AllOnGeorgia has had a presence in Chattooga County for nearly two years now. In those two years, relationships have been built, a community has been revived, team members have earned the trust of its readers, while reporting state and local news to the People of Chattooga County. Two years is a very short time to do all of that.

In that time, AllOnGeorgia has never mentioned The Summerville News, but today that changes because the integrity of AllOnGeorgia has been called into question. 

In this week’s edition of the newspaper, The Summerville News published an article on its front page titled “Fake News: Lenderman Never Talked with Online Reporter.” The attack piece is in response to an article published by AllOnGeorgia last week titled, “A Penny for Your Budget” on the school board millage rate and the proposed property tax increase – an issue plaguing Chattooga County right now. In the newspaper article, AllOnGeorgia is not mentioned by name, but everyone knows to which online reporter they are referring – after all, AllOnGeorgia – Chattooga pulls in between 225,000 to 250,000 views each month.

The Summerville News is skirting a libel lawsuit on a technicality by using the word ‘talked’ because ‘talked’ implies spoken words. It is true that no telephone or in-person conversation was had with Mr. Lenderman, however, multiple texts were exchanged in a conversation in which Mr. Lenderman provided a direct quote for publishing. It is disappointing for the newspaper to insinuate that written communication, an industry standard in 2017, is fake news. ‘Fake’, by definition, means counterfeit, not genuine, forgery, a sham, or something that is false. A direct quote issued for publication by Mr. Lenderman is clearly not “false” or “fake.” Are there no other feature stories out there outside of sinking into the mud to attack a clear competitor?

But this isn’t the first time The Summerville News has taken advantage of the content of AllOnGeorgia to bolster itself. Just last week, the paper refuted another article published on AllOnGeorgia about a report released by the Environmental Working Group on county water systems. The article generated a great deal of traffic and conversation, but the newspaper’s angle was, once again, to try to discredit AllOnGeorgia.

AllOnGeorgia is built on a model that is replicated in every county it serves: build relationships, establish trust, report the facts.

AllOnGeorgia thrives the most in communities where people desire the truth and, in many cases, newspapers cultivate the richest soil for us to plant our roots. After years of cookie cutter articles and perpetuated rhetoric of elected officials, readers grow tired of the same ol’ stuff – and understandably so. AllOnGeorgia is the sunshine in the dark and shines brighter when there is resistance from competition. The Summerville News has demonstrated that it is more concerned with playing the role of a dog claiming its proverbial territory than it is with providing quality content on events and happenings around Northwest Georgia.

AllOnGeorgia is politely requesting a retraction and an apology from The Summerville News and its editorial team, but should that request go unanswered, AllOnGeorgia will continue to provide the community with the same honest and up-to-date news we always have.

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Jessica Szilagyi is statewide contributor for All On Georgia and Market Manager for Southeast Georgia. Her main focus with All On Georgia is state and local politics as well as agriculture. She’s served as a policy analyst at the State Capitol and as a campaign manager in political races across the state.

She writes for GeorgiaPol.com and has two blogs of her own: ‘The Perspicacious Conservative’, a political blog, and ‘Hair Blowers to Lawn Mowers’, a blog on moving from Atlanta to rural Georgia. Jessica is also a contributor for Fox5 Atlanta’s ‘Like it Or Not.’

2 COMMENTS

  1. Jason Espy writes stories based on truth but strechted out way out of reality to fit the Espy agenda. The Espy days are numbered. NoOne reads print papers anymore.

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