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Saturday, 12 November 2011


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Barbara Stratton

I'm glad GBR spoke up for Sam Allen. The VDT article falsely stated that he had changed his mind about VDT support between Tuesday night & Wednesday when he spoke at the news release. I was standing beside Sam when he complemented one reporter after she interviewed him following the election returns at the Bd of Elections Tuesday night. The compliments were for her individual professionalism only as he stated to her that he appreciated that she always put exactly what he said in the paper. I agreed with his statements & complimented her also, because I have observed her professionalism in other venues & it is a refreshing change for some of the VDT reporting heritage.

Sam's Wednesday comments about the VDT not providing balanced coverage for the consolidation issues were true & totally unrelated to the comments he made to the one reporter the night before. The VDT very overtly slanted their coverage for the CUEE viewpoint up until the editorial that stated anti-consolidation efforts were racially motivated because the county did not want black students in their schools. The VDT officially withdrew their established CUEE support a few days later & coverage was much better balanced after that point although there was still some covert slanting. My guess was the VDT was doing damage control because of the extreme unprofessionalism of the racial slurs in the editorial. The VDT even stated in one of their later articles that they had at first supported CUEE, but withdrew the support when no concrete plan for school improvements was developed thus verifying that reporting had been biased. Sam was totally correct in stating that the Times had not been fair in their coverage & that assessment had nothing to do with the honest praise he gave the individual reporter who had come on the scene after the overt misreporting agenda was changed.

The allegations that Sam's remarks were thinly veiled threats to the Chamber & the CUEE members were designed to discredit him in the community. In fact Sam told all of us at the post elections celebration that we should forgive and begin healing the community. He stated that he was giving CUEE a bye this time, but if they tried it again there would be consequences. Everyone understood that his remarks about a bye were in relation to the fact many FVCS members had already begun boycotting Chamber members & businesses that supported CUEE. The future conseguences were also in reference to morally & legally acceptable boycotts if a hostile consolidation takeover is again attempted. Sam was actively discouraging boycotts now, but warning he would not discourage them for future actions. Once again the VDT slanted their coverage without getting all the facts, but that's what we're used to so I guess we are back to normal.

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