Two weeks ago we ran a pair of stories on the front page about two people protesting President Donald Trump – Karen Fonseca and Gale McCray. The feedback came fast and furious and was filled with spite and hate. To read the emails, letters, and comments on social media, you would think that we were in cahoots with the protestors and that the Fort Bend Star is in league with some left-wing media conspiracy to remove Trump from office.
Let me tell you, nothing could be further from the truth. We are not part of any conspiracy and I am about as conservative Christian as they come. Although I can’t speak for the ownership, I dare say they would identify the same way. As responsible journalists, however, we can’t let personal biases get in the way of reporting the news.
Since nearly every single person contacting us about the stories lacked the personal integrity to allow us to use their names with their comments, I’m going to share a few of these nastygrams anonymously to give you an example of the vitriol that has been spewed at us for the last couple weeks. I’m sharing these abbreviated but otherwise unedited, as written, mistakes and all.
“Why the f**k would you print 2 anti Trump stories on the first page? You do realize he was elected president of the USA by the people of the USA! Where the f**k is your head give the man the support that goes with the office, Who gives a f**k about Karen F**koff or the old man and his sign? I put you in the category with CNN and its fake news. F**k your newspaper ! They would like you in the Middle East.. Put my address on your don.t not throw list, you commie bastards”
Given the fact that we have received a high volume of response to these stories and they did happen here, I’d say that makes it local news.
“Please check your facts before reporting … There is so much more to the story…..eventually it will all come out. Freedom of speech…we all have that right but her arrest was based on her not being a good citizen.”
There is always a lot more to every story. The purpose wasn’t to dig into her past, but to giver her a chance to tell her side of the story after Sheriff Troy Nehls told his the previous week – a fact that many people seem to have overlooked or forgotten.
“What a shock to my system. The front page of your December 20, 2017 issue of The Star was. I have read your newspaper for years and have enjoyed it. I considered it a newspaper covering local news with an objective view point. However, I detected a rather strong point of view on page 1 as belittling President Donald Trump in your choosing to highlite two articles
- Trump that boy don’t act right
- F-Trump woman tells her side story …
I’ve had it ‘up to here’ with the media, TV comedians and actors and actresses and musicians insulting me personally, my intelligence and my judgment because I voted for Trump. And, if I’m not mistaken, you as editor of this newspaper think so too. I’d be crazy to continue giving you my precious time when I know what you think of me. … I watch CNN and FOX too. I like to hear both view points. I recommend that you do too. I read the main, most important page of your newspaper and have decided not to read it again.”
Is this guilt by association? Just because we report on something does not necessarily mean we agree with it.
“I saw the ‘white garbage truck’ in the HEB parking lot. It’s more offensive in person than seeing it on tv. It should read, ‘truck occupied by trash’. I’d hate to have young kids who see a ‘supposed adult’ displaying such garbage. I feel sorry for their kids.”
“…that’s why any journalistic viewpoint, merely giving coverage or actual support to Fonseca, is called ‘yellow journalism.’ Sensationalism sells.”
Our paper is delivered free. We’re not trying to sell copies. We are reporting local news.
“I read your editorial about the Trump hater and her husband. I understand the need for free speech but not the need for vulgar free speech, especially where children can see it. Isn’t there an obscenity law? I also don’t see the need to show the crybabies that don’t like the fact that Trump won the election fair and square. … These two people ( I use that term loosely) have no class at all. Mrs. Fonseca said she had 12 children & this is the way she is raising them? Where is CPS?
I also don’t understand why you give this loser of a husband and wife team free publicity. There must be other quality stories your paper could cover during this time of the year about acts of unrequired kindness people do for one another in the aftermath of Harvey, the floods, the shootings and other things that have happened during the past year. Your paper put the two of them on the front page?
If stories like this are published because the news media likes to sensationalize the news, then you have succeeded. Even if you succeeded, you have lowered yourself to the level of these two and in doing that, you ultimately have failed to maintain your own decency and integrity.”
The week before we had front-page stories about a woman who is continuing to help victims of Hurricane Harvey, as well as the arrival of a nonprofit organization that helps abused women. Those stories didn’t elicit nearly the same response. Also, I think I maintain my integrity for printing stories with viewpoints so diametrically opposed to my own. It shows we are trying to be fair and balanced in our coverage.
Not all the response was negative. I wrote a column in the same edition of the paper denouncing Fonseca (the F-Trump woman) and many people agreed with my conclusions.
“As a former journalist myself, I thought your editorial was well done in that you certainly showed both sides of the issue yet came to the right conclusion. I especially liked your close: “find a positive message that will help solve problems, not create them.” We’re in an awful divide right now. I’m a Trump supporter and the new tax bill will be awesome for all; and, hopefully, change the opinions of the many Trump haters. Although doubt it. It’s hard to get rid of hate. And, I say that about many of my intelligent friends and family.”
“Your column in the December 20th issue of the STAR regarding the woman (I won’t refer to her as a lady) with the vulgar signs on her pick-up was very well written. I totally agree with your opinion, and I commend you for writing it.”