A few days ago, the Chestertown Spy published a letter to the editor regarding a recent League of Women Voters election forum with School Board candidates. And like every letter of this kind the Spy receives, a honor system kicks in where the Spy staff, lacking the resources to investigate the identity of each author, must rely on the good faith of the writer to identify themselves correctly.
For almost fourteen years, that system has worked well. Like the community itself, our writers have been honest and forthright about who they are and where they live in their correspondence. That has provided genuine creditability to the writer’s point of view and fulfills the Chestertown Spy’s mission to provide a safe and honest forum for the exchange of ideas.
Sadly, that trust was violated when the Spy published a letter signed by a “Bob Crandall” of Worton, Maryland.
Yesterday, the Spy suspended the comments section related to this letter to give the author 24 hours to confirm their identity. Having failed to respond to our request, we have no choice but to remove that letter and the 14 reader comments it generated.
We apologize to our readers for publishing this letter. It is profoundly regrettable that someone in this small county would intentionally mislead their community and damage our newspaper’s creditability.
This incident will require the Spy to initiate new policies on vetting letters to the editor and comments. While it can be said that this is a “sign of the times” shift in policy, it reminds this publisher that even in a small community such as ours, we can not escape the harmful dishonesty that is now part of American politics.
Publisher and Executive Editor