How False Stories Start.
How False Stories Start. (An Email from The Niagara Reporter)
Our campaign is committed to discussing your quality of life issues and calling out false information when it comes up. Today, Nick D’Angelo, Editor of The Niagara Reporter emailed me with questions that will likely lead to an article that will misrepresent events in a way to benefit my opponent and major advertiser, Robert Restaino. Because of Mr. D’Angelo and The Niagara Reporter’s track record, I am sharing his questions (bolded below) and my responses. Thank you - Seth.
Dear Mr. D’Angelo:
Answers to your questions are below. As discussed in the past, I have no faith that you will accurately report information as you admitted to printing false quotes attributed to me in the past, and continue to publish false information related to me. Because of that precedent, I will share this response with the public as well.
(1) did your campaign print and distribute the negative article against your opponent Robert M. Restaino that was being handed out to attendees at the debate held on May 29th, 2019?
My campaign did not print or distribute any flyers on May 29. Any literature from our campaign states “Paid for by Piccirillo for Niagara Falls.” After the debate, I observed one of Mr. Restaino’s supporters losing their temper in the lobby. I asked what was going on, and we had a brief conversation. At that point, I learned that there was not a flyer, but rather a printout of a CNN article describing Mr. Restaino’s removal from the City Court bench for improperly imprisoning 46 people over a ringing cell phone that upset him. As I have proven in this campaign, our message comes from me. Unlike other candidates, I do not rely on third parties and my campaign did not print or distribute any literature at the debate.
(2) if your campaign did not organize said distribution, do you condone supporters of yours doing so on your behalf?
You edit and distribute a paper that traffics primarily in false information. It is not up to me to condone your paper, but I still understand your right to publish it, and I expect you will continue to print falsehoods for as long as my opponent and your other advertisers pay you to operate. I did not have anything whatsoever to do with flyers being handed out. They were not handed out on my behalf. In the United States, the Constitution “condones” and protects free speech, particularly when that speech accurately represents the facts.
(3) do you believe that your campaign needs to go negative in order to come out on top in the primary election?
Mr. D’Angelo, you passed petitions for Mr. Restaino. Mr. Restaino is one of your few remaining advertisers. You have repeatedly published false information about me, and when challenged with facts, you declined to correct the record and instead suggested that I file an injunction. With today’s email, you have decided that someone sharing a CNN article about my opponent’s removal from the bench by the New York State Court of Appeals for jailing 46 people is “going negative.” If your goal is to assist Mr. Restaino as you have in the past, I think you have made a miscalculation. I am discussing tax reduction and neighborhood issues as the way to win this primary. I am holding you accountable for repeated lies, pay to play journalism and a lack of ethics as the way to win this primary. I have presented my platform, body of work and temperament, in contrast to my opponent’s, as the way to win this primary. Who “comes out on top” is the voters’ decision.
(4) do you have a comment on the rumor that Kristen Grandinetti was promised a role in your administration if you become the next mayor?
This last question speaks to the heart of who you are Mr. D’Angelo. Given you, and your paper’s history, your predatory tendencies do not surprise me. I would ask you to source the rumor, but I am sure you will not. Ms. Grandinetti is a teacher and has never asked for a role in a future administration. I have not offered jobs to anyone, as my only political focus in the June 25 primary. You, as you have done and will do again, try and create false connections and story lines. I will continue to present myself as my own candidate with my own specific platform to improve the quality of life for our residents and provide leadership that Niagara Falls can be proud of.
I am responding to these questions because I respond to every comment/question sent to this campaign. The conventional wisdom is to either ignore The Reporter’s false information or advertise in it. Our campaign is proving that there is a third way; just be honest, present a plan to voters and call out lies. The Niagara Reporter, and the behavior described in that CNN article, are both part of an embarrassing political past that we need to finally move beyond.