In response to what he is calling fabrications in the Mercury, Riley County commissioner Ron Wells said during Monday’s meeting that he’d resign if the newspaper would commit itself to telling the truth.
Wells was responding to a Thursday story in The Mercury after he made Facebook comments implying that breasts are sex organs and calling a community member a “nimrod.”
He said he took issue with the story, particularly the story’s headline and first paragraph, which said that Wells was criticizing the city commission’s updated public nudity ordinance. Wells stated that he’s always supported the city commission’s handling of the ordinance update and challenged the Mercury to find evidence that he has not supported it.
Wells also said that he would never use a “derogatory” term like “boob” as written in the story’s headline, except possibly in reference to Mercury staffers, although he did call a Facebook commenter a “nimrod.” Wells said that in his Facebook post asking why women seek out breast enhancements, he was asking sincerely and was not previously aware of non-aesthetic reasons for the procedure.
“If I thought it would make any difference, if The Mercury would promise to print the truth from here on out, I would even go over this afternoon and resign if they would promise to start telling the truth,” Wells said during commissioner comments at Monday’s meeting. “This is all obnoxious. It’s all uncalled for.”
After the meeting, Wells clarified that his vow to resign was “tongue-in-cheek,” since he doesn’t believe it would make a difference.
Wells said that he was considering further action and said that he had consulted with a Salina lawyer on what his legal options might be. He also said he’d sent a yet-to-be-published letter to the editor to the Mercury, but he was considering paying for an ad to “call (The Mercury) on its lies.” The Mercury did not refuse to publish the letter, as Wells claimed, but did not promise him a publication date. (That letter can be seen on Page A6 in Tuesday’s paper).
“I wouldn’t bring this up, because you’re never going to win with the newspaper,” Wells said during the meeting. “Who knows how (The Mercury) will make this out? There won’t be anything in print about what I just said. I guarantee it.
“I just want it for the minutes that the Manhattan Mercury published two lies and said that that’s what they thought I meant. The rest of it, I admit I did. I can embarrass myself all by myself.”