May 19, 2013

Another View: Newspaper's constant criticism of governor has become unhealthy

There is more than one way to view the public responsibility to help Lewiston fire victims.


Wednesday, May 8, was quiet in Acadia National Park. Taking advantage of the sequester, I toured the Loop Road by bicycle.

While Down East, I bought the Bangor Daily News, which I read along with the Portland Press Herald. Both covered Gov. LePage's visit to Lewiston the previous day.

The Press Herald had a front-page headline "A 'dire situation,' but LePage offers no funds to fire victims." Its wording and placement and the article that ran below it portrayed the governor in the poorest light possible.

The Bangor Daily News ran a smaller story in the local section describing the governor's "make no promises" visit and another story promoting a benefit concert for fire victims.

But the telling difference between the two newspapers was their editorials.

The Press Herald's editorial headline read "LePage flouts obligation to help out fire victims." The editorial itself declared, "His visit to Lewiston shows a lack of insight into the role of government in disaster recovery." It went on to describe a Press Herald-perceived "bedrock government responsibility: helping people who are in dire circumstances through no fault of their own."

The Bangor Daily News had a different goal. Its editorial headline read "How you can help Lewiston." It gave credit to citizens, businesses and agencies helping families. It described specific needs and how the public could contribute. It provided addresses for monetary donations. It urged people to get involved. It was meant to help a community in need.

It's no secret the Portland Press Herald doesn't like Gov. LePage. But this dislike has evolved into an unhealthy hatred that has transcended the opportunity to help those it says need help. A comparison of the May 8 editorials of the two newspapers should be a wake-up call for the Portland Press Herald.

Wayne W. Duffett is a resident of Portland.


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