Lynnette Hoffman, the editor of the newspaper formerly known as The Town Crier, is known for her embarrassing antics and lack of credibility.
I don’t take her seriously.
That’s why I had little concern when I heard about her latest whopper. On Monday night, she turned to Facebook with this gem: “Claudia Yaw with The Chronicle said ‘Those f’en hillbillies’ to two observers as she left the meeting about the fair. I will not spell the F word out. It is not okay for any journalists to call the residents names and then write about the community.”
Several people have contacted me since the post was made regarding our reporter, and I have reached out to several as well. Each one of them asked me not to use their names because of fear of retribution, so I won’t. Not one of them heard the alleged comments themselves and none of them know anyone who did.
This was all allegedly happening as dozens of people talked, clamored and exited the room — and while our reporter wore a mask. I suppose someone could have said it, but it was not our reporter.
So secondhand information is good enough in the Winlock editor’s book to attempt to crush the career of a young reporter? Got it.
While refusing to talk with Yaw over the phone Tuesday — a common trait for a keyboard warrior — Hoffman indicated two people in the crowd told her they had heard the comments as Yaw was leaving. Hoffman said she identified Yaw after the fact because the men did not know who she was. How convenient.
Talk about a game of telephone.
Indeed, had this actually happened, it would be cause for discipline.
But it didn’t. Like much of Hoffman’s bile, it was completely fabricated.
And that’s to be expected at this point, frankly.
I am aware that Yaw is not popular among some elected officials. She offers critical reporting and doesn’t shy away from controversial topics. That doesn’t change the fact that she is a skilled journalist while Hoffman is a dubious muckraker at best and an outright liar at worst.
Hoffman has trashed the legacy of what was once a great community newspaper in Winlock and brought considerable disgrace to the company she works for.
Her latest lie doesn’t deserve a response, but I am offering one simply because of the traction it appears to have gained online, with one Lewis County commissioner even commenting and lending the rumor credence.
The thing about blatantly false allegations is that they force the target to deny reprehensible behavior they never engaged in to begin with. That’s unfortunate, but I am more than willing to reject this nonsense for what it is.
The Chronicle is thriving, and I imagine that chafes the ego of a small town purveyor of yellow journalism who never fails to come in last when it comes to the news.
The Chronicle has new life and I won’t allow a bogus allegation from someone with no credibility in the community to shift my focus from that beyond this response.
As lifelong residents, Coralee and I are dedicated to continuing to serve Lewis County with what it deserves: quality local news. We will not shy away from false rumors and we will protect our businesses and our amazing team of employees at all costs. If one of our employees actually does something wrong, we promise you that we will take action. However, spreading lies will not go unanswered.
Chad Taylor is co-owner of CT Publishing and publisher of The Chronicle. He can be reached at email@example.com