A betrayal of public trust 
Posted to PoisonedWells.com Saturday April 27, 2002
Updated Monday April 29, 2002
Commentary by J.C. Huntington

The San Manuel Miner has betrayed the public trust by censoring the biggest story of grass-roots opposition to sprawl yet to occur in the history of Arizona. 

While the on-going story has caught the interest of the Arizona Republic, the Arizona Daily Star, the Northwest Explorer, the Casa Grande Dispatch, the Apache Junction News, and Tucson's television station KOLD . . .  the San Manuel Miner has decided that it is best to keep their readers in the dark on the latest development.

So, what is the Miner trying to hide from their readers? 

The Miner is trying to hide the fact that for the first time in the history of Arizona, voters will be able to decide whether or not two housing projects with a combined population larger than Casa Grande should be built on 7,100 acres of Sonoran desert.

This is not a question of whether or not you believe development is good thing or bad thing.  This is a question of whether you think it's OK for a newspaper to not tell voters that they have a choice to express their belief at the ballot box.

The editors of the Miner know that Pinal County accepted nearly 12,000 signatures on two referendum petitions to allow voters to decide if building over 15,000 homes to house over 33,000 people in the Oracle Junction area is a good idea or not.

The editors of the Miner know that the two developers that want to import well over 33,000 people to the Oracle Junction area -- Robson Communities Inc. and Anam Inc. -- both filed lawsuits aimed to keep their projects off the ballot and out of the hands of the voters.

The editors of the Miner know that on April 12, Pinal County Superior Court Judge William O' Neil ruled against both developers and that the ruling means voters will be able to consider the Robson and Anam projects at the ballot box in the upcoming November election. 

But the editors of the Miner apparently thought it was best if their readers didn't know what they knew, so they killed the latest development of the story.  

Two issues of the Miner have been published since the editors of the Miner learned of the court's ruling, yet neither issue carried the story of the court's ruling and what it means to Pinal voters.

Speaking for myself, I am deeply offended by the idea that it is OK for an American newspaper to withhold crucial information from it's readers.

I believe that a newspaper is a public trust -- readers trust their newspapers to give them the news that is important to them -- and I believe that newspapers have a responsibility to earn and keep their readers trust by printing news that is important to their readers. 

I believe that the San Manuel Miner has broken this trust by withholding a very important story from their readers. 

I believe that deliberately withholding a story of this importance is indefensible . . .  and I have discovered that Miner publisher James Carnes apparently agrees with me. 

When I asked Carnes why he and his editors had decided to kill the story, Carnes said simply, "I don't want to give a reason."

The publisher and editors of the Miner have betrayed the trust of their readers by deliberately keeping an important story from them. 

The publisher and editors of the Miner have besmirched their profession by not being able to explain why they did it. 

Shame on them.

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