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Mayor Platt, Councilman Amato: Storyteller Deserves Second Chance

March 9, 2010

Councilman N. John Amato & Mayor Bernie Platt

While council members “approved a revised budget Monday night for fiscal year 2010 of $63.9 million, reflecting a $600,000 increase,” Mayor Bernie Platt (back from his extended annual vacation in sunny Florida) took the opportunity at last night’s township meeting to defend his storyteller-in-chief, Dan Keashen.

The Courier Post reports:

Keashen “told a reporter I was in Cherry Hill when I was not,” Platt observed. “We have discussed this issue in great detail. I have decided he deserves an opportunity to redeem himself.”

Councilman N. John Amato said, “Our support is with Dan because Dan is the voice of Cherry Hill.

“If you want to be political, call it a lie,” Amato said. “I have to agree he misspoke.”

The “voice of Cherry Hill…misspoke.”  So this is the kind of administration that officials in the Township want to portray – one of irresponsibility and unaccountability.

Keashen didn’t just say the Mayor was out of town, but went so far as to tell a reporter that Platt was actually riding around on a township snowplow. If this is not a flat out lie, it’s certainly a far-fetched work of fiction.

Keashen is not a novice when it comes to media and press.  His bio on the Township website notes that he “has been an editor and reporter for several regional publication companies, including Journal Register, Metroweek, and Elauwit. He has written articles for the Courier Post, SJ Magazine and Power Play Magazine, and holds an MA in Writing from Rowan University with a Journalism specialization.”

Among the “Canons of Journalism” adopted by the American Society of Newspaper Editors are points on “Responsibility” and ‘Sincerity, Truthfulness, Accuracy” – none of which are being exemplified by someone who supposedly has been educated and worked in fields in which he was expected to uphold these standards.

(1) Responsibility— The right of a newspaper to attract and hold readers is restricted by nothing but considerations of public welfare. The use of newspaper makes of the share of public attention it gains serves to determine its sense of responsibility, which it shares with every member of its staff. A journalist who uses his power for any selfish or otherwise unworthy purpose is faithless to a high trust.

(4) Sincerity, Truthfulness, Accuracy— Good faith with the reader is the foundation of all journalism worthy of the name.

A. By every consideration of good faith, a newspaper is constrained to be truthful. It is not to be excused for lack of thoroughness, or accuracy within its control, or failure to obtain command of these essential qualities.
B. Headlines should be fully warranted by the contents of the articles which they surmount.

The remarks by Mayor Platt and Councilman Amato are a slap in the face to Cherry Hill residents, whose expressions of concern are of little interest to Township officials.

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