Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

Real news for working families.

from the publisher

Columbia County's Lake City Journal
Karl Burkhardt - The good old boys' water boy

Columbia County Florida's Lake City Journal does an admirable job of reporting the news by press release and taking photos of folks getting awards, but when it comes to real journalism, the Journal's publisher, Karl Burkhardt gives small town politics and Columbia County's good old boys the nod over the truth.

Karl Burkhardt, rudely shooting off his flash in the face of another speaker.

Columbia County, long thought by many to be one of the most corrupt counties in Florida, has found a faithful ally in Mr. Burkhardt, who earlier this year accepted a free news gathering junket to North Carolina at county expense. Mr. Burkhardt's most recent claim to fame was mysteriously being on the scene to photograph Columbia County's Court House Cow Dung display shortly after its construction.

Burkhardt tried his hand at the facts and came up short

Last week toward the end of a Lake City Journal article about the City Council's approval of its new Personnel Policy manual, which scraped by with a narrow 3 to 2 vote, Mr. Burkhardt wrote:

Councilman George Ward said the [at will] provision means an employee can be fired without cause. “How can we be more restrictive than that?” Ward asked.

Lilker said he did not know and did not want to debate the point, but he wants the “at will” provision eliminated.

Your reporter did not say that he "did not know."

Your reporter did not say that he "did not know" and sent a short e mail to Mr. Burkhardt asking him to correct his mistake:

     I did not say I don't know and indeed did not even make that inference.
      I suggest you listen to your tape. If that fails because of poor quality then I suggest you contact the city for a tape.
      I am demanding a correction and a retraction of the phrase:  Lilker said he did not know.
      I am sure you will be able to handle this. Please advise when it is corrected or when you plan to have it corrected.  Thanks, Stew

You be the Judge The audio speaks for itself. There is no mumbling. The speakers are Mr. Lilker and Councilman Ward.

Instead of correcting his mistake, Mr. Burkhardt claimed that his misquote was "fair criticism"; that he shut off his tape recorder and that a "review of the city’s recording of the meeting indicates that Lilker responded “I don’t …) and then a mumble."

"Karl – what are you talking about?"

True to Columbia County's tradition of good old boy journalism, Mr. Burkhardt didn't get it right. The audio speaks for itself. 

The rest of Mr. Burkhardt's 1100 word silly missive requires no comment, other than "Karl – what are you talking about?"

Karl Burkhardt has proven once again that he is neither a William Safire, nor a Frank Rich and that when it comes to getting his facts straight, he is just the good old boys' water boy.

This work by the Columbia County Observer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

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