From The Editors
Don Tucci Q&A cancelled: Here's why.
You may recall that we published a Q&A with Democratic Erie County Executive candidate Kathy Dahlkemper in our Oct. 16 issue. You also may recall that at the end of said Q&A, we stated that we'd be publishing one with Republican Erie County Executive candidate Don Tucci in the following issue.
We have elected not to publish it.
After careful consideration, we made this decision not based on partisan politics or because we're endorsing Kathy Dahlkemper — it's our policy not to endorse any candidate in any race — but on principle, because we stand by and for our writers.
Our editorial board decided to withhold Tucci's Q&A after he publicly questioned the integrity of Erie Reader contributor Rebecca Styn, who had interviewed both him and Dahlkemper for a two-part series focusing on the County Executive race.
Tucci made public his thoughts Friday, Oct. 25 on Facebook, with a post that read:
"Most often than not the media prints a slant to what a person says or does. I just submitted, to the request of Rebecca Ann Styn of the Erie Reader, answers to her questions. I hope that I do not have to post what I truly wrote to what she reports... but we'll see."
Styn, ever the consummate professional, responded: "You know, Don, I've been nothing but accommodating to you all along. That post was pretty unnecessary."
And we agree. As a seasoned journalist, Styn did nothing more than request the interview, explain the format, secure the answers, and submit them to her editor to be published as she had received them.
When it comes to our coverage of news and politics, yes, we offer opinions on behalf of the editorial board here in our op-ed From The Editors. And our contributors offer their opinions — not necessarily those of the editorial board — in their op-ed columns.
But our agenda has been and always will be to provide a forum for ideas and discussion that will help propel Erie forward. If we can be accused of anything, it's that we're unabashedly pro-Erie, regardless of any political ideology or bias. We want what's best for this city, and that ranges from kudos to criticisms.
We've demonstrated this agenda not only on our pages, but also with the Erie Reader Downtown Debate Series, an event Tucci attended and participated in when we hosted the County Executive candidates back in May — an event where he could have been an easy target for attack given his recently reported legal troubles.
Instead, we stuck to the issues that matter to the city and county and provided Tucci and his opponent a chance to explain themselves and their campaigns to the general public.
But Tucci did decide to make it personal. Why? Perhaps because it's easier to simply blame the media and play the part of the victim than to stand by his responses, which were about to be printed verbatim for all to read.
Whatever the reason, Tucci decided to take the low road and publicly question a journalist's integrity before her article even went to print. And while this isn't an endorsement of his opponent, it is certainly a non-endorsement of Don Tucci for Erie County Executive.
What's more, Tucci removed the post after Facebook users began to comment on it. Which may have worked, save for one thing: Multiple people took screenshots of what he had written, leading to the image re-appearing and the social media conversation continuing.
Tucci went on to publish the answers to the questions Styn asked on the wall to his Facebook public figure page Oct. 25. You can also find the answers he submitted to her — unedited, as they would have appeared in print — at ErieReader.com, so that you can judge them for yourself.
Why post them? Because while we want to explain the decisions we made not to publish his answers in print, we also want to remain transparent.
In our estimation, Tucci has revealed a glimpse of his true character here, making a strong case for why he isn't fit to serve Erie County as its County Executive.