Earlier this evening I received an email from a person who was on the fence about whether or not they were going to vote for me. They wrote, “I just voted for you.” I replied, “Did you see the new article on LoCo about how I’m supposedly posing as three different women?” She said, “I didn’t know how I was going to vote until I read that article. It really pissed me off because they did the same thing to Karen Paz Dominguez. I really detest these last-minute dirty tricks, so it backfired on them. My mom voted for you, too”
Or wait- did I make up this woman and her mother, too…?
Despite some of the media’s best efforts, much of the public sees through these charades to assassinate my character.
The other outlet that unashamedly libels me is the Mad River Union. Kevin Hoover holds no punches when it comes to completely misrepresenting everything about me. I’ll suggest an idea during a council meeting that everyone agrees with and Kevin writes, “Watson went off the rails during the meeting…”
There’s really no conspiracy here. It’s all in public records. The City of Arcata is Kevin Hoover’s #1 advertiser, spending thousands of dollars a year with him. Money that’s probably crucial for his survival at this point. Why would he bite the hand that feeds him?
It’s pretty much the same story with LoCo. The City of Arcata also spends thousands of dollars a year with them. From my experience, the ethical practice for a news organization is to disclose to and remind their readers when the subject of an article is also one of their sponsors. It doesn’t seem like either of them prescribes to this practice. It’s also noteworthy that the person who’s made false allegations against me also approves the payments to them. No conflict of interest there.
To their credit, they don’t discriminate against whom they’ll take money from. While the Mad River Union looks for every opportunity to mislead the public with false information about me, they’re cashing my campaign checks and running front-page ads for me. I’ve also been really happy to see my ads appearing all over the front page of LoCo, and on some of their radio stations. For two “news” organizations to hold such strong opinions about what a horrible person I am, it’s striking that they’ll take my money. But it’s just business, right?
Now, Kevin Hoover and Hank Sims have taken to harassing women online and essentially doxing them with whatever speck of information they can find. This evening I emailed Ms. Goldstein for some public records she told me she had. I apologized to her for the negative attention she was getting from the media, and in her reply she said, “… it’s overwhelming for me. I don’t know what I’m going to do.” Good thing you blew this story wide open, LoCo.
Yes, it looks like I am friends with these three people, just as I’m friends with 1800 other people on Facebook. I constantly receive friend requests, and sometimes I send them myself. My only real criterion is that I either know the person and/or they live in Arcata or within Arcata’s planning area. Of course, I don’t personally know 1800 people. But I’m a public servant and I try to make myself available to as many people as possible.
Do I fixate on them, pick apart their identities, and reverse-search their profile pictures? Of course not. How can anyone think that’s okay to do, then call them out to the public? I guess if you’re in the business of clicks, it’s just good business. How many people reading this are using a fake name and profile picture in the comments section or on another one of your social media channels? It’s a very common practice for people who want to protect themselves from reprisal. Or in the case of the LoCo comments section, people who want to anonymously say horrible things about you that they don’t have the courage to say using their real name. This is also actually encouraged and accepted behavior by LoCo. But I guess the comments of these women didn’t fit the narrative LoCo has been desperately trying to maintain. They only attack the accounts supporting me and then ignore all of the accounts using fake names and pictures attacking me.
Hank Sims doesn’t say why their comments were deleted and their accounts were banned, other than they made comments supporting me.
In the LoCo article about these women, Hank Sims essentially challenges them to make themselves known. Do you really think they’re going to want to talk to you after you just publicly shamed them for their political views?
Two months ago, I was in the LoCo comments section of an article on Arcata candidates answering questions and attempting to dispel false information. The people in there were really nasty. I tried to take the high road and stay focused on the issues. Before I knew it, I was getting blasted by really the same two or three people, including “Angie C.”, and at one point Angie C. told me it was “distasteful” to be responding to comments in an article that talked about me. Then, the sculpting of public opinion started to happen. Comment after comment of mine was deleted and when I simply asked why this was happening, Angie C. banned my account. I emailed Hank Sims and Patrick Cleary asking why. No reply. Last month I asked Hank again why my account was banned, and he replied, “I don’t know.” Okay.
On my website BrettWatson.org you’ll find a new link to this article accompanied by screenshots of all of the comments Angie C. and LoCo deleted. I’ll let you judge for yourself how off the rails they were. You’ll also find the letter to the editor I sent to the Mad River Union, and which they published. I’m sure they were eager to support criticism of the media outlet that’s been putting them out of business.
At what point did we decide as a Community that it’s okay for our governments to influence the media, and for the media to control our perceptions? I don’t remember ever agreeing to those deals. We like to think that we’re different here in Humboldt. That the corruption and manipulation that we see in the national news don’t make it through the Redwood Curtain. Sadly, the evidence tells a different tale.