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Cerritos Resident Questions Ethics of Community Newspaper

Controversial election-related advertisements placed in the Los Cerritos Community News have fueled one Cerritos resident to question the publication's ethics and agenda.

Editor's Note: This opinion piece was submitted to Patch by Cerritos resident, Chris Foster.

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This weekend, the Los Cerritos Community News, the weekly newspaper in this town, removed a comment [on its website] about an advertisement in the newspaper.

Apparently this is one newspaper that does not believe in free speech.

In the comment, I shed light on the fact that attack ads in the newspaper were paid for by publisher Brian Hews own political action committee (Citizens for Clean And Honest Local Government). These ads contained factual errors. One asked people join “Cerritos employees” in voting against one particular candidate. Stephen Bova, president of the Cerritos employee’s union, said the ad was not sponsored by the union and lashed out at the newspaper.

Hews has gone to great lengths in what seems an effort to push his own political agenda. In one ad, he charged that one candidate was an “Agent of Communist China.”

The Service Employees International Union was credited with paying for the advertisement.  The union’s attorney vehemently denied that the SEIU was involved. The attorney asked Hews who paid for the advertisement. Hews admitted his PAC did and that the printing SEIU as the sponsor was a production error.

This is not the journalism of Otis Chandler, former publisher of the Los Angeles Times, who Hews likens himself to. No, this is the style of William Randolph Hearst and Rupert Murdoch.

City officials believe Mr. Hews is on a vendetta after Cerritos cut its advertising budget, including ads that ran in his newspaper.

The questions remain -- though not under “comments” in the Los Cerritos Community News.

Should a publisher fund attack ads pushing his own agenda? Isn’t a newspaper a watchdog not an attack dog? Is it ethical for a publisher of a newspaper to be involved in mudslinging?

These, it seems, are questions the publisher doesn't want on display.

Is it time for a new political action committee: Citizens for Clean And Honest Local Journalism. 

- Chris Foster
Cerritos resident

DJ March 06, 2013 at 08:21 AM
I commend Chris Foster for unearthing the facts which most Cerritos Residents were not aware of, and Cerritos-Artesia Patch for publishing it. The Beauty is that despite this dirty game wihch Brian Hews has played, people have spoken and the So-Called Community Newspaper will have to eat a humble pie. I salute the residents of Cerritos for not falling a prey to the misleading advertisements.
RL March 06, 2013 at 09:28 PM
I am usually against suing as a way to seek correction of a wrong, but this LCCN publisher desired to be sued just like those tabloid paper for smearing political candidate for whatever reason. Thank you, Chris, for informing us enough for to do a little reading of our own.
Jose Gonzalez March 07, 2013 at 11:49 PM
To call this "rag" a newspaper is a joke. They only put partial truths, always sided to a covert friend of the writer and never have done the background investigation to be able to establish validity!
Hello world March 08, 2013 at 07:24 PM
When it comes to the FREE newspaper (or anything else that's free) -- the old saying applies: You get what you pay for.
Local Person March 09, 2013 at 04:08 AM
Perfect.

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