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Media should report the news and stop misinformation and bullying

By Staff | Jan 15, 2020

To the editor:

I’ve enjoyed reading the news and articles about current and upcoming events. However, I question what appears, in a specific Beach media outlet, to be more of promotional advertisement for a certain development on Fort Myers Beach and an avenue to criticize a certain individual who chose to challenge a decision of local government.

Every citizen in a free country has a right to challenge actions of government; I wonder what this media outlet would do if the Town Council banned all newspaper distribution on the Island?

I also question continued published references to the lawsuit as being “frivolous,” which both the Circuit Court and the Appellate Court have repudiated. In both jurisdictions the Court has determined that the action has merit and ordered the Town to respond. If it was a “frivolous” lawsuit they would not have ordered the Town to respond, rather they would have simply dismissed the Petition. For the outlet’s edification and future reference, I have provided a copy of the Second D.C.A’s order requiring the town to answer the petition, which doesn’t mean she wins, it just means they found merit to the appeal.

Constant harassment of someone who has the courage to challenge the town and a local business owner is nothing short of “bullying” and should cease and desist. This is exactly what we are trying to teach our children not to do.

Suggestions that certain candidates should be defeated before the election process begins is also not news.

Rampant disinformation, partisan news sources and social media’s tsunami of fake news is no basis on which to inform the Beach residents in 2020 nor is it respected journalism. Perhaps “journalists” who take the opinion route should take a remedial course in ethics. The Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics has four foundational principals: To seek truth and report it; to minimize harm when dealing with sources and subjects; to act independently and to be accountable and transparent.

I have represented the owner of the business often referred to and am close friends with the owner and his family as are many other people both on and off the Island. He has done a lot more for the Beach than anyone else I can think of. I have also represented the Town of Fort Myers Beach and several residents and Beach businesses in my almost 35 years of practicing law.

In my opinion, a newspaper should report the news to inform the public in hopes of bringing people together and not tear them apart. In the future I look forward to reading the news and hope that the media looks forward to writing the news and in this case “stops the bullying.”

Robert “Bob” Burandt, Esq.

Fort Myers Beach