Why Ackerman should go
November 12, 2004
A good local newspaper nourishes public life. It leads the community toward resolution of conflicts by promoting civic dialogue, by keeping alive the conversation between parties who respect each other and work to find common ground despite their differences.
Under the leadership of Jeff Ackerman, The Union has failed to serve our community in this way. Jeff has demonstrated that he is nothing but a demagogue – someone who, according to my dictionary, “appeals to people’s emotions and prejudices rather than their rationality.” His glib pronouncements, sarcastic ridicule, and hateful attacks on community leaders only widen the gulf between factions and do a disservice to us all.
Because I want The Union to be a good newspaper, a unifying force instead of a divisive one, I wrote a letter to The Union’s parent company. I pointed out to Swift executives that Ackerman has alienated many in the community, and I encouraged them to replace him with someone who could gain the respect of a wider spectrum of residents.
Both editor and publisher responded by misrepresenting what I wrote. I don’t have the space here to detail every distortion, but you can read the letter for yourself: Go to ncfocus.blogspot.com and find the Nov. 12 entry.
But regarding the claim that my call to have Jeff replaced is an un-American attempt to stifle free speech: As publisher of the only local paper, Jeff has more actual power to exercise his free-speech right than anyone else. The people of Nevada County did not grant him this power; a media executive in Nevada did. Trying to strip Jeff of this special power is very different from denying him his right to free speech, and doing it by asking readers to “vote with their dollars” and cancel their subscriptions seems pretty darned American to me.
By the way, I don’t drink cappuccino or hate cowboys. And the only place you’ll see “Ph.D.” appended to my name is in some of my submissions to The Union and on my business card.
Eric Engles is a writer living in Grass Valley.
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