The past week has been a very contentious one in Niagara County politics. Much of what has transpired has played out all over local and statewide media outlets. Over the past few years, politics in the county has gotten somewhat nasty. There have been accusations by both sides of dastardly deeds, from anonymous political mailings to flat out slanderous accusations. But how did we get to this point, and is this the new face of politics?
Shortly after assuming the role of Niagara County Democratic Party Chairman, Dan Rivera stated that politics is a "blood sport". Does it need to be? Are the days of political bosses getting together in the back room at Cammarata's to work together gone?
When local media outlets talk or write about political happenings in the county, are they helping or hurting the political environment? Scott Leffler, who hosts Dialog on WLVL, despises many of the local, state and federal politicos. With Leffler, his disdain is primarily directed at the GOP, who have been very successful over the past three election cycles in Niagara County. So when Leffler goes on the air railing the incumbents, is he moving politics in the county forward, or is he setting them back?
When the editors of local newspapers actively seek out negative stories, or worse yet seek to create negative stories about local politicos, are they doing the community a service?
This website is often is a source of political ongoings. Despite the perception, we try to present information in an unbiased manner. True, we rarely harp on political leaders such as GOP Chairman Henry Wojtaszek, but Wojtaszek keeps his name out of the headlines. And he wins most of the time. So are we doing the community a disservice by publishing the Roberts resignation letter? We didn't write it, we didn't instigate the actions which lead to the letter. In reality, we'd never heard of her before the letter was provided to us. So by printing a letter that a supposedly "loyal" Democrat decided to leak, did we impede or promote the progress of politics in Niagara County?
I've had email conversations with US&J reporter Mark Scheer. I told him the old cliche of newspapers having great power and with great power comes great responsibility. That's true for all media outlets to some degree. Can the media help re-shape politics in Niagara County, or are we destined to continue down the path of negativity?