We have a problem. We have a problem when media will not or does not provide balanced information on issues of vital importance to the general public. The latest campaign about our voting system is a case in point.
Very few mainstream newspapers offered or allowed space for op-eds that supported Proportional Representation. Very few offered fact-based and researched information on Proportional Representation. Most newspapers simply regurgitated various bits of misinformation promulgated by the No side.
There was a legitimate and real conversation that needed to happen. It did not. And yes, there were other problems with this referendum, but that does not negate the lack of informed analysis of both sides of the issue.
What concerns me the most is the vanishingly small arena for information and discussion in which a reasoned and fact-based discussion of issues is encouraged. Print media, especially in small towns, could fulfill that function.
This letter is not just about the recent Pro Rep campaign. I would have written the same letter had Pro Rep won. Our democracy is imperilled when social media echo chambers replace opportunities for reasoned discussion and citizens no longer have a forum for discussions of important issues.
I urge all newspapers to be part of a solution to this problem. Our future depends on institutions that have the capacity to function as tissue that will bind us together with real information and responsible, respectful discussion.
Bet Cecill, Gibsons