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By Chris Frost
Oxnard-- Well, folks, I hope you all had a great Valentine's Day and lots of fun with your loved ones. Me, well, I worked, so let me take a minute and clear my head since things are rattling around in my mind.
Let's start with an email I received this week from a reader who called me out about a recent interview I did with Oxnard City Manager Alex Nguyen over pre-recording meeting presentations for the council and public to watch outside of the meeting. Nguyen doesn't like it, he thinks it hurts the city and makes it less transparent, and he's not bashful about it.
The reader sent me an email asking me if I had a disagreement with Aaron Starr, which is why I would write a negative story about him like I am a grade school student trying to get even with Starr and punish him. He went on to say that he likes the new video format. The bottom line is that Nguyen has the right to express his displeasure about the change, and I am responsible for publishing his views as a public official. This issue has two sides, thank you, and reading both sides make you more informed.
Obviously, this reader doesn't understand what I do for a living. I do not take sides ever. My job is to present every side of every story without judgment so the reader can decide how they feel. Now I know there are plenty of news organizations that don't follow that rule and are more like propaganda artists rather than journalists, but that will never be me. During the election cycle, Mr. Starr got a lot of coverage, and I presented his views in detail. If you're not looking, I include everything in the paper, and I never prescribe to formula, get in and get out journalism. A good paper informs, educates, enlightens, and engages readers, so the fact that the reader took the time to ask me an inappropriate question means I’m doing my job. As you know, I'm a New Yorker, and I never back down from a controversial story or an argument. I know free speech is under attack these days, but it isn't at the Sentry.
If you don't believe me, look at Facebook and what they do to people. I tried a little experiment at home with the J-Train this week to see what would happen. She was talking to someone, and I kept interjecting in the conversation that independent fact-checkers dispute that statement. Here's a tip; if you say that, you'll be in trouble. I told the J-Train's friend that she and I were planning on a pleasant evening at home, and the J-Train said, independent fact-checkers dispute that statement. Remember that the next time you applaud a fact-checker.