Did a reporter write a politician's press release?

Late today the word went around that a press release had been issued from the office of an elected official in Sussex County.  Watchdog checked with the two offices maintained by that elected official -- both in Sussex County and in Trenton -- and found that nobody on staff knew a thing about it.  So Watchdog checked with the political consultant who has managed every one of this elected official's campaigns, and he knew nothing about it.

 

At the same time this was happening, calls were placed by a junior reporter who referenced the press release nobody had ever seen.  We are not going to identify the newspaper at this time because we don't believe that this reporter's editor knows what he's been up to.  For ethics sake we certainly hope not!

 

Something similar happened some weeks ago with a meeting set up between the Skylands Tea Party group and Senator Steve Oroho.  The group had scheduled a "private briefing" between its leadership and the Senator to discuss various issues before the Legislature in Trenton, when without anyone's permission, this reporter assumed control over the meeting and turned it into an interview.  The reporter's interference caused an important meeting to be cancelled.  

 

This sort of behavior is no different from the stalking under cover of "journalism" that the presidential campaign of Donald Trump is facing.  Journalists should not make themselves part of the story.  Reporters should not be political operatives.     

 

Here are a few instances when a local reporter has directly got involved in a political campaign in Sussex County, looking to destroy one side in favor of another.  It is a simple story -- one that can be told in just three text messages:

 

(1) Hey guys, I'm writing such slanted shit on behalf of your campaign, that if I keep it up, somebody is going to notice.

 

------ SMS ------

From: XXXXXXXXXX

Received: Apr 14, 2015 4:21 PM

 

I need to talk to you about XXXXXXXXXX. Simply put, there's no way I can retain my credibility as a journalist if I don't, in some way, address XXXXX's reasons for voting to do the original solar project in 2011without seeking voter approval then. If I don't, people will come to see me as a shill for the XXXXXXXXXX campaign, and I can't have that happen.

 

(2) Hey guys, the candidates' debate is coming up.  How about it if the Herald lets your campaign choose which questions we ask your opponents?

 

------ SMS ------

From: XXXXXXXXXX

Received: May 18, 2015 4:11 PM

 

BTW, we're still trying to come up with a specific question for XXXXXXX and XXXXXXX. The list if questions is being finalized tonight. If you have any suggestions, I'm all ears.

 

(3) Hey guys, I know the primary is over, but shouldn't we totally destroy your opponent so that he can't try a comeback in 2016?

 

------ SMS ------

From: XXXXXXXXXX

Received: Aug 1, 2015 1:21 PM

 

Do you know anything about a sexual harassment lawsuit or some such thing being filed against XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX several years ago back when he was XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX?...XXXX had mentioned something about it to me a while back, said she believes it was settled. I'd sure love to get my hands on it, though.

 

This is not journalism.  It is waging a political campaign.