Turmoil was oozing from the administrative building during Monday night's meeting of the Warren County Commission.
As the formal proceedings spiraled out of control to resemble a pro wrestling format more than a county government meeting, County Executive Jimmy Haley seemed to capture the general sentiment in the room when he said, "Let's just see where this circus goes."
The lack of order was certainly one troubling aspect, but another was how two county officials, in the heat of battle, decided to steer away from the issues at hand and attack the media.
It was only a matter of time before the self-serving behavior of Washington, D.C. leaders made its way to our community. When backed into a tight spot, the quickest and easiest way out is to blame the media.
At Monday night's Warren County Commission meeting, it was the Standard's turn to take it on the chin with claims our reporting is not to be believed.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
We are a newspaper committed to accuracy in our reporting 100 percent of the time. Whether it's a court case, a government meeting, a school function, or a basketball game, our reporters understand more than anybody the importance of getting it right.
Cute pictures are nice and clever headlines are a plus, but the backbone of any legitimate news organization is conveying information that is accurate.
There's a reason freedom of the press is included in our country's First Amendment. Our Founding Fathers fully realized the importance of having reliable information that isn't filtered and tainted by government officials to further their own personal agendas.
The reason our government meetings are open to the public is to fulfill the ideal that business conducted with taxpayer dollars will be done in the open in full view. That's why the rules pertaining to government conduct are called Sunshine Laws.
Unfortunately, in today's hectic society, few people have the time to attend these government meetings. Unless something of major significance is at stake, like a 28-cent tax increase, these meetings are often attended by only the government officials involved and the Southern Standard reporter.
We take the responsibility of conveying trustworthy information to the public very seriously. That's why we record these meetings to ensure what is said is what ends up in the paper.
Do we make mistakes? We strive for perfection, but on rare occasion an error makes its way to print. This is a consequence of being human.
But there is one area where we have a perfect record. When an error is brought to our attention, we correct it every single time -- with no exceptions.
In this day when the term "fake news" has entered our vernacular and gets tossed around every time a story doesn't suit someone's fancy, we want our readers to know now, more than ever, that accuracy is the foundation of our newspaper.
We devote great time and effort to delivering news coverage that's dependable and our track record shows we do exactly that. Misinformation may flow freely on many social media sites, but we hold ourselves to much greater accountability.
If you read it in the Standard, you can count on it being correct. We are committed to accuracy with every story in every edition.