Sunday, March 22, 2015

19 Days Later: Still no apology from The Palm Beach Post editorial board to Mr. Bornstein

"It’s healing time, folks."
—Rick Christie, Editor of the Palm Beach Post editorial board, 3/15/2015

Mr. Christie's sentiment is ringing hollow.

Prior to March 3, 2015, there have been no news reports in The Palm Beach Post (or anywhere else I am aware of) concerning any alleged inappropriate activity by Lake Worth City Manager Michael Bornstein. Not one single reference. Mr. Bornstein has had a stellar career and has many supporters both within the City and throughout Palm Beach County. He has a good, solid reputation.

On March 3rd, Stacey Singer at the Post editorial board, penned the candidate endorsements for Commissioner McVoy and then-candidate Ryan Maier. It is her freedom to endorse the candidates she and the Post choose to endorse. However, it was completely unnecessary and unfair to lead the public to believe City Manager Bornstein may have been engaged in inappropriate behavior and using a clever oblique reference to the Sunshine Law.

In today's editorial (3/22) the Post came out strongly in defense of the county's Office of Inspector General and the need for the cities to do their part funding the OIG. The matter, it would seem, comes down to the issue of trust in government, no?

If they feel so strongly about trust then why would the Post, just nineteen days ago, unfairly call into question the ethics and public trust of a hard-working public official like City Manager Bornstein? He did nothing wrong. His only 'crime' was being the city manager during an election cycle in our City of Lake Worth.

Rick Christie and The Palm Beach Post editorial board set a very bad precedent:
Argument from ignorance (Latin: argumentum ad ignorantiam), also known as appeal to ignorance (in which ignorance stands for "lack of evidence to the contrary"), is a fallacy in informal logic. It asserts that a proposition is true because it has not yet been proven false (or vice versa). This represents a type of false dichotomy in that it excludes a third option, which is that there is insufficient investigation and therefore insufficient information to prove the proposition satisfactorily to be either true or false. [emphasis added] Nor does it allow the admission that the choices may in fact not be two (true or false), but may be as many as four,
  1. true
  2. false
  3. unknown between true or false
  4. being unknowable (among the first three).
In debates, appeals to ignorance are sometimes used to shift the burden of proof.