Ad shows newspaper's bias

Letter to the editor

Posted: Thursday, April 22, 2004

While reading Monday's paper, I saw an ad by the Juneau Clean Air Alliance stating that 71 percent of bar patrons prefer smoke-free establishments and 77 percent of Juneau residents don't smoke. This ad would lead one to believe that a survey was taken of local bar patrons to establish the veracity of this ad. I personally called all the bar owners that I know, and talked to as many people as I could, to ask if they knew of such a survey. Gee, what a surprise: Absolutely no one had heard of such a survey.

It is a sad state of affairs when organizations such as this have to resort to deception and out-and-out lies to further their goals. Does the word "integrity" mean anything to these people? Or the Empire for that matter. Surveys conducted by the Juneau Empire and KINY radio both show quite the opposite, by a large margin. Yet the Empire printed the ad without question. The editors' stance on this issue is well known by your readers, but does that rule out truth in print in this city's only paper?

Matt Felix's refusal to hear differing opinions at the meetings of the smoking ordinance committee just further shows how far these people will go in their quest to thwart public opinion, and force the Assembly to pass an ordinance that everyone is afraid to put on the ballot. What's the matter, can't trust the voters? If public policy cannot be discussed in an open and honest manner and that forum be supported by our only newspaper, then why bother at all?

There are thousands of good men and women in Iraq that know the answer to that question. Do you? A newspaper's job is to report the news and inform the public. When that mission takes on any bias whatsoever, the integrity of that venue becomes questionable at best. If you would like to keep this subscriber on board, I suggest a more balanced approach to the news.

John Niemi


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