Why was this drivel published?

Letters to the editor

[Forum] I’m writing this letter because I’m frustrated being served up drivel such as the alleged effort by Mr MacDonald in Peninsula News edition 444.

How tripe such as this gets published is beyond me. Really, was this newsworthy? Please explain. Was it meant to be funny? Fatalities have occurred here. Seriously, I’m not getting the joke. The only rationale I can put on it is that it’s a very cheap and sick crack at a political rival. Three questions: Mr MacDonald, are you the author of this “imaginary conversation”? If so, please explain the humour and your motivation for submitting it for publication.

Mr Snell, as editor, what humour or news value did you see in it? What deemed it publishable and was the placing of this garbage directly above the Member for Gosford’s advertisement a strategic decision? I look forward to having my question put to Mr MacDonald, having my letter, Mr MacDonald’s and the editor’s response published in the next edition of the Peninsula News. While you are at it you may want to consider a public apology to family and friends of victims of this level crossing and to the Member for Gosford.

Email, 8 May 2018 David Gallard, Ettalong

The letter in question here

Editor comment:

In this age of highly media-managed politics and spin doctoring, it is unusual to get a candid glimpse of the underlying thinking and attitudes of our politicians. It is tempting not to run such a contribution because some readers may find it distasteful or offensive. However, what should be the media’s role in this and that of Peninsula News in particular? Is it the media’s role to sanitise the news or to shield the community from the thinking of its political representatives or indeed to protect what may be perceived as the politicians’ own interests? Peninsula News has a policy of not publishing letters which question people’s motives or represent personal attacks. The newspaper’s Forum section favours letters that improve the quality of discussion on issues of community interest. On this occasion, despite this, we decided it was in the public interest to publish this contribution. We found it remarkable, coming from a person of Mr MacDonald’s role and status. The replacement of the level crossing has long been of serious interest to the Peninsula community, underlined by the recent tragic fatalities. Our politicians’ attitudes to this issue will determine how it is resolved. For that reason, we believed the publication of Mr MacDonald’s contribution was justified. Is this the quality of thinking that we expect from our politicians on this issue? If we do not know of our politicians’ thinking, how can we exercise our democratic rights? Peninsula News would be interested to hear what other readers think.

Mark Snell, editor