Shame on editor Melissa Hale-Spencer for being so callous and insensitive

To the Editor:

I and many others agree with what Anita Clayton said in her letter to the editor, (“Enough is enough,” The Altamont Enterprise, April 8, 2021). The editor could have phrased the Bashwinger bankruptcy filing as due to personal reasons rather than disclose Mrs. Bashwinger’s medical condition.

After all, Stage 4 kidney disease is serious and life-threatening. Mrs. Bashwinger’s illness and the family’s subsequent financial hardship caused by it is nobody’s business but the Bashwingers.

To publish her health information could potentially increase Mrs. Bashwinger’s stress and worsen her condition. To what purpose would revealing such personal information serve? Oh, wait, I forgot, Mrs. Bashwinger’s husband is a Republican.

The Altamont Enterprise’s revelations are irresponsible, reckless, and shocking. Shame on editor Melissa Hale-Spencer for being so callous and insensitive to publish such “news.” The smarmy editor’s note at the end of Mrs. Clayton’s letter that “only public information is printed” is a mere fig leaf to justify mean-spirited and negative reporting.

[The actual editor’s note said, “We reported only what Mr. Bashwinger shared about his wife’s health — that she has kidney disease — as well as information on the legal actions against him and his filing for bankruptcy, all public court records.]

How disingenuous! If the New York Press Association had an award for callousness and insensitivity, The Altamont Enterprise would be awarded first place.

That Kevin Crosier and Joel Willsey would seek to politicize the health and financial hardship of the Bashwinger family is reprehensible.

The April 15, 2021 article “Full Slates — Berne election will be hotly contested” by Altamont Enterprise staff writer Noah Zweifel is characteristic of The Altamont Enterprises penchant for mean-spirited and negative reporting.

Whether a Republican highway superintendent, a Republican code-enforcement officer, a Republican feted for reaching the milestone of donating 100 gallons of blood, or a Republican winning a cake-baking contest, rest assured The Altamont Enterprise staff writers will print something negative about that person.

A case in point is [former] Berne Planning Board Chairman Tom Spargo. Whenever former supreme court Justice Tom Spargo’s name appears in The Altamont Enterprise, he is referred to as a convicted felon. Yes, we know, “only public information is printed” but the mean-spiritedness and negativity have become tiresome.

Speaking of Tom Spargo, I recently had the pleasure of meeting him. He is an Army veteran, a paratrooper, who served our country as an officer in the elite 82nd Airborne Division. Mr. Spargo is down-to-earth, an excellent speaker, and in my opinion, an asset to our town.

Because of unnecessary gutter language and endless negativity, recent letters to the editor point out The Altamont Enterprise’s lack of decency, low standards, sensationalism and politized journalism.

Lastly, it was refreshing to read the uplifting letter to the editor (April 15, 2021 edition “Hard work and dedication is hallmark of boards”) by Berne Planning Board member Joe Martin. His summary of his experience as liaison between the Berne planning board and the Berne town board members was positive, informative, and in stark contrast to the usual histrionic tripe provided by Berne Town Board member Joel Willsey.

Robert Motschmann III


Editor’s note: I’m well aware of the seriousness of Chronic Kidney Disease as I am at Stage 3 of 5, perhaps a year or two behind Mrs. Bashwinger who has my empathy. I was grateful Mr. Bashwinger chose to share the information about his wife’s condition in explaining his declaration of bankruptcy to The Enterprise because the truth — even the barest outline of it — is preferable to the falsehoods and rumors that had been circulating. — Melissa Hale-Spencer

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