Yesterday I wrote about a situation in northwest North Dakota in which the Tioga Tribune published a false statement regarding the Common Core State Standards. It’s not entirely uncommon for news publications to get things wrong but refusing to correct an error isn’t exactly acceptable— especially when it makes someone look bad.
For those who haven’t yet read yesterday’s article, Tioga Tribune writer Jacob Orledge wrote in last week’s paper that the Common Core State Standards are no longer used in schools across North Dakota. Unfortunately, that isn’t true. Common Core was simply rebranded as North Dakota Standards after efforts to eliminate them through the legislature failed. You can see the evidence here.
Mr. Orledge’s snafu was problematic in and of itself. But to make matters worse, the context in which it was done made a Ray School Board candidate — a man named Shilo Kilber — look bad in the process. Kilber had made statements expressing his desire to see Common Core eliminated. So, for Orledge to pretend that the standards had been replaced in 2017 wasn’t a good look for Kilber to the casual reader.
Initially it appeared that this situation seemed to be nothing more than an uninformed journalist parroting a falsehood that had originated with our State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Kirsten Baesler. Yet, because of today’s edition of the Tioga Tribune, I have no question this is intentional. The Tioga Tribune is simply set on making Shilo Kilber look bad— even if it takes a lie to do it.
Just like last week’s edition, a reader of The Minuteman sent me this screenshot from today’s paper:
Under the heading “Background on North Dakota’s use of Common Core” is an “Editor’s Note”. And in it we find this statement, “The education standards in use from 2011 to 2017 in North Dakota, which were Common Core, are no longer in use.” (Emphasis Added) In other words, rather than retract the false statement from last week, they’re doubling down on it.
To make matters worse, this editorial note goes on to once again portray Shilo Kilber as though he is the one who doesn’t know what he’s talking about. It’s absolutely pathetic.
What’s fascinating is that published above this is a Letter to the Editor— from none other than Shilo Kilber himself. In it, Kilber attempts to correct Orledge’s error by literally doing a side-by-side comparison of one of the “North Dakota Standards” to Common Core. And — no surprise — they’re one and the same. He even cites his sources for readers to see the entirety of the standards for themselves.
Is there any question that the Tioga Tribune isn’t interested in the truth? To think they’d double down on the lie they’re perpetuating — after Kilber literally proved he knew exactly what he was talking about — is unthinkable. But that’s exactly what they’ve done.
A reputable newspaper would pride themselves on accuracy. A responsible journalist would take the necessary steps to correct errors for which they are responsible. After all, failure to do so would rightfully engender distrust among readers and the community at large. Unfortunately, when it comes to the Tioga Tribune and Jacob Orledge, it seems that accuracy and responsibility aren’t really that important when they’re set on carrying out a political agenda.
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- Local Paper Spreads Baesler’s Lie, Makes School Board Candidate Look Bad – The Minuteman Blog
- North Dakota’s Math & English Standards are the Result of Plagiarism – The Minuteman Blog