Pravdagraph writes fiction?

Note: The original version stated Doug Fansler is running for Normal Town Council, he isn’t.

By: Diane Benjamin

The new name for the local newspaper was coined by a resident of Normal with experience in the FAKE NEWS they report.  Since other media outlets get their news from the paper, it’s easy in Bloomington-Normal to have completely uniformed citizens BY DESIGN.

The topic this time was Normal’s Public Comment policy.  The media, Chris Koos, Mark Peterson, and the Town Council want you to believe they led an investigation by asking Lisa Madigan’s office to rule on the current policy.  Citizens spoke during Public Comment at Town of Normal meetings about the policy, but none were interviewed for their eventual story.  The policy limited comments by citizens during the Rivian and Portillos forays.

Doug Fansler never asks to be mentioned in a story.  He just wanted the paper to print actual news!  Informing citizens isn’t what the paper does, being government’s best buddy is.

On January 23rd the Pravdagraph finally did a story but left out many details.  They chose to print what officials at the Town of Normal told them instead of facts.  Violating the rights of citizens to address their government was ignored, government talking points took priority.  Pravda?  Obviously!

See their story  HERE

Today the Pravdagraph “cheered” the Town for seeking an opinion from the AG.  The Town should have been “JEERED” for the attitude portrayed in their article.  Citizens are obviously an inconvenience.  The opinion did say the policy has been questioned in “several venues” and by a “mayoral candidate” (Marc Tiritiili).  Since they read this site almost everyday, they know two citizens filed with the Attorney General, a fact that has never been mentioned.

Doug made numerous attempts to get an informed story.  Note the dates on the emails. 

1st email sent to the Pravdagraph on December 6th  (well before any propaganda was published and after Doug commented on the policy at a Town meeting)

From: Doug Fansler [Redacted]
Sent: Tuesday, December 6, 2016 12:38 PM
To: Derek Beigh <dbeigh@pantagraph.com>
Subject: 45 day waiting period for Normal council

Here is the details of the story you should write about.

2 minutes limit per speaker is limiting enough.

45 days – 7 of 24 meetings ~29%

30 days – 10 of 24 meetings ~40%

15 days – 12 of 24 meetings 50%

Remove the wait period completely.

Marc Tiritilli could not speak because the mayor would not wave the foolish rule.

Compare Normal to what other cities in the area have would make a good story to write.

I waited last night for anyone from the press to ask me for a quote or more info.  As it did not happen I am sending you the details hoping you will write a story.

Doug Fansler

Response:

From: Derek Beigh [mailto:DBeigh@pantagraph.com]
Sent: Tuesday, December 6, 2016 12:49 PM
To: Doug Fansler
Subject: RE: 45 day waiting period for Normal council

Hi Doug,

Thanks for this email. As you might imagine, I had another story to report last night, but I am interested in following up on this one; in fact, I mentioned the rule in today’s Pantagraph. I’ll keep you in mind when I have time to cover it in more detail.

Thanks again,

Derek

Doug’s 2nd attempt:

(Note the date)

From: Doug Fansler [Redacted]
Sent: Tuesday, December 27, 2016 10:29 AM
To: Derek Beigh <dbeigh@pantagraph.com>; mpickering@pantagraph.com
Subject: 45 day wait period for Normal town council needs to go

Here is the article you can copy and paste if needed as you appear to be too busy to write it yourself

————————–

The Normal town council has a rule in place that restricts citizens from speaking at their twice monthly meetings (24 each year).  Any citizen can speak only after 45 days have passed since the last time they spoke.  This rule also affects any special meetings that are called which would affect the numbers below.  Here is what that means and some alternative options and their impacts. Rule #7 : “Individuals shall be limited to addressing the Town Council no more than one time in a forty-five day period”.

There are 24 meetings planned for 2017.  If you were to speak at the first meeting of 2017, you would only be able to speak at a total of 8 of the 24 meetings, ~33%, based on the 45 day wait period.  If the wait period was changed to 30 days, you would only be able to speak at 10 of the 24 meetings, ~41%.  If the wait period was changed to 15 days, you would be able to speak at 12 of the 24 meetings, 50%.  The town council is aware of this issue and is seeking to confirm if this rule is legal or not per Mark Peterson.  That means they want to keep this in place so you can only speak at a little over a third of the meetings this year.  This means they really do not want open feedback from their citizens.  This means when given the facts of how restrictive this rule is (even though each speaker is limited to 3 minutes when they are able to speak) that the city administration and town council do not want to hear from the citizens of the town in 66% of the meetings.

Removing this rule would allow all citizens to speak at any of the 24 planned town council meetings and any special meetings that are called.  They would be limited to the 3 minute limit.  Bloomington does not have a wait period rule. 

Doug Fansler

Response:

From: Mark Pickering [mailto:MPickering@pantagraph.com]
Sent: Wednesday, December 28, 2016 2:43 PM
To: ‘Doug Fansler’
Subject: RE: 45 day wait period for Normal town council needs to go

Doug, you make some great points here. We’ll start working on a story….I actually think a reporter has this on his list but I’ll check and push the issue.

Mark Pickering

The Pantagraph

Editor

Doug response:

From: Doug Fansler [Redacted]
Sent: Wednesday, December 28, 2016 4:16 PM
To: ‘Mark Pickering’ <MPickering@pantagraph.com>
Subject: RE: 45 day wait period for Normal town council needs to go

Champaign, Urbana and Springfield also do not have a wait period rule.  Looks like Normal is abnormal!

Pickering response:

From: Mark Pickering [mailto:MPickering@pantagraph.com]
Sent: Wednesday, December 28, 2016 4:19 PM
To: ‘Doug and Dawn Fansler’
Subject: RE: 45 day wait period for Normal town council needs to go

It would appear so; thanks for the story idea…..

Another response:

From: Derek Beigh [mailto:DBeigh@pantagraph.com]
Sent: Tuesday, January 3, 2017 12:44 PM
To: Doug Fansler <redacted@gmail.com>
Subject: RE: 45 day wait period for Normal town council needs to go

Hi Doug,

Thanks again for your interest and persistence. As you might imagine, time is especially limited around the holidays, and I was on vacation last week. Now that I’m back, I assure you, I still plan to do this story – as soon as I clear a few other town-related stories off my plate.

Thanks,

Derek

Doug tries again:

From: Doug Fansler [Redacted]
Sent: Wednesday, January 11, 2017 12:37 PM
To: Derek Beigh <DBeigh@pantagraph.com>
Cc: mpickering@pantagraph.com
Subject: RE: 45 day wait period for Normal town council needs to go

Any update on this story?

Response:

From: Derek Beigh [mailto:DBeigh@pantagraph.com]
Sent: Wednesday, January 11, 2017 1:01 PM
To: Doug Fansler
Subject: RE: 45 day wait period for Normal town council needs to go

I’m working on it, Doug. Again, I have other stories to take care of as well.

Thanks,

Derek

Doug again:

From: Doug Fansler [Redacted]
Sent: Wednesday, January 11, 2017 7:12 PM
To: ‘Derek Beigh’ <DBeigh@pantagraph.com>
Cc: ‘Mark Pickering’ <MPickering@pantagraph.com>; newsroom@pantagraph.com
Subject: RE: 45 day wait period for Normal town council needs to go

See my original request from 12/6/2016.  It has been over a month already

It does seem odd that I have only found one city/town in Illinois that has a rule like this and it doesn’t warrant writing a story any earlier than this.  I would assume the story will come out before the election and would be very disappointed in my local news writers for not taking the time to write this story when it has been mostly written for them.  I have looked at a variety of town/city websites and have found no others that have any waiting periods at all.  Normal is abnormal (the only one I can find in Illinois with a wait period of any kind) and they are pursuing with council to see if it is legal or not.  So, they would rather see if it is legal than remove it even though they are the only city/town in Illinois that may have this rule to limit the number of meetings the public can speak at each year.

It would appear this story needs to be written by somebody.  Hopefully if Derek is too busy, an editor can assign it to someone who has time to write this story sooner rather than later.

Doug

Doug again:

From: Doug Fansler [Redacted]
Sent: Thursday, January 19, 2017 11:39 AM
To: Derek Beigh <DBeigh@pantagraph.com>
Cc: newsroom@pantagraph.com; Mark Pickering <mpickering@pantagraph.com>
Subject: RE: 45 day wait period for Normal town council needs to go

Still too busy?  More stories coming to cover for Mark Peterson?

It makes me wonder if someone with the last name of Koos or Peterson has control of what you write and don’t write about.

The only town or city in Illinois that I can find with this rule and it is now nearing 2 months and no story still.

When you forward this to them, can you CC on that communication?

 Doug

Response:

From: Julie Gerke [mailto:JGerke@pantagraph.com]
Sent: Thursday, January 19, 2017 11:53 AM
To: Doug Fansler ; Derek Beigh <dbeigh@pantagraph.com>
Cc: Mark Pickering <MPickering@pantagraph.com>
Subject: RE: 45 day wait period for Normal town council needs to go

Doug,

While I understand your frustration, we can do without the attitude. Derek is working on this as well as a number of other stories.

Julie Gerke

Managing editor

Doug’s response:

From: Doug Fansler [Redacted]
Sent: Thursday, January 19, 2017 12:15 PM
To: Pantagraph Newsroom <PNewsroom@pantagraph.com> Cc: Derek Beigh <dbeigh@pantagraph.com>; Mark Pickering <mpickering@pantagraph.com>
Subject: RE: 45 day wait period for Normal town council needs to go

Perspective, not attitude.

After Normal’s propaganda was printed:

Doug has not received a response to this email.

.

Media does have a responsibility to not be

government parrots though.

.

The press isn’t included in the 1st Amendment to serve as government mouthpieces!

BlnNews is essential, I hope you can see why now.

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Comments

  1. I’m contacting those who advertise with the Panatagraph. Hobby Lobby is my first campaign. #VALUESDONOTALLIGN If we start contacting advertisers who use the Pantagraph and those advertisers stop funding this horrible journalism perhaps they will stop the Pantagraph propaganda. Pretty soon the only advertisers the Pantagraph will have will be ISU, City of Bloomington, and Town of Normal. They won’t be able to put out a paper or afford a website.

    Like

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