Let­ters page is no place for pol­i­tick­ing

The Oban Times - - Letters -

Sir, Jim Cun­ning­ham takes me to task for my com­ments re political bal­ance (Oban Times 31/12/15) claim­ing I sug­gested political bias.

Mr Cun­ning­ham refers to his ex­pe­ri­ence of The Oban Times’ a-political ap­proach over a num­ber of years.

How­ever, I clearly was not re­fer­ring to a gen­eral pol­icy over a num­ber of years, but was care­ful to list a spe­cific bulge of let­ters, from a spe­cific source, dur­ing a spe­cific pe­riod. In that pe­riod [three weeks], The

Oban Times had printed let­ters from Alan Reid, Dunoon. I specif­i­cally cal­cu­lated that 75 per cent of the let­ters in the news­pa­per in that short pe­riod came from that sin­gle anony­mous political source: a source who later re­vealed him­self as our for­mer MP.

I con­cluded my let­ter with ‘I urge you ( The Oban Times) to con­tinue to en­sure a bal­anced ap­proach’. Note ‘con­tinue’.

Now that I have cor­rected him on that point, I’m sure Mr Cun­ning­ham will be happy to with­draw his crit­i­cism of me. For the record, I well knew when I wrote my let­ter that there had been a re­cent change in the ed­i­tor­ship of The Oban Times. In his re­cent let­ters to the new editor, Mr Reid failed to iden­tify him­self as an as­pi­rant political can­di­date. In my opin­ion, a shock­ing lack of in­tegrity.

My aim was to alert the new editor to the pos­si­bil­ity that The Oban

Times was be­ing used as a jour­nal­is­tic Tro­jan horse re­sult­ing in its let­ters page con­tain­ing un­bal­anced political com­ment. My as­ser­tions are some­what un­der­lined in the last two edi­tions of the pa­per. Both edi­tions have car­ried let­ters from ‘Alan Reid, Prospec­tive etc…’

For the record, un­like the anony­mous Mr Reid, in the in­ter­ests of trans­parency, I con­clude ev­ery let­ter to the editor with my full ad­dress and any per­sonal in­ter­est in the sub­ject I write about.

Liam Grif­fin (Sen.), by email.

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