By Sean Dedalus
Sedona AZ News — The results of the November 8 mayoral election in Sedona made it painfully clear that the days where media could sway voters to do so one way or the other, may be gone.
The Red Rock News, which has been serving the community for more than half a century, made no bones about where they stood in their support for candidate Samaire Armstrong.
Yet she lost to sitting vice-mayor Scott Jablow.
Full page ads, massive editorials criticizing Jablow and the city government, failed to sway enough Sedona voters to put Armstrong over the top.
One has to ask what happened? Did the RNN believe itself to be so powerful and representative of the community that they turned a blind eye to the distrust they may have earned through the years?
The old story the “Emperor’s Clothes” comes to light.
Whether the RNN acknowledges it or not there is a solid perception in parts of the community that RNN is a bully and has been for many years, skewering anyone they thought was not towing the editorial line presented by the newspaper.
The paper has been accused of arrogance, insolence and now perhaps, impotence.
The scathing editorials on the city and Jablow may have resulted in the opposite effect they had hoped to create.
They may have actually created more, with their attacks, support for Jablow rather than Armstrong.
Armstrong’s loss should not have been so startling, given the unabashed support of the newspaper that she had.
But it was.
This is not to say that Armstrong did not run a solid campaign because she did.
This is more about voters deciding for themselves and not being moved in any direction by the press.
But this mistrust with the media is not just a Sedona thing, as this feeling the media is not on the side of truth permeates society, not just here in America but the world as well.
One can look at Sedona.biz, a Sedona news, public forum and entertainment cyber media outlet, and note that it may have tried to remain fair during the months leading to the election but may, as well, failed to achieve total neutrality.
It accepted money for ads and ran them for both candidates. And as most editors know, ads are the gravy on the potatoes that keeps editors well-fed.
No doubt the RRN, an award-winning publication, has always been driven to speak and communicate truth as they perceive it.
It has a huge readership and cyber presence.
Yet, it could not sway enough of the public to vote for the candidate they supported.
What does that tell us?
The days of the public being manipulated by special interests through newspapers, TV news, etc. might be coming to an end.
The best those in the media can do now is to pay rapt attention to their own prejudices, wade through all illusions and somehow report their best perception of what they believe is truth.