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WVN #232: An anarchist group?

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  • waylandvoters1
    Dear Wayland Voter, The chairman of the Wayland Democratic Town Committee recently described Wayland Voters Network as a group of people who, as far as I can
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 15, 2008
      Dear Wayland Voter,

      The chairman of the Wayland Democratic Town Committee
      recently described Wayland Voters Network as "a group of
      people who, as far as I can tell are either anarchists or
      libertarians of some sort..."

      "The WVN folks oppose change," Chairman Jon Saxton
      continued, "and everything else that to me makes a town like
      Wayland a destination and a great place to live, including strong
      schools, well paid teachers, strong public safety and public
      works services and yes even the idea of a town center that,
      horror of horrors, might have stores in it."

      The chairman's Yahoo Groups message to Town Committee
      members on Feb. 9 doesn't purport to represent opinions of
      other Wayland Democrats. Still, his heated and false
      accusations make this a good time for a reminder about what
      WVN is and what it stands for.

      First, WVN isn't a "group." It is an independent newsletter that
      encourages citizens to study the issues and to vote. It supports
      openness and transparency in government. WVN publishes
      information and analysis that you won't necessarily find

      It's not a substitute for the Town Crier and the Boston Globe's
      coverage of Wayland. It is a complementary source of

      WVN isn't affiliated with any group or party. Readers include
      active Republicans and Democrats. No anarchists that we know

      WVN readers, by the way, often encourage increased and
      thoughtful participation by forwarding newsletters to others. A
      large number of public-spirited readers volunteer their time and
      resources to deliver paper copies of the newsletters to those
      who choose not to receive them by email.

      Mr. Saxton characterizes WVN newsletters as propaganda
      because WVN "will not include opposing points of view." He
      seems to have overlooked two important and obvious facts:

      -- WVN doesn't endorse candidates or positions.

      -- WVN newsletters report the various positions on issues.

      Mr. Saxton decries "propaganda and incessant drumbeat of
      negativity and conspiracy." What he calls negativity is to many
      others open-mindedness or skepticism.

      Critics, many of them affiliated with political action groups, have
      fired salvos at WVN since it was founded by professional
      journalists in 2004. They have claimed that it is impossible to
      correct WVN errors. (In fact we publish corrections.) They
      suggest that WVN is somehow propagandistic because it
      doesn't offer discussion boards. (Like many newsletters, WVN
      doesn't have the resources to offer a variety of services,
      particularly a forum for postings that could be inaccurate and
      even libelous.)

      What is it about WVN that makes certain people so angry?

      When the School Committee expressed great confidence in
      being reimbursed for a new high school, would voters have been
      better off without WVN's reporting the state's warning that the
      town might have to foot the entire bill?

      Would voters have been better off not knowing about
      environmental hazards with the new artificial turf at the high
      school? About the details of an override? About the many recent
      examples of inaccuracy in property assessments?

      WVN has reported the complexity of the Town Center project and
      was first to write about the two lawsuits that must be resolved
      before the project continues. Some WVN readers tell us they
      look forward to the mixed-use development. Others tell us they
      don't. But readers agree that they want to know what's going on.
      If the news is not what they expected, so be it. WVN readers, we
      trust, think for themselves.

      Whatever power journalism possesses comes mainly from
      imparting information, not editorializing. Useful coverage often
      begins with asking questions about the official version of
      events. As an old joke in the trade goes, "If your mother says she
      loves you, check it out."

      The intemperance of attacks on WVN suggests that some critics
      would prefer a less-informed electorate.

      Reporters like to believe that journalism is what somebody
      doesn't want you to know. The rest is publicity.

      -- Michael Short
      To be sure you continue to receive WVN newsletters optimally
      and in your inbox (instead of bulk or junk folders) it may help to
      add to your address book or safe sender list:

      Thank you for reading this WVN newsletter. Please forward it to
      your friends and neighbors in Wayland. If they want to receive
      their own copy, they can send an email to
      waylandvoters@... and they will be signed up for the
      listserv. Or, they can sign themselves up by sending a blank
      email to:
      Click reply and send after receiving an e-mail confirming the

      Wayland Voters Network
      Michael Short, Editor
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