YubaNet made its reputation covering forest fires, a vital and much-needed service in an area that’s just one spark away from a major conflagration. But its attempt to become a genuine news source for the foothills is pretty much smoke-and-mirrors.
What passes for news at the web site is basically press releases and opinion pieces picked up from other sources. And as we saw earlier this week, the news it runs is heavily influenced by the political leanings of the owners.
As everybody who cares knows by now, the Nevada City Council will hold a special meeting Wednesday to consider a resolution supporting the Nevada City Police Department in particular and law enforcement in general.
The meeting was called in an attempt to minimize the damage created when Council member Reinette Senum wrote on her Facebook page that America’s policemen are essentially paid assassins. The reaction has brought our quaint little tourist trap a lot of negative publicity it can do without.
None of this is apparent to anybody who is foolish enough to rely on YubaNet for local news. The “news” site ran a press release Monday announcing the meeting along with the text of the proposed resolution, but not a word as to “why” the meeting was being held.
Reader Bruce Herring got to the point: “Nice piece. But I must ask, why is there nothing regarding Ms. Senums’ (sic) social media statement?” YubaNet’s reply: “The city has decided to have a special meeting, that’s the news.” It then cut off comments on the article.
So much for reporting the news without fear or favor. Clearly, Senum is one of their favorites, and they don’t want to embarrass her any more than she’s already embarrassed herself. But by letting their personal views influence their news coverage, the management of YubaNet is doing a disservice to its readers.
I have no problem with YubaNet taking any position it wants. But if it’s going to let its political bias infect its news coverage, it should at least publish a disclaimer at the top of its “news” section.