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Candidate Liz Cassidy Subjected to Erroneous Attacks
If we become complacent about published unfounded attacks on good people running for political office, we lose our democracy. Freedom of the press is not freedom to lie and be malicious. Freedom of the press demands accountability.
Elizabeth Cassidy is running for Warwick Town Justice. She is eminently qualified and has my vote but this is not what I want to address. Cassidy has been unfairly attacked in the Warwick Valley Dispatch and has not been given an opportunity to refute the charges.
Last week, the Dispatch published in its print edition, online edition and via its Facebook page a Letter to the Editor from a former client of Cassidy to the effect that she had violated an escrow agreement and inappropriately released funds to a third party. In effect, she was accused of a crime. If she had done what she was accused of, she would have been sent to the ethics board immediately. The court ordered her to release funds and she did what she was required to do as part of an escrow agreement. Had she acted otherwise, she would have been in contempt of court.
The Dispatch did not do due diligence before publishing this attack on Cassidy nor apparently checked with the court as the court order referenced is a matter of public record in the county clerk's office. And, at a minimum of decency and journalistic integrity, Cassidy should have been asked to comment.
On more than one occasion the Dispatch has published allegations against Cassidy concerning her role as Attorney for the Village of Florida. Law is complicated but getting both sides of a story, in a case like this, is a requisite. The Dispatch has displayed extreme partisanship by publishing only part of the narrative and turning Liz Cassidy into a villain and worse, when she is not. It is as if the Dispatch not only wants her to lose the election but would like her to lose her livelihood, too. Why? She is running as a Democrat and the Warwick Valley Dispatch’s default is to attack, often without any grounds and in a nasty manner, any Democrat running for office.
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Warwick, New York