Tension Brewing Between NE Indiana Newspaper and Councilman Over Campaign Mailer

(Jeff Neumeyer/WPTA)

An editorial from the Journal Gazette is calling out Fort Wayne City Councilman Jason Arp for what the publisher calls “disappointing and inappropriate” campaign mailers.

Publisher Julie Inskeep said in an open letter yesterday that an ad featuring Arp holding a baseball bat with the phrase “beat the media” made repeated references to the Journal Gazette by name and implicitly invited violence.

She criticized Arp for using such imagery just over a year after the murders of five staff members of a newspaper in Maryland, perpetrated by a man upset with that newspaper’s coverage.

“At best, it was disappointing and inappropriate, especially from an elected official,” Inskeep wrote. “Do you not remember the murders of five staff members and the wounding of two others at The Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, just over a year ago? The alleged shooter in that case, angry with the newspaper’s coverage, pleaded guilty to the shootings just last Monday… Why would you tie your campaign message to the bat-wielding photo and language that not so covertly invited violence?”

Arp says the ad, mailed to homes after the Journal Gazette endorsed his opponent, was meant to invoke the image of a baseball card and was not about inciting violence, but instead about the fact that the newspaper had his opponent in four different races.

“If you look at the card closely, it looks like a baseball card, and going four for four, like in a baseball game. Four hits, four pitches, and so, we did it. Four wins, alright,” Arp said.

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