Our View: Spreading rumor shows bad judgement

Jul. 14, 2013 @ 09:29 AM

It is not often that newspapers — particularly this one — reports on rumors.

However, upon hearing that management at the Rutherford County Airport was changing in August without discussion, vote or public debate, our interest was piqued.

But, after investigating, it was learned — as illustrated on page A1 of today's paper — that the rumor was started by a member of the Airport Authority to "see how long it takes rumors to spread."

Our first thought was of elementary school and middle school children who often undertake in spreading senseless rumors about any number of items for the sake of spreading them.

There is no question that rumors about people, places or things are a part of everyday life.

Some are spread with the intent of malice and some are just guesswork. Others, do prove to be true in full or in part.

But that is certainly not the case with this particular story.

A member of the Authority elected to see who would talk and what would be said.

To say this was poor execution and a bad management decision is a gross understatement.

Anyone in any management position knows that one of the last things you do to employees is lie or spread falsehoods about their well-being for any reason.

This latest action can only be described as being childish or juvenile at best.

The news of this action comes at a time when the Airport Authority is already on the ropes about a land purchase involving the sitting Rutherford County Commission Chairman where nearly twice the appraised value of land was paid in order to cut down a tree.

There is public outrage at the purchase and this latest decision by a member of the Authority to spread a rumor under the pretense of finding out just how long it takes for it to spread to the media or operators at Marchman Field continues to illustrate a lack of appreciation for public trust.

It also shows a lack of appreciation for employees at the airport and those very operators of whom the rumor was targeted.

While Authority Chairman Bob Howard claimed he had no knowledge of the rumor until after the fact, he was only quick to point out that the rumor spread quickly and rather soft on condemning the action.

The lack of attention to the public trust will wind up being the undoing of the Airport Authority.

And, if there are hopes that the issues at the airport will simply go away, the public is being sold short.

If anything, the recent actions at the airport by an Authority member should only resonate with the Rutherford County Commission, who have the ultimate decision to dissolve the Airport Authority and take over operations.

Actions like spreading rumors under false pretense only gives ammunition to the Commission to do just that.

By Matthew Clark, for the Editorial Board


The Daily Courier Editorial Board consists of community members Jerry Brewer, Kyle Bingham, Tom Padgett, Dr. Shermaine Surratt and Cliff Strassenburg as well as Editor Matthew Clark