Over the past two weeks, KPCW did what a competent news organization does. They reported on the actions of the Park City School District related to enforcing masks at Parley’s Park Elementary School. On Thursday, the school district went Full Bully on KPCW. Their lawyer sent a letter to KPCW. PCSD’s lawyer, Joan Andrews, writes:
“Specifically, on November 17, 2021, you [KPCW] published in various media, including on your website and Facebook pages, the following statement: ‘During Tuesday’s Park City school board meeting, board member Andrew Caplan said Parley’s Park Elementary School did not violate the county mask order and called reports of violation fake news.’ This statement is demonstrably false and on behalf of the Board of Education, we demand the immediate retraction of same. More specifically, at no time was the term “fake news” used by Mr. Caplan. The use of this term appears deliberately calculated to create the belief in the community that Mr. Caplan is opposed to Summit County Public Health Order mask mandate, which he is not, nor is the Board as a whole.”
KPCW responded by saying, “The articles and broadcasts of which your client complains are truthful and accurate. Moreover, KPCW’s use of the words “fake news” is a fair and accurate representation of board member Andrew Kaplan’s comments during Tuesday’s meeting and such use absolutely was not ‘a deliberately calculated’ attempt to imply Mr. Kaplan or the board is against the Summit County public health order mask mandate. Despite our belief that KPCW could correctly continue to use those words, we have decided it is even more accurate – and in the listeners and readers’ best interest – to use direct quotes from Mr. Caplan instead of characterizing them.”
The Park City School District’s lawyer argued that KPCW used the term ‘fake news’ to imply Mr. Caplan and the school district were against mask mandates. KPCW argued that the term was accurately used to characterize Mr. Caplan’s comments.
I don’t believe KPCW is trying to say that Mr. Caplan, or the district administration, is against mask mandates. I think KPCW is saying that Mr. Caplan implied that the school district followed mask mandates at PPES from day one, when all signs point to the fact that they didn’t. If they didn’t follow the mandates, then they broke the law.
However, what I find rich from the Park City School District lawyer’s letter was the bullying from an organization that is responsible for teaching our children.
Park City School District’s lawyer writes, “In the meantime, the Board has asked me to convey that Board members and District administrators will not be engaging with KPCW with respect to its repeated queries for comment, appearances, or other interactions, at least until we have clarity around the outcome of the review of what happened during week one of the Parley’s Park Elementary School mandate. The Board and District will continue to communicate on matters of importance to their constituents through other channels.”
Did the school board members take the Welcoming Schools training? That statement from the Park City School Board is pure bullying. “Leave us alone or you’ll lose access to the school district!”
If I were KPCW, I would say, “That sounds fine PCSD. We, as a news organization, will continue to report the news. We are ready to speak to you whenever you are ready. We’ll continue to report the news based upon your school board meetings and your public reporting requirements.”
KPCW is frankly above this fray. KPCW reports the news and it appears the school board doesn’t like it. They seem to view it as some sort of vendetta against them. There is no vendetta; there is only the hope for honesty. KPCW is reporting on what they are seeing, hearing from people on-site, and comments from our community.
KPCW, please don’t back down against these threats. If the school district won’t speak to you, that’s their loss.
KPCW, you are doing great work in our community. You are the best news source in the Wasatch Back.
If you don’t fight for the people’s right to know what is happening, who is going to do it?
Most of us trust you far more than we trust them.
Keep up the good fight.