Beg To Differ, Mr. Mayor – Richard
New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell has stated loudly and clearly his opposition to WBSM's decision to run with a news story about a six year old girl who claimed to have been assaulted by another student at the Hayden McFadden Elementary School on August 22nd. With all due respect Mr. Mayor, we disagree.
The little girl in question reportedly told her mother that she had been stabbed in the hand with a needle by another student in her first grade classroom at Hay Mac. Those in authority have called that story into question. Most everyone seems to agree that some sort of assault did take place, perhaps with a small piece of wood or mulch. Back in the day that probably would not have risen to the level of an assault but we are living in very different times indeed.
The Administration says WBSM showed poor judgment by airing the child's claim, especially given the fact that the mother has had a history with the School Department. In defense of his argument Mayor Mitchell sites the apparent decision of other news outlets not to run the story. Sorry, but we disagree again. We do not make decisions about news content based upon what other news outlets are doing. WBSM spoke on the air with the little girl's mother twice, Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Pia Durkin twice and Mayor Jon Mitchell and two members of the New Bedford School Committee were also interviewed in order to fairly present all sides of the story.
WBSM has a long history of providing the local community with the most accurate and fair news coverage possible. We weigh all aspects and impacts of a story when making decisions about how and when to air news stories. We do not withhold information because it might not serve the political interests of a few.
To not tell the story of a six year old child who says she was assaulted while attending a city elementary school would be irresponsible and just plain wrong. We have faith in our listeners to take the information that we provide and decide for themselves what to believe. That is why our relationship and trust with the community has lasted as long as it has.
With all due respect, Mr. Mayor, you continue to run the city and we'll run the newsroom. In the end the public will judge us all for the jobs we have done.