OPINION

SEM-DEMS DEPLOY YELLOW JOURNALISM

By MARSHALL SWANSON

Following a defamatory article written by the Seminole Democrats against the publication, as Editor, I felt the need to personally respond: that’s because the Seminole Democrats made it personal by attacking my family and my reputation. I have a general policy not to focus on any individual more than necessary or attack their record in an overt or scrutinized manner. However, I make only one exception: political candidates or public officials. Cancel Culture is wrong. Period. But unlike most of us, politicians must remain accountable to the voters, and this includes Chad Albritton. Unlike the personal life of a restaurant owner or the political leanings of a store manager, the decisions made by elected leaders effect us all and deserve to be given greater scrutiny.

 

Our publication has no connection with the political action committee and the mailer. Nevertheless, I find very few facts listed on the mailer to be inaccurate. All the points listed seem to link back factually to public record and our recent article.

 

Are the Seminole Democrats saying that Chad Albritton did not pay a Russian-based firm to help his campaign build a web-page? Just check public records. Mr. Albritton also accepted support from Trump supporting Republicans, including former Casselberry mayoral candidate Sharon Lacrosse. Is it untrue? You can decide for yourself when you look at the hard photo evidence found here.

 

Finally, it is certainly not untrue that Mr. Albritton and the Seminole Democrats want to bring division to our cities, including Casselberry. Mr. Albritton is one of a number of Democratic candidates involved in a blue Boot Camp to “flip Seminole blue." Instead of embracing the non-partisan nature of the race, the Democrats flared partisan tensions. In this time of division, we need unity, and local government can help do that. But not when a political party spews demagoguery and deploys yellow journalism.

 

Most Democrats and career politicians have one thing in common: a lack of business experience. Apparently that includes basic research skills as well. Founded in 1980, the local news prides itself on a long history of the highest journalistic standards, which does not mean the absence of opinion but an emphasis on the separation of opinion and news.

 

As per my policy, and my grandfather's policy, I allow anyone, including Chad Albritton (or the Seminole Democrats), to write an op-ed in the publication opposing any viewpoint. As of yet, no campaign official has reached out to me to do so, though unlike the Orlando Sentinel, I welcome perspectives contrary to our own. We always hope to give both sides a fair shake as recently shown in our re-publication of a letter from a non-Casselberry resident wanting to weigh in on the race in the newspaper.

 

Over the years, the publication has undergone many changes. This includes a variation of names until our final incarnation today: The Orlando Local News. Contrary to the defamatory statements made by The Seminole Democrats on their website, our publication is not a political blog— it is indeed a physical newspaper with both subscribers and distribution centers. Moreover, the majority of our articles are not political.

 

As for the accusation that our present site first appeared in May, that is true: following the death of my grandfather I assumed control of the publication, re-launching and rebranding the name with a new page. We are now in the process of merging several disparate domain names and establishing a website with better capabilities to meet the demands of our readers. Our former website,  formerly active for years, is dormant at the moment but still accessible at orlandolocalnews.com.

 

My grandfather’s involvement with the publication did end many years ago when he retired, however over the decades, many individuals, including several of my current business partners, continued to operate the publication, albeit on an infrequent basis.

 

The Seminole Democrat's attempt to malign my grandfather’s reputation and this publication's reputation by distorting the facts proves their involvement in turning a non-partisan city race into a partisan political circus. Instead of attacking a World War II hero and my own freedom of speech, the Seminole Democrats could be focusing on disputing the author’s argument. I hope that we can return to civil discourse once again without sacrificing honesty and integrity.

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