My team is in the process of scheduling weekly speaking events through September to discuss a variety of subjects about the school system. Potential topics include supporting students through COVID, educational opportunity gaps, policing of students, supporting student mental health, youth activism, and HCPSS and the climate.
I will be attending a Columbia Democratic Club event on the morning of Saturday, September 5th. I have also declined the invitation by a local blogger to join his Facebook channel. In addition to the timing, the event presented lacked objectivity, format details, and effective moderation. During the primaries the forum in question was unable to present calm, concise, and managed events without interruptions and personal attacks. This September 5th invitation presented no format details beyond “candidate forums / debates similar to what I did in the Primary”. Was the invitation for a candidate forum or was it for a debate? Furthermore, in partnership with a coalition of right-wing organizations, the blogger had attempted to usurp the nonpartisan League of Women Voters as the trusted go-to questionnaire for local elections.
I have engaged the blogger in question multiple times in the past. In February, the forum had offered podcast interviews which would be “super simple and not controversial at all”, but outreach offering a week to meet went unreturned. In July, I attempted to become an advertising partner with the connected blog, following the instructions from a June 26th solicitation. Again, the outreach went unreturned. These unresponded communication attempts, combined with information that the organizer was personally supportive of the opposing candidate, gave the impression of a moderator with undisclosed bias that will lack objectivity.
In the end it only required a brief “Respectfully, the Matthew Molyett campaign will be declining this invitation.” for the moderator to drop any appearance of objectivity and announce the intent to begin using the platform to formally endorse. The campaign respects the decision to provide truth and transparency in this platform. Sharing my private communications without prior warning or consent was a breach of trust from someone purporting to be a neutral provider of information. I am now confident that this blogger is no longer an unbiased source of information in the community.