those of us with an interest buy from the Election Commission for some nominal sum ($20 I think, per Disk of data).  So, I went to my "Politics" folder on my MacBook Pro and opened the voter roles Excel file and found Mr Siefer, whose middle initial is B.  He is married and a Registered Democrat.  And, his State Rep is David Nangle.  What can I say?  It is out there.

And, yes, one's personal political behavior can have relevance in the reporting of an article.  Remember the New York Times Reporter, Mr Walter Duranty?  Didn't he pass up a genocide because his politics favored the powers that be?  The normal assumption is that personal political behavior has no relevance, but in this case that remains to be proven.  It is possible that Mr Siefer's politics are a lens through which he views Lowell.

By the by, the Siefer article is being hotly debated on Facebook, at "Lowell Liver Feed".  Amongst others, Jenn Myers posted the item (73 Comments).

And, there is some hope that LTC, the Lowell Telecommunications Corporation, will air a panel discussion on the magazine article.

Regards  —  Cliff

  One hopes that Mr Siefer meant Caucasian and had his copy changed by some clueless editor.
  That figures.  He writes like a Democrat who thinks that all politics is based on identity, rather than on ideology.  That is to say, they vote based upon race, ethnicity, etc, rather than on economic view or place of the Bill of Rights or other ideological factor.
  The line from the TV Show Jesse Stone is "the information is out there.  All you have to do is let it in." (Suitcase)

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