Aaron Ochs is the author of “Defamers: How Fake News Terrorized a Community & Those Who Dared to Fight It,” a nonfiction uncovering the defamatory, deceptive and criminal practices of online tabloid CalCoastNews. Click here to subscribe to his Patreon, check out exclusive news features and more.
Recently, I published a column that touched on District 3 Supervisor Adam Hill’s alleged, vulgar emails to radio show host Dave Congalton. The gist of the column was that I found the moral outrage over them to be a moot point when everyone involved had unclean hands. No perfect victims.
This column turned out to be surprisingly divisive. Since then, I’ve received substantial feedback over it. Supporters of Supervisor Hill felt I didn’t give him a fair shake, unnecessarily legitimizing the bombardment of coverage of him by CalCoastNews, and not taking into account that these developments were part of a carefully coordinated political attack. And some people felt like I was overly dismissive of emails that, by every objective standard, would get the sender fired if they weren’t an elected official. The good news is that I didn’t please either side of the divide. Bad news is I’m completely jaded about the politics in this county. Nothing seems to happen.
I touched on this previously, but perhaps didn’t elaborate on my political nihilism as much as I could have.
When it comes to political campaigns, the ideal case scenario is to have candidates with a clear contrast and voters are given a clear choice. Much like what’s happening on the national level, we’re seeing candidates — who run against each other — with an abundance of moral lapses and ambiguity arising from their personal conduct. This leads voters to general unease at the polls, being forced to vote for the lesser of two evils. That’s a truly untenable position for voters to be in. Yes, it’s important for voters to vote based on the issues they care about in their community, but it’s exceedingly hard for voters to overlook the apparent disarray with the candidates.
And voters are constantly placed in the same untenable situation every election cycle. Sure, you’re always going to have candidates resorting to jabbing their opponents on issues, positions and voting records. Now, it’s about allegations and the perception of guilt with accusers…