Why Is 'Chronicle' So Vehemently Against Meeker?

RECEIVED Tue., May 6, 2008

Dear Mr. King and Mr. Black,
    Anyone who wonders why good people don’t run for public office needs to look no further than The Austin Chronicle’s disgusting coverage of Jason Meeker’s campaign for Austin City Council to see why.
    In editorials and reports, The Austin Chronicle has continually skewered Meeker’s campaign with a level of vehemence and derision that is missing from every other race.
    The question is: Why?
    Meeker’s campaign offers new ideas like a Department of Neighborhoods, an Office of Public Advocate, and commonsense ways to cope with our traffic problems, the latter of which has been echoed by other candidates.
    Does the Chronicle focus on any of this? No. It calls Meeker’s campaign a “comedy circus” and “amateurish” without ever giving his ideas any attention. It never reports why Meeker earns applause at the forums he attends for his clear command of nearly every issue and his lighthearted demeanor.
    Instead, the Chronicle calls him a hothead. It dreams up conspiracy theories about rogue ads (which it profits from!) and reprints the fiction-filled ethics complaints of Lee Leffingwell cronies like Mike Blizzard, who stands to profit highly from a Meeker loss.
    Meeker’s campaign has faults. And he does deserve a serious examination while seeking public office. But it was clear from day one that once Meeker paused from the Responsible Growth for Northcross fight against the Wal-Mart Supercenter at Northcross and took on the insiders at City Hall, The Austin Chronicle fought Meeker like it was under attack. Was it?
Kat Correa, MBA
Crestview neighborhood

Cindy Fisher
Brentwood neighborhood

Peggy Maceo
Allandale neighborhood

Sharon Blythe
Balcones Woods neighborhood
   [Staff writer Lee Nichols responds: I focused on Meeker's ideas, including the Department of Neighborhoods and Office of Public Advocate, in "The Long Shadow of Wal-Mart," April 25, an article which may still be read at austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Issue/elections.]
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