EDITORIAL — It’s election season and the truth matters now more than ever

The very first edition of The Observer: May 14, 1887. File image

This week, this newspaper marks its 134th anniversary. The very first issue of The Arlington Observer was a single, front & back, broadsheet dated May 14, 1887. And, that makes us the second-oldest business operating in Kearny. 

(Any guesses as to the oldest business in town?)

In those 134 years of operation, it has always been the policy of this newspaper not to endorse candidates for local office. After all, when was the last time you voted for a candidate because a newspaper said you should, anyway?

 Yet with that said, we do follow elections and we do offer analysis of them from time to time, especially when the stakes are high.

We watched in Lyndhurst where voters head to the polls this week to choose their representatives in a non-partisan election and in Kearny, where a Democratic primary pits five incumbents in races against four challengers — for three council seats and the mayoral nomination — on June 8.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen, online, some of the most vitriolic rhetoric in recent memory from candidates, the public, you name it. We’ve seen some of the most abhorrent lies and personal attacks. 

And it has to come to a stop. 

Have we really devolved so much as a community that it has become acceptable for lies to be told and embraced  as real?

Have we really become a nation where it is normal to attack people’s personal character, rather than their ability to lead and govern?

The amount of misinformation being proffered, not just locally, is astronomical. People of solid character have been maligned. Myths have been told as facts, and there are some out there who know no better — and who may accept these fallacies as Gospel-like.

As such, we encourage all of our readers to think long and hard when candidates say their information comes from anywhere anonymously. That is often a way of saying, “we’ve made this up, but by slapping the word ‘source’ onto it, we think you’ll believe it’s true.”

Most of the time, it is not the truth. Both locally and across the country, on social media, very little, if any, is. And the electorate deserves better. As such, you’ve been warned. And it is vitally important for each and every one of us to remember this the next time something appears to be false. 

Because very likely, it is just that — untrue.

Learn more about the writer ...

Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.