We all deserve better

Published 5:46 pm Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the last six months, you are likely aware that on Nov. 5, Southampton County and the City of Franklin will be electing a new sheriff. You are also likely aware that the campaign for this position has been an unusually nasty one.

As is our custom, The Tidewater News will not be endorsing any particular candidate for this or any other race on the ballot this fall. However, we will state our objection to the mudslinging, false accusations and rumors that are being spread across social media and the usual rumor mills in our community about most of the candidates. The lengths that some have gone to, such as the releasing of body camera footage and unredacted police reports go beyond the pale. Of course, these things are mostly done by those wishing to remain anonymous so as to remain out of sight when damage is done to careers and reputations.

We are not saying that some of the rumors and stories aren’t true. We have not been able to verify and report on many of the accusations because they are personnel issues and therefore not subject to laws under the Freedom of Information Act. Some of them we have been able to verify but remain unable to report because information was discovered off the record, and as any credible news outlet would we protect our confidential relationships. And some we didn’t report because we were able to verify them as completely untrue.

Those responsible for the constant spread of misinformation should realize they are not enabling the democratic process; they are detracting from the process of selecting a candidate based on their experience and merit. If you have an issue with a particular candidate, don’t vote for them. If you hear an unverified rumor about a particular candidate, don’t spread it. That seems like a common sense approach. Not the approach that has been taken by some to date.