To the Editor:
There is often a fine line between providing information and giving an opinion, which gets increasingly more blurred. The dissemination of accurate information is essential in creating communities and societies of responsible and accountable citizens. Ultimately, the role of the media is sacred to establishing democratic values and the necessary trust to democratically challenge authority. This is a description of the ideal, however, more often than not the media is used purposefully or not to so as to create misinformation and at times disinformation.
Beyond the accidental seepage of an opinionated statement, there is a great temptation to grab the attention with a sensationalist headline or with the usage of words that point to conflict and discord. In the current 24-hour news cycle, it is difficult to discern, what is information or misinformation, or whether this was an innocent slippage or a calculated attempt at disinformation.
Today, we all have discovered terms like "fake news," but propaganda, misinformation, and hoaxes have existed for a long time and news organizations and columnists tend to be very careful, before they put their name in the byline. Accountability at the level of the media is essential not only for the organization, but for the integrity of the author. With great surprise and dismay, I read the column by the well-known Boston-based columnist and reporter for The National Herald, Theodore Kalmoukos, titled The Metropolis of Boston 'instigates' the clergy. I found the article to be misleading and the reporting to be biased, as the implication made by the word ‘instigates’ in the title is very troubling, especially as it is not reflected in the body of the column.
The letter, which Theodore Kalmoukos quotes in his column is not inflammatory and the usage of terms such as "encourage to participate" or "being informed" are in no way indicative or accurately reflected the inference made by the title. In fact, Theodore Kalmoukos goes a step further to erroneously summarize the content of the letter by calling it an "ecclesiastical coup known in Orthodox tradition as 'faction and intrigue' (τυρεία και φατρία) … one of the most serious anti-ecclesiastical and uncanonical acts and it can even lead to defrocking."
This indeed is troubling as both a citizen and believer in democracy and as a Christian Orthodox Greek-American, knowing full well the challenges facing our community on the national and the local level. To sow disharmony through misinformation, as I can't imagine that this was written with any malice, is a violation on two levels, on the necessary role of the media in maintaining our democratic institutions and at the level of the Greek-American community.
I hope that this was an honest mistake and that the corrective measures are taken to correct any misunderstanding. The loss of credibility is a terrible casualty, far worse than the temporary gains of misinformation.
George E. Danis