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Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Lake City

Columbia Cnty's Mainstream Media & the Blanche: Fake Headline, Twisted Facts, False Praise

LAKE CITY, FL – On Sunday, August 27, 2017, Lake City's mainstream media and daily newspaper of record, the Lake City Reporter (LCR) published, what it called, a "Special Report." The lead off piece was an editorial titled "The Blanche: A failed experiment." While the paper's newly found sentiment is one shared by mostly everybody - everywhere, except four of the five people on the City Council, the Blanche Project has not failed yet. Only time will tell, should the City Council approve the final agreements. The LCR's special report has given a new headline to an old article to make it seem like it was against the project before it really was.

Background

Links to Blanche stories are here.

The saga of the Blanche Hotel in recent times has had a circuitous path going forward from 2009 when the Observer began the coverage of the Blanche.

In December of 2014 the LCR reported that a Valdosta firm was looking to get involved in the renovation of the Blanche. This began its recent coverage.

The newspaper was generally four square behind the project throughout its coverage, until recently, causing Community Redevelopment Advisory Committee (CRAC) member Gloria Spivey to wonder during the August 8, 2017 CRAC meeting what turned the paper against Blanche project?

The August 27 Lake City Reporter "Special Report"

Fake Headline – Misleading

The LCR, which lately branded itself as "your community watchdog, now and forever," began page 2 of its Special Report with the headline, "Blanche Plan Hatched in Secret." The paper claimed this article, which first ran on Sept. 22, 2015, documented where "things started to go wrong."

The "community watchdog" changed the headline of its 2015 article.


The Special Report of Mr. Britt's September 22, 2015 article was given a bogus headline.

The unchanged headline is the one below.


Mr. Britt's complete story began with this headline.

The article didn't document anything going wrong. It was a straightforward article about a City Council meeting by veteran reporter Tony Britt.

The LCR changed its own headline making it seem like it criticized the Integrity Development Partners (IDP) plan, which it didn't. 

The next article by the LCR was again by Tony Britt and ran on January 11, 2016, "Plans for the Blanche on Track." There were no discouraging words and the paper still seemed behind the project.

Finally, on December 20, 2016, LCR publisher Todd Wilson in an Op-ED mentioned that he "had grave concerns about this [the Blanche] project."

The newspapers concerns sat mainly dormant until recently, when it reinvented the past.

Part II coming later today

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The CRA Master Plan is available here. (25Mb)