In July, Nic Mattson, co-editor/publisher of Atascadero News and the Paso Robles Press, began his "House on Fire" commentaries. To read, go to the atascaderonews.com opinion section. His commentaries lack sources (a "guideline" required by the Atascadero News) and befriend the reader while he seeks to capture emotions. Plus, he uses a phrase from QAnon.
The Atascadero News did not print at least one letter to the editor that was critical of "House on Fire." Mr. Mattson also announced a run for the Atascadero City Council. The Mattsons are co-editors of the Atascadero News and the Paso Press. As "journalists" neither should run for public office to avoid having conflicts of interest of any kind, and ideally, they would officially sign over the opinion column to another impartial editor during a campaign.
I resigned as a voluntary commentariat in my last commentary due for print on Aug. 27, expressing freedom of the press issues. My commentary was not printed without notice to me.
Several commentary writers reached out to other press about these issues and were contacted by New Times, which gave Mr. Mattson an opportunity to defend his opinion columns ("Atascadero City Council candidate defends opinion column," Aug. 20). One of us gave his name and has been dismissed by Mrs. Mattson who mistakes truth and criticism as "misinformation."