By Scott Halasz
As a journalist with more than 20 years of experience, I have always prided myself on being fair, impartial and accurate.
Yes, typos happen. And yes, inadvertent mistakes happen. But I have never written something that was not true.
During a Xenia City Council meeting that took place on July 23, this newspaper and I were called out by Xenia City Councilman Dale Louderback for printing “lies and half truths” regarding a situation involving that particular individual.
What’s going on is very complicated. In a nutshell, two councilmen have been accused by the rest of city council of violating the city charter by attempting to invest in a proposed entertainment center and work for its management company. The pair allegedly sat in an executive session and discussed the project before disclosing their potential conflict of interest to the rest of council. Council on July 23 voted to open an inquiry.
Throughout this whole process, every story I have written has been based on facts I was given and quotes from council people, city staff members and spokespeople from the Ohio Ethics Commission, which is investigating as well. These stories were based on the information I was given — nothing was asserted — everything we have written has been attributed to someone.
I have also given both councilmen the opportunity to comment when appropriate, even with regards to the executive session. What I wrote was attributed to someone else and both councilmen had a chance to rebut.
I would like to know what has appeared in the Xenia Daily Gazette that has been a “lie” or a “half truth.”
I approached Mr. Louderback after the meeting and asked that question. He said that we would talk about it another time. As he walked away I stressed that if the papers has made any errors, I would be happy to correct them. But he didn’t acknowledge that statement, nor has he contacted me to discuss these “lies and half truths.”
Mr. Louderback has made numerous public statements about his platform of transparency. He wants special sessions televised. He always looks at the camera and to those in the council chamber so citizens know he is talking to them and not just the rest of city council. He always wants citizens to know the whole story.
If all of this is true, now is his chance to back it up.
Louderback made these accusations on camera, in a public session, in a packed council chamber and I was sitting right there with no opportunity to rebut the statement made on public record.
What have I written that is a lie or half truth? If it was something someone else said, don’t attack me and the newspaper.
I am happy to correct any mistake I have made. But I need to know what it was.