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Out Here: No one is entirely unbiased

Published: Tuesday, April 8, 2014 11:14 a.m. CST

When folks accuse the newspaper of having bias in its coverage, my response is simple: They're absolutely right. How could we not?

We're humans influenced by our life experiences. We make subjective judgments every day – where we place stories, how we focus our stories, what we decide to cover. Our job is to remove as much bias as possible from our news coverage, but we can't completely eliminate it.

Today, townships hold their annual meetings, which are required by state law. Whiteside and Lee counties each have 22 townships. We want to attend one of the meetings. The question is, which one?

Sterling is a good standby as the largest township in the two counties; we covered its meeting last year. Dixon Township would be another good choice; it is Supervisor Ed Fritts' first annual meeting at the helm.

We decided to cover Rock Falls-based Coloma Township. Until recently, this township went years without turning in required financial reports to the state, with the Illinois comptroller threatening $13,000 in fines in response. As of late, the Coloma board has become irritated with Supervisor Debra Burke's performance.

Until recently, the public story from Coloma has been, "Everything is just fine." Not so anymore.

We believe tonight's meeting at Coloma will probably be the most newsworthy among local townships, but we could be wrong.

What do you think?

Harn's "Hall of Shame"

In a recent column, I reported on the "Hall of Shame" illustration that appeared on Ogle County Sheriff Michael Harn's campaign Facebook page for a short time before the election. 

Receiving the dubious Hall of Shame honors were Brian VanVickle, the Rochelle police officer who later beat Harn in the GOP primary; a Forreston gun dealer who supported Harn in the last election but switched to VanVickle this time; and State's Attorney Mike Rock, who lost in his re-election bid.

I'm not sure why Rock was included. Harn and Rock had no public disputes.

When I called Rock, he said he had heard about the illustration after it had been taken down.

Rock declined to speculate why Harn put his name in the illustration.

"My campaign was focused on educating the public," he said. "I wasn't really focused on the sheriff's race."

I reached out to Harn, but he didn't get back with me.

The two men are in their positions for nearly 8 more months; because of the nature of their jobs, they'll probably have to work with each other from time to time.

David Giuliani is a news editor for Sauk Valley Media. You can reach him at dgiuliani@saukvalley.com or 800-798-4085, ext. 525. Follow him on Twitter: @DGiuliani_SVM.

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