To paraphrase Buffalo Springfield, “There’s something happening at The Villages Daily Sun; what is ain’t exactly clear.”
Traditionally, the Daily Sun has not published editorials. Instead of editorials supporting the Developer’s interests, the Daily Sun has either buried, spun, distorted, or lied about news reflecting unfavorably upon The Villages or the Developer. A few examples of this are:
• The Daily Sun’s series of “articles” about the new Sumter County Commissioners Estep, Miller, and Search, who were elected in a landslide when three of the Developer’s puppet Commissioners were thrown out of office. The “articles” were rife with personal attacks on the new Commissioners and full of spin, distortions, and lies about the Developer’s sweetheart impact fee and the 25 percent property-tax hike that the Developer’s puppet Commissioners instituted to preserve it.
• The Daily Sun’s burying the scandal about Representative Hage’s frustrating the new Commissioners by sponsoring state legislation tailored to protect the Developer’s sweetheart impact fee and worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the Developer (at the expense of Hage’s constituents) while Hage was on the Developer’s payroll for $350,000.14. [While it is obvious what Hage did for the $350,000.00, perhaps The Daily Sun could have revealed what he did for the 14 cents.]
• The Daily Sun’s “Letters to the Editor” column’s traditionally insulating the Developer from public criticism by refusing to publish any letters critical of the Developer or The Villages or that were “political”.
Surprisingly, a couple of weeks ago, things started to change. The Daily Sun actually published an editorial. The editorial was, not surprisingly, a vitriolic attack on the new commissioners. It was full distortion and lies, but at least it was labeled an editorial and was not disguised as a news article. More recently, on Oct. 3, the Daily Sun actually published a letter that was critical of its coverage of the new Commissioners.
So, something is happening at The Daily Sun, and what it is ain’t exactly clear. What could it be? Could the Daily Sun fitfully be inching its way toward journalistic integrity?
Scott Fenstermaker is a resident of The Villages.