Absurd chapter closed | AspenTimes.com

Absurd chapter closed

Dear Editor:

Michael Conniff finally declared the end to the tempest in a teapot regarding FAIR and myself. So, I’ll respond briefly to the absurd controversy, making the outlandish assumption that someone might actually care about it.

In Conniff’s recent radio rants about being terminated by FAIR, he declared it the “Death of Journalism” (Tuesday), the “Death of Newspapers” (Wednesday), and the “Destruction of FAIR” (Thursday). Lots of death and destruction this week down at KNFO! FAIR’s board and the local newspapers must find this as troubling as I do that his “inspired resignation” could cause such a massive domino effect for the world’s free press.

But with desperate hopes that the papers survive long enough to print this letter, I would like to address a few points in self-defense:

– Conniff’s reporter solicited an interview under false pretenses because I had twice declined an interview on the subject of their interest ” my ongoing concerns about City Hall transparency. (The reporter was too inexperienced to write that story.)

– Wary of the reporter’s skills, I required the right to review the resulting article for accuracy, in exchange for an interview on a limited subject. He agreed. Subject focus was suddenly switched during the interview, away from the agreed-upon topic. I therefore kept the interview short.

– FAIR acknowledged the agreement to submit copy for accuracy, but Conniff refused to honor the agreement.

– Given a chance to read the reporter’s notes, (not the article draft as had been agreed), I made Conniff and the FAIR board aware of material, significant and completely inaccurate, fabricated and misleading “facts” and “quotes” in the story notes. Therefore, the FAIR board chose not to print the story.

– Despite Conniff’s claims, I never asked that the story be stopped, or threatened litigation, or started rumors about him. I merely asked for the agreement to be honored.

– All of the many allegations I’ve heard him spew are without merit, and not worthy of addressing in detail.

– After FAIR refused to publish the story which did not meet their quality standards, Conniff published it on his website, full of the gross inaccuracies and mistakes my efforts were meant to avoid. The misreporting is now there for anyone to see and judge for themselves.

Hopefully, this chapter of Aspen absurdity is closed. But let’s hope that FAIR’s mission is only enhanced and rejuvenated in the process. Their goals are worthy and deserve support.

Marilyn Marks


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