On Saturday, October 23, Melody received the following email from Times-Free Press Public Editor Chris Sherrill Vass:
I saw this on Facebook today. To say I am disappointed is an understatement.
The Times Free Press has taken care to provide balanced coverage this election cycle. To see a photo (yes, I know your mom shot it and therefore it belongs to you) taken in our newsroom after exchanging greetings with your opponent and then used for campaign purposes is disconcerting.
I am dismayed that one, the newspaper could be thought to show favoritism in your race, and two, that your campaign used a photo that was taken in good faith and fun as you both had your editorial meetings with our staff.
I would ask that you reconsider use of this photo.
Thank you, Bruiser to Bruiser …
“This” refers to a blog post that contained a picture of Melody and Chuck that was taken after Chuck’s editorial interview at the Times Free Press. No one, unless they were familiar with the Times Free Press Newsroom, would know where the photo was taken. The photo was not altered or distorted in any way. The blog post itself told the story of the conversation Melody had with Chuck at that time. The Photo provided the proof of the face-to-face meeting.
There is nothing in that picture or blog post that violates either the National Press Photographers Association or the Society of Professional Journalists codes of ethics – even if, as a political campaign, we were held to such standards. Everything in that post and picture is 100% true, accurate and fully contextualized.
Clint Cooper says that Chuck’s refusal to debate is “worthy of discussion” however the Times Free Press has failed to even attempt to engage in that discussion despite ample opportunities and invitations to do so. Furthermore, Cooper’s editorial which suggests that there was anything “manipulated” by the campaign is the real affront to journalistic reputation of the Times Free Press. Chris Sherill Vass’ sharing an email exchange with him that was supposedly “Bruiser to Bruiser” just adds to the untrustworthiness of the editorial staff.