Have the non-partisan races for the new city of Mableton turned partisan because of a Fox News interview and social media political ideologies?
We took to Webster’s Dictionary to define the concept of political ideologies. It said:
A political ideology is a certain set of ethical ideals, principles, doctrines, myths, or symbols of a social movement, institution, class or large group that explains how society should work and offers some political and cultural blueprint for a certain social order. It went on to say political ideologies are sets of beliefs in reference to political theory and social policy on the level of the group or the individual.
We started this article with that definition because everyone needs to understand our reasons for doing this story. In a non-partisan race for Mayor and City Council seats for the new city of Mableton, the topic of partisanship has presented itself. SPOTLIGHT has been contacted by many citizens about the ideologies of some of the candidates who have submitted themselves for consideration for the new government positions. They have voiced concerns on how those ideologies, possessed by some candidates, may impact the mainly Democratic communities of South Cobb, including the city of Mableton.
A link for a recent news story was sent to us and serves as a ‘pushback’ for many who claim that political races labeled nonpartisan are actually partisan. Candidates in these races are free to claim this title and say they are running as a nonpartisan all day long, but in a world of 24-hour news, various social media platforms, and community-shared information sites, ideologies, and personal beliefs are not something a candidate can keep under wraps for long.
A case in point is the Fox News story entitled Establishment of New City mired by chaos and confusion. Some residents say they want out.
This was sent to SPOTLIGHT, and it features an interview with a single Mayoral Candidate, Aaron Carman.
While SPOTLIGHT South Cobb News, the Marietta Daily Journal, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution are likely outlets that have covered news on our newly minted city nestled in South Cobb, between Smyrna and Austell, many have called foul on Carman for opening the door and bringing in the Mayors’ race the most partisan news media outlet out there, Fox News. When contacted, Carman told SPOTLIGHT that Fox News contacted him about doing a story. He assumed others in the race were contacted as well. Others we spoke to say why would the news outlet pick Carman to interview unless there was a nexus connecting the two. They also say Carman knew that his assumption was untrue once the article came out and he was the only person featured.
As they point to the title of the article, many we spoke to are slamming Carman, saying he is slamming Mableton to benefit his interest and support of de-annexation. In defending Mableton, those who contacted me said there is nothing chaotic or confusing about a fair election, which the Mableton cityhood was. They also point to the chaos and confusion from the de-annexers side of the community table, with their wild and unyielding demands, yelling, hissing, and booing anyone that does not agree with their position and much more, with Mayoral candidate Carman leading the charge, some say.
Others in the community, including other candidates we spoke to, questioned why Fox news would be interested in our small South Cobb community election. Many point to partisan ideology, saying it is slipping under the radar into this majority democratic community under the guise of non-partisanship. Left unchecked and undiscussed, many feel that Mableton could end up being run by someone who is not afraid to embrace the right-wing ideologies of Fox News and force that ideology onto the citizens of Mableton.
The other candidates in the Mayor’s race were contacted, including LaTonia Long who strongly disagrees with the article’s title that Mableton is mired in chaos. Said Long, “This election has been civil and the candidates have been gracious towards one another.” Reflecting on the article’s title, Long said, “We need to bring our community together and focus on working towards a shared vision.”
With all the issues occurring worldwide, why is Fox News focused on Mableton and conducting an interview with a single candidate for mayor, versus including all the other candidates, which is what local media for the area has been doing leading up to the Special Election on March 21.
To satisfy our curiosity, SPOTLIGHT sent an email to the reporter. We challenged the title of the article, asked why they were interested in our community, and asked why they interviewed a single candidate instead of all the candidates in the race for Mayor to get a complete story. We have not received a response yet. Carmon, the subject of the news story, was asked similar questions and responded that he is running as a non-partisan candidate and that neither party (Republican or Democrat) has any formal affiliation with his campaign. Many we spoke to disagreed with his statement saying party affiliation is clearly understood if Fox News interviewed him and only him in this race. They say Carman made a rookie mistake when he sat down for that interview. He should have thought twice about an interview with an outlet that is not popular in the democratic communities of South Cobb.
In communicating with candidates Long, she agrees with others that Carman’s news article has changed the dynamics to a partisan race for Mableton Mayor and Council seats. “Mableton broke heavily for Senator Warnock and other Democrats, so I am surprised that Mr. Carman would align with a Party that is in the minority in Mableton. The larger concern is that he would consent to a divisive piece rather than focusing on bringing us together,” said Long.
The data our researchers pulled on the South Cobb cities of Mableton, Austell, and Powder Springs concur with Long’s assessment, as it shows these communities to be Democratic-leaning areas that strongly supported Raphael Warnock and Joe Biden.
We went to the Cobb Elections Board to find out how the candidates listed themselves, Democrat, Republican, and Nonpartisan. We specifically looked at Carman, who selected Non-partisan when he filed his intent papers.
To calm concerns, we shared this information with some of the readers who contacted us, but they were not impressed. They could not move past the notion of Fox News being involved in what they describe as a promotion of Carman’s candidacy. They said, “Bringing in Fox News was clearly a partisan move, which Carman may not fully understand because he does not understand the community, yet he wants to be elected mayor.”
I posed the question of partisanship to a trusted community leader in South Cobb. This source said, “The positions of judges in Cobb are non-partisan, but everyone knows who is a Republican and who is a Democrat. Should we not have the same information, who is Republican and who is Democrat, when we are voting on new government officials for Mableton? The Fox News article clearly indicates that we should.”
Before we could finish this story, more tips started pouring in on other candidates in the Mableton races and their ideologies and comments on social issues that are of great concern and interest to many living in South Cobb and voting in the Mableton races.
The damning thing about social media posts is that you can never fully make them disappear. Comments you make as citizens John and Jane Doe can come back to bite you as Candidates John and Jane Doe. We were provided the ideology and comments retweeted by Heidi Moore Isom that included retweets slamming then-President Barack Obama on gun control; that challenged liberals being appointed to the Supreme Court; and that challenged refugees being allowed into the country, among other things. Heidi Moore Isom is now candidate Heidi Dasinger for Mableton City Council District 4.
Are voters entitled to know more about Heidi, the other candidates in the races, and their ideologies before they vote? Should we use social media to determine which candidates to support? Some say we should as candidates are hiding their political affiliations under the cloak of non-partisans. As we tried to complete this story, another source of questionable social media comments reportedly from candidates in the council races was provided to us. We will need to do our own review before we can bring this to our readers.
So, we leave you with this question. What are voters allowed to know when it comes to the ideologies of candidates before they cast their votes for them? Do you want to know who is a Republican and who is a Democrat in these races for the Mableton government?
If partisan candidates get elected and begin pushing their ideologies and positions onto the citizens of Mableton, can we then take a page from the de-annexers handbook and demand to be de-annexed from being governed by them?