Some Bullet News readers may have read a story published Friday in another Niagara newspaper relating to the recent resignation of Kim Craitor as MPP for Niagara Falls.
One online version of that story appeared below the headline “Craitor clears the air, addresses rumours.”
The story mentions several unsourced rumours supposedly circulating about possible reasons for Craitor’s sudden exit from politics after more than two decades of service to his community, including 10 years as a well-respected, community-minded member of the Ontario Legislature.
While acknowledging the existence of rumours about him, Craitor denies any connection between what unnamed people are supposedly saying and his decision to quit politics.
Instead, Craitor once again – as he has said repeatedly for more than a week – said he tendered his resignation for reasons of health and family.
Specifically, Craitor, 67, says – on the record and undisputed by facts to the contrary – his reason for resigning is that he’s exhausted, needs a break and wants to spend more time with his wife and children.
So why didn’t a similar rumour-laden story appear in Bullet News?
It’s simple. We don’t print rumours.
Oh, sure. We heard some of them, too.
But while journalists sometimes investigate rumours (and there’s nothing wrong with that), we at Bullet News believe it is our ethical obligation to base the stories we publish solely on facts – fairly presented, verifiable facts.
And getting a denial from the person who the rumours are about, in our view, doesn’t sanitize a story or justify its publication.
Nor does the fact Craitor is a politician.
Whether a public official, order levitra a janitor, a homemaker or even a criminal – everyone deserves the same fair, objective treatment by journalists.
Our self-imposed professional code of ethics demands it.
But rather than judging the public merit or fairness of a story that appeared in another publication, we seek only to “clear the air” about our own policies about such circumstances.
Bullet News is a proud member of the Ontario Press Council, an independent, self-regulatory body formed in 1972 “with the dual purpose of upholding the rights of the individual by promoting the highest standards of journalism while representing the press to ensure rights relating to freedom of expression.”
The motto of the Ontario Press Council is “Defending principles to inspire public trust.”
It’s a motto we aspire to each day.
Membership in the Ontario Press Council is voluntary. There is a membership fee. Money raised from member fees helps support the work of the Council and covers the costs associated with providing an independent forum for hearing complaints about member newspapers.
When Bullet News was founded three years ago, we came up with the following sentences to describe our publication: “Bullet News Niagara was established in 2010 as an independent, interactive, Niagara-based website featuring news, opinion, commentary and debate that you won’t find anywhere else in this region. We are locally owned and committed to fearless, accurate journalism, unencumbered by special interests of any kind.”
We leave it up to you , the reader, to decide whether we have indeed lived up to our own goals.
And in closing, we leave you with this amendment to the above mission statement: Our definition of “fearless” journalism means not only resisting any pressure to suppress the truth, but having the courage to resist the pressure to repeat what has not been proven.
On this we will not compromise.
John Robbins, publisher