Editor unrepentant; Press Council complaint issue continues?

“By stating that “We stand by our decision and the policy behind it, but we are interested in hearing your opinion on the issue”, Ms. Kelly is soliciting public support (vindication?) for her position by using biased, partial quotes, which did not form part of my OPC (Ontario Press Council) complaint of February 8th, or of my prepared statement to the OPC panel to be used at the hearing.”

The following is the text of an email I sent to the Ontario Press Council earlier today expressing my dissatisfaction with an article written by Debora Kelly, the York Region Media Group’s Editor-In-Chief, who is responsible for all local newspapers coming within the Group’s purview.

Her article commented on the OPC’s June, 2013, finding in my favour, reported on in earlier posts to my website.  In my opinion, her commentary on the OPC’s decision misrepresents the nature of my complaint, and then uses the misleading information to seek public input in support of her unrepentant attitude.

I have requested that the OPC review this matter, and am awaiting their response.

“Dear…:

Reviewing the Ontario Press Council rules, I see that “If a complaint is upheld, the media organization is obligated to publish a fair account of the decision and the text of the adjudication in the paper.”

I do not believe that Debora Kelly’s account is in fact fair.

I sent an initial complaint to York Region Media Group (YRMG) at the end of last year, and a second complaint to the Ontario Press Council (OPC) on February 8th. I subsequently sent a “prepared statement” to you by email, at your request, on May 29th.

Ms. Kelly’s quotes that “Not doing so “unjustly besmirch(ed) the White residents of York Region and elsewhere, who are being blamed by inference for the actions of a Black man who pretended to be White”, and “We did this, he said, “to avoid spoiling a propaganda vehicle for politically correct, anti-white sentiment”, do not appear in either my February 8th complaint, or my May 29th statement to you.

Anyone reading her article will believe that the above quotes formed part of my complaint to the OPC. And her publishing the text of the OPC’s decision will not dispel that impression, as your published decision is in summary form.

In fact, those comments were made in an email I sent to her on April 23rd, in response to a communication from her to me in which she said, among other things, that my complaint to YRMG had never been received.

I believe her use of these quotes to be additionally misleading in that both are “partial” quotes. The full paragraphs read as follows:

“My overall concern is that you have misrepresented the events which took place, and that you have done so in such a manner as to unjustly besmirch the White residents of York Region and elsewhere, who are being blamed by inference for the actions of a Black man who pretended to be White in order to cause hurt to someone, to mislead the police and the public, and to conceal his involvement.”

And, “By ‘re-visiting’ the issue and not referring to this key fact, I believe that ‘yorkregion.com’ has lied by omission in order to avoid spoiling a propaganda vehicle for politically-correct, anti-white sentiment. This is both dishonest and potentially dangerous, in that falsely inflating alleged “white racism” could have lead to breaches of the peace.”

This leads the reader to think that I simply made accusations, without providing any argument in support.

My May 29th email to you referred to the “political correctness” issue as follows: “Whether or not Metroland/York concealed the truth in order to protect a politically-correct agenda is a matter for speculation, but I feel that they were complicit in jeopardizing black/white relations by failing to be forthright after the facts had been established.”

A subsequent email to you on the same date, which included the previous emails and my “prepared statement”, was copied Ms. Kelly. She was therefore aware of my statement to the OPC contained in the immediately preceding paragraph prior to the hearing taking place.

My approach to YRMG and to the OPC regarding “political correctness” issues were completely different, as while I wanted YRMG to be fully aware of all the reasons for my dissatisfaction with the article I was complaining about, including my speculation as to motives, my complaint to the OPC had to be completely factual, and thus could not include anything speculative, no matter how much I felt that my speculation was likely to be correct.

By stating that “We stand by our decision and the policy behind it, but we are interested in hearing your opinion on the issue”, Ms. Kelly is soliciting public support (vindication?) for her position by using biased, partial quotes, which did not form part of my OPC complaint of February 8th, or of my prepared statement to the OPC panel to be used at the hearing.

I therefore ask that you take whatever procedural action is necessary in order to determine whether or not the YRMG, through Ms. Kelly, is acting according to the obligations imposed by the letter and the spirit of the YRMG’s membership in the OPC, and are complying with the OPC rules regarding actions to be undertaken in the event that a complaint is upheld.

Thank you, etc.”

If you wish to respond to Ms. Kelly’s request for feedback on this issue, you can do so at dkelly@yrmg.com

Jeff Goodall.

You can read Ms. Kelly’s article “Was it wrong to say race not relevant?” here.  (There is one comment at the foot of the article which is not that comprehensible…)

The one letter-to-the-editor response to her article that I am aware of, which was published by the “Markham Economist & Sun” and elsewhere on July 12th, can be read here.

I have gathered articles on this issue into their own category, see here.

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