Two examples of news stories that were not

Republicans are rightfully upset about stories that have appeared recently in the MaineToday Media newspapers that sound more like unedited press releases from Maine Democratic operatives than news stories.

[url=http://www.kjonline.com/news/Online-petition-for-citizens-recall-process... article appeared over the weekend:[/url]

Note what's missing: any serious effort to contact the other side. The story's sources are mostly limited to viewpoints expressed by the quirky Rep. Cynthia Dill (D-Cape Elizabeth) and her sycophants. Ditto any effort to identify the genesis of Rep. Dill's petition.

A reasonably fair, talented and responsible reporter could have traced the origin of the petition to MoveOn.Org, the nasty cabal of Democratic character assassins who were responsible for the infamous "Gen.Betray-Us" television ad.

But whatever Ms. Bouthillette's limited journalistic talents, she doesn't bear the full blame for this kind of reporting. That goes through her supervising editors all the way up the line to her publisher, Rich Connor.

If this were the first such effort on this reporter's part, her bosses might be excused for lack of attention. But it's not. There's this recent piece on another subject [url=http://www.pressherald.com/news/governors-decision-attracts-attention-re... the Portland Press Herald:[/url]

It begins:

Karen Moore and her family were looking forward to visiting Maine for a second time this summer, but after hearing of Gov. Paul LePage's decision to remove a mural depicting workers from Labor Department headquarters, they decided to vacation elsewhere….

This "open letter" quickly devolves into a familiar rant about "A national Republican-led, business-inspired bandwagon attacking working people…." A very thoughtful letter indeed.

So why should flaky comments by some woman in California -- whose political biases are quite obvious -- possibly rate a news story in a leading Maine publication?

Journalists used to pride themselves in their ability to detect phony stories and avoid being used by anybody. Yet the Press Herald, on the strength of a phone call, goes on to treat this "open letter" as real news.

It is not, and some folks in the MTM eyrie overlooking Monument Square ought to take the GOP's complaints to heart and become concerned about the paper's drift. Unless, of course, they don't care about their craft.

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