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Letters to the Editor - The Millerton News - 7-15-21

HVN doesn’t make the cut for fair reporting

For some months now, the residents of Amenia and Wassaic have received a “paper,” titled “Hudson Valley News” (HVN).

(Note that I call this a paper and not a newspaper.)

Many of us take a keen interest in our town, and appreciate the media coverage by print, local radio and local social media groups, and quite honestly depend on this coverage for information. Understandably, we also like to put trust in reliable sources.

Since the HVN, published by Jim Langan and Caroline Carey, began delivery of their paper, it has stirred a lot of response. 

This publication is insulting the intelligence of Amenia and Wassaic residents, while pushing the agendas of their backers, and disregarding media guidelines and basic respect.

But they included a snippet on local history, just to grab our attention!

The HVN arrived in our mailboxes by the sponsorship of those who they feature and represent in their content, and is obviously a vehicle to only carry the wishes and thoughts of special interest, but they fail to announce that.

Let’s not pretend they are transparent, or an honest broker of news; they are a piece of “junk mail,” which is intended to confuse, by the pretense of being a newspaper. 

The HVN does not hide its political position on the Conservative Right, which is their prerogative.

But their content stirs up Conservatives to defend this paper, while Liberals hate it equally.

HVN fuels division in the community.

Whichever side of a political aisle you favor is absolutely fine, but understand who is HVN!

As long as the rules are obeyed and respect is shown for all, HVN has a right to publish. 

BUT… as they are pretending to be a newspaper, let’s judge them on that:

These are acknowledged as eight violations of Media Objectivity, for the Print Media*:

• Misleading definitions: Prejudicing readers through language.

• Imbalanced reporting: Distorting news through disproportionate coverage.

• Opinions disguised as news: Inappropriately injecting opinion or interpretation into coverage.

• Lack of context: Withholding a frame of reference for readers.

• Selective omission: Reporting certain events over others, or withholding key details.

• Using true facts to draw false conclusions: Infecting news with flawed logic.

• Distortion of facts: Getting the facts wrong.

• Lack of transparency: Failing to be open and accountable to readers.

After checking HVN against this list, I conclude they are not compliant, which insults us, as their target audience, and the legitimate press, who try to do an honest job.

Langan and Carey have left a trail of widely available public information, including one website entirely devoted to their misinformation. When a publication is so flawed, it speaks volumes about their backers and featured individuals.

It surely says a lot about the values of the organizations and politicians who receive their praise in every issue. 

The HVN is “junk-mail” and please treat it as such, and not legitimate news.

(It is only useful as a firelighter, in my opinion.)

Andy Durbridge


* www.honestreporting.com

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