To the Editor:
Somewhere during my school years I was taught about slanted journalism. One of the best examples of slanted journalism is the headline for an article about Sen. Jim Davis on page 5 of the Feb. 29 edition of The Smoky Mountain News.
The headline reads “Sen. Davis breaks ethics rule by using government email for campaign.” Breaking ethics rules sounds like and is a very serious accusation.
However, upon reading further, we find that Sen. Davis used his legislative email mistakenly, admits it and reported the violation immediately. Doesn’t sound to me like someone who is purposefully unethical, as hinted by the SMN headline. In fact, the legislative ethics rule cites excessive use of legislative email as a violation. Certainly Davis’ single violation does not fulfill the description of “excessive” and therefore does not deserve a highly volatile headline.
The headline selected by the SMN editors was designed to show Davis in a very bad light. A more accurate headline that would more accurately represent the issue might be ”Sen. Davis self-reports wrongly sent email” or “ Sen. Davis learns more about legal campaign email”.
The headline chosen by SMN was obviously chosen to show Davis in a negative way rather than a truthful introduction to the story following the headline. But, the SMN liberal leanings will always win out when it comes to a truthful reporting of conservative and Republican officials.