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john disque journalistRising with the Daily Sun
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Good Morning East Tennessee!

The politics of politics --

Yesterday I was thanked for remaining unbiased on the mayor's race.

I thought about it for a moment and concluded that it was somewhat strange to be thanked for doing something that should be expected of me and all of the media. I appreciated the feedback but at the same time I found it a shame that we live in a time when a journalist is thanked for writing the truth.

Somewhat like politicians ourselves our job is to know/find out what our readers and all of the people of East TN, want/expect from the next mayor, but it steers off to a different level that some people are confused about.

You should not care who I personally vote for. You should care about my ability to bring you all of the facts on each candidate so you have more information on which candidate is addressing your concerns. You should expect from us "information." If the information we give you is about a potential mayor's concerns or plans or lack of concerns and plans then we are simply giving you more freedom to make up your own mind.

You should question any writer or media outlet who thinks their job is to get votes for any candidate. If you ask me, this is insulting your intelligence. They are assuming that you cannot think for yourself so they're taking the liberty to think for you or tell you want to think.

As some of you know I developed an outline and list of issues that are vital for our mayor to understand, address and have concrete plans for. This list was not developed from my own selfish agenda. I looked at it and developed it from the perspective of every race, every age, every religion or lack of religion, every part of town (east, west, north and south), every personality type, gender, every nationality, every neighborhood I could think of, every profession and every income level in and around Knoxville.

You pay the mayor's salary. The mayor works for you. Whether they are qualified to work for you is your decision, but how are you supposed to make that decision when the only information you have is from some self-motivated writer?

The following is a scenario. Any resemblance to actual events is purely coincidental.

Let's say you own a media outlet and your number one advertiser is Patty's Hardware (this is the company that puts food on your table and money in your bank account). Now you find out that Patty's Hardware is also John Smith's number 1 campaign contributor. The reason they give so much money to John Smith is because John and Patty are personal friends, and when John's elected he won't crack down on Patty's iffy, unlicensed back-room business.

Now you are expected to run feature articles on John Smith but they aren't articles at all; they're endorsements and advertisements. This ugliness takes on a whole new level when the hate and slander campaigns begin on John Smith's opponents. Knowing full-well that those are the stories that capture mass attention while taking a promotion life of their own, they do it and they can range from irrelevant nonsense to downright lies.

Deep down the writer knows that John Smith is not the best person for the job but to keep his/her own job he does it and John Smith gets elected while Patty is safe to continue operations as usual. The only problem is: The residents lose.

This is some of what you are witnessing in the media throughout our country today. You have our promise that we will not play this selfish game.

Knoxville is a wonderful place to live, and it has the potential to be the best city in America. Until then we have issues that need to be addressed. Even then we will need a mayor who can maintain it. Therefore we should expect and demand unbiased greatness from our information and our mayor.

Have a great day!

Published February 13, 2011

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