October 1, 2021

In its online edition and print edition today, the Martinsville Bulletin has a story regarding Tuesday’s Henry County Board of Supervisors meeting. That story is riddled with inaccuracies and false statements.

The Bulletin writes that the Board voted 6-0 to deny a request from local fire departments for extra funding. This is categorically untrue. The Board listened to and accepted the comments regarding additional funding. There was no motion made and no vote taken. The Board will do what it usually does with large financial requests outside of the County budget cycle – it will consider the request and the appropriation of the requested funds.

Later in the same story the Bulletin writes that a local citizen spoke to the Board during the meeting and criticized the Board’s action on the fire departments’ funding request. Again, this is categorically untrue. The local citizen described as criticizing the Board for its decision on the funds actually praised the Board from the podium for its help in purchasing a new fire truck for his volunteer department.

It is hard to understand how things that never happened get reported as fact. We sincerely hope this isn’t a case of a newspaper, for whatever reason, simply making things up, putting them in print, and moving on to the next story.

Media outlets have a responsibility to cover local events and hold local officials accountable. That benefits everyone in the community, including the local officials. We feel we have the same responsibility when it comes to correcting head-scratching factual errors by the media. Unfortunately, many readers already have seen these mistakes in print and online and take them as facts. That cannot be completely repaired.

We will request a correction from the Martinsville Bulletin, both in its online edition and in the print edition, as soon as possible. We also request that correction be placed on the front page of the newspaper, where the original story appears. Mistakes this egregious should be corrected in the same space where they were made.