• A bias coming through?
    December 13,2012

    A bias coming through?

    In 2002, the owner of The Times Argus, R. John Mitchell, fired his managing editor. Mitchell claimed he had written some stories stories that may not have been true. Mitchell said, “The situation calls into question anything he wrote.” Mitchell proudly proclaimed, “The paper’s credibility is its most important asset.”

    But now Mitchell has hired Eric Blaisdell, a registered sex offender, a man found guilty of trying to solicit sex via the internet with (what he thought was) a 13-year-old girl. And now R. John Mitchell has Blaisdell covering a criminal case involving sexual assault on a young teenage girl. What the heck are you thinking? If The Times Argus is truly concerned about its credibility, have Blaisdell cover stories that do not involve children or criminal cases.

    Isn’t it odd that Blaisdell provides the reader with such detailed information about the defendant’s excuse. (Was Blaisdell trying to create doubt about the verdict?) In addition, Blaisdell’s detailed coverage about the 16 year old victim (such as, semen on the victim’s underwear, the details about whether she let the Defendant use his tongue, the fact that she was sodomized, the fact that she didn’t say “No”, the fact that other family members were overheard disparaging the victim) why as all of that in Blaisdell’s story?

    I hope Blaisdell did not write all those details simply to humiliate the victim? Does Blaisdell realize that publishing these gory details has the effect of discouraging other sexual assault victims from coming forward? Does Blaisdell “get it”?

    I can only imagine it must be horrible for the 16 year old victim to see these details published in The Times Argus. Thanks to Blaisdell, the whole world knows all the gory details that this young victim must find devastating. Are there no journalistic ethics that limit what a reporter should disclose in a sexual assault case? It again makes me wonder why Mr. Blaisdell would ever put those details into a story about sexual assault on a young girl. Either Mr. Blaisdell’s journalistic filter isn’t working properly, or he had less noble intentions.

    Jim Shea

    East Montpelier

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