LETTER: Penticton councillor responds to article

Penticton Coun. Max Picton regarding a Q&A session with media on Aug. 2.

During the media Q&A session following our Aug. 2 council meeting, the question was raised, “Who reads the Herald at least four times per week?” Out of seven individuals, I was the sole member of council without a raised hand.

Conversation ensued and finally a brief article titled “Picton passes on reading newspapers” ended up in the Herald.

What Mr. Miller failed to print in his article was the acknowledgement made during that same conversation that my news is sourced from a variety of digital platforms.

For those unaware, several platforms are available to source your local news from. These range from social feeds, such as Facebook and Twitter (which the Herald and Penticton Western News post on regularly), to online sources such as Castanet and Infotel, or others including Google Alerts, which curates news articles from the web sending them directly to my email.

With this extremely relevant portion of the conversation omitted, one can only assume this article was printed with the intent of painting the picture of an ignorant and arrogant councillor, with little regard for Penticton’s citizens or their voice. I am not surprised or offended by the backlash in the letters to the editor or the many angry emails sent my way, as I too would be angered by this.

During this conversation I also made reference to the negative content of the paper. This was not necessarily aimed at the type of news being reported on, but rather the editorial style of the Herald which, as clearly evidenced by this letter, can take advantage of half-truths to stir controversy and polarize our community in order to sell more papers.

I’ve spent 35 years growing up in this town and believe Penticton is the greatest place on earth, therefore I will continue to work hard during my term to build it up. I will also absolutely refuse to support a business that, in my opinion, happily rips it apart in an attempt to generate more profit.

I’ve been advised to never start a war of words with someone who buys ink by the barrel and rest assured, ignoring this advice is not my goal. I am very aware that submitting this could have my name dragged through the mud for the remainder of my term. With that being said, I simply felt the need to defend myself and clarify this situation.

In doing so, hopefully people may realize that the Penticton Herald may be trying to sell you a story rather than the truth.

“If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read: ‘President can’t swim’.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

Max Picton

Councillor City of Penticton