Sunlight recently had a surprising exchange with Nancy Solomon, the managing editor of New Jersey Public Radio. Solomon was a recipient of a Sunlight email blast promoting our most recent report on the record-breaking $310,000 that was spent to elect NJEA President Sean Spiller mayor of Montclair.
In relevant part, Solomon replied: “Charter school shills who attack public school teachers.”
Sunlight responded: “These are all facts. We defy you to point to one assertion in our report – just one – that is not factual. It is also a fact that Sunlight has never taken a position on charter schools. Period. Please address our facts not your preconceived biases.”
Thereupon, to her credit, Solomon issued an apology saying her response was “rude and disrespectful.” Not knowing that Solomon ran NJ Public Radio, Sunlight accepted her apology and commended her for giving it. But then we saw from her email address that she worked at WNYC, and then found that she ran NJ Public Radio.
Sunlight is all for civil discourse and would have let the incident go if Solomon did not hold she position she holds.
However, given her position, Sunlight asks if it is appropriate for Solomon to be holding such a biased view, which sounds like something the NJEA would say. Should Solomon be taking such virulent stances on one side of an important public policy issue? Is she able be an unbiased reporter on policy disputes, presenting both sides equally without fear or favor?
As with our previously expressed concerns about the co-optation of New Jersey’s media by the NJEA, we ask if NJ Public Radio has been co-opted via Nancy Solomon and now aligns its reporting with the NJEA’s policy positions on charter schools. Can we be sure that this evident bias has not spread to other policy areas?
Sunlight would like to hear NJ Public Radio’s response.