To the Editor: Integrity, Mr. Watkins?

On April 28, John Watkins attempted to do a further smear job by using unethical reference to correspondence between myself (Mike Neel) with his publication. This is added to previous attempts to smear by equating statements in my previous letters to McCarthyism and, of course, racism. Let us look at the facts about those correspondences. In my letter of April 18, I used the qualifiers “perhaps” and “maybe” to suggest that Ridgecrest residents consider their business transactions around town with those businesses who are aligned in some fashion with the RACVB, an organization that clearly now supports the casino for one reason alone —more money for them. Yet Mr. Watkins states that I “called” for a boycott in that letter. Really? If I had intended to call for a boycott, my statements would have been unmistakable and not use words like “perhaps” and “maybe.”

In a previous editorial, Mr. Watkins claimed that I “held hostage” documents from the papers, documents that were easily obtainable from either the city or the courts. I then asked for a retraction of this due to its smear nature, which has had no response whatsoever other than an attempt to use it further to detract from the real issue of his yellow journalism.

Lastly, in editorial on April 28, reference is made to a letter that I submitted and then asked to be pulled for reasons that came up after submitting it. The response from the Daily Independent editor — “letter pulled.” Is it hard to know what that means. I guess it is for Mr. Watkins when it fits his agenda. For the rest of us, it means “pulled” like in “not submitted.” So, that would also mean it is hard to refer to something that is ethically nonexistent. Why does Mr. Watkins now write about it in his slanted fashion and use it to sled into his patently false claims of “targeted attacks” on businesses? One reason appears to be that an agreement is not an agreement with his publication, and John Watkins will do whatever fits his agenda.

Since his last letter implied a request for a response from myself on this last letter, I will now respond. That response is that I do not discuss matters with persons who break agreements in order to practice yellow journalism, slant the truth to their particular version and distribute propaganda in the process. End of statement.

Barring future apology and retraction of those statements referred to, my dealings with the Daily Independent are finished. The readers are now asked to consider their own personal evaluation of the Daily Independent’s standing of a publication worthy of their business.

Mike Neel

Story First Published: 2018-05-03