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Editorial:

Misleading people with flier shameful

January 27, 2008

It remains to be seen whether members of Newporters Vote No on B made a political wrong turn when they mailed a full-color flier to Newport Beach residents last week that gave the impression that the Daily Pilot supported their cause.

But it was doubtless a dirty tactic.

And we ask group leaders to apologize.

The flier used the Daily Pilot’s logo and a quote supporting the group’s cause taken from a reader’s comment on the newspaper’s website. The newspaper prints a selected reader’s response to local issues every day in a “Web Threads” box on its front page.

Those responses represent the opinion of the reader, not the newspaper.

The defense offered up by Scott Hart, a political consultant for the group, seemed snarky, at best: “With circulation for local papers in Orange County down the way it has been, I don’t see anything wrong with a little free advertisement,” he said.

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Attorney Karlene Goller, vice president of legal and deputy general counsel for the Los Angeles Times, said the reader’s quote used in the political mailer was taken out of context and misrepresented the Daily Pilot’s editorial stance.

“They have misrepresented the Daily Pilot’s position on the matter — that’s not fair, and that’s false," Goller said. “I would hope they would be honest enough to own up to it and fix it.”

The bottom line is Newporters Vote No on B used creative cobbling to mislead voters into thinking the Daily Pilot is opposed to the measure, which calls for a city hall in the park and will appear on the ballot Feb. 5.

Hart said the group City Hall in the Park, which is in favor of the measure, has also mailed out campaign literature featuring the newspaper’s logo and a Daily Pilot editorial endorsing Measure B. The difference: That literature did not misrepresent the Pilot’s editorial views. We do, in fact, support Measure B.

For voters to make informed decisions, it’s important that they have at their disposal good, grounded information. When they are presented with smoke-and-mirrors, it is our duty to demystify the illusion.

In this case: Shame on Newporters Vote No on B.

The question of where to built a new Newport Beach headquarters future is an important one.

This isn’t some magic show, it’s a democratic election.

What next? Sleight of hand? Fire? Coins disappearing? A rabbit in a hat?


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