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Campaign mailer puts Fort Wayne city councilman at odds with newspaper publisher

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) – Jason Arp says he meant no threat of violence against the media in a campaign flyer that shows him gripping a baseball bat that includes the phrase, “Beat The Media”.

The publisher of the Journal Gazette argues crossed the line in the mailer that she believes has a threatening message.

Republican Jason Arp had a close call, but was re-elected in the 4th district council race on Tuesday.

Arp didn’t win the favor of Journal Gazette publisher Julie Inskeep with the flyer mailed to voters in the 4th.

“It was an attack on the media, and one that I thought was totally inappropriate and I just couldn’t let pass,” Inskeep said.

Inskeep wrote a piece in the paper’s editorial section on Wednesday, titled “An Open Letter to Jason Arp”, calling Arp out for the mailer.

Inskeep wrote, “Why would you tie your campaign message to the bat-wielding photo and language that not so covertly invited violence?”

Inskeep cited the murders of five staff members just over a year ago at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis Maryland, pulled off by a shooter who admitted being angry with that newspaper’s coverage.

“Any suggestion of violence to the media is terribly inappropriate and from an elected official I was shocked,” Inskeep said.

“The card was made to look like a baseball card, it looks just like Pete Rose,” Arp told us, defending the flyer.

He told us the image of the bat and words, “Beat the Media”, were not about inciting violence, but instead brought attention to the fact the Journal Gazette opposed him in the last four election cycles, and that like a good hitter, he couldn’t be kept down.

“If you look at the card closely, it looks like a baseball card, and going four for four, like in a baseball game. Four hits, four pitches, and so, we did it. Four wins, alright,” Arp said.

Arp took special satisfaction in getting past Democrat challenger Patti Hays, despite being outspent three to one, saying the outcome reflects on the quality of the people in southwest Fort Wayne.

The Journal Gazette endorsed Hays in the 4th district contest, but Inskeep wrote that the paper has published more than a dozen commentaries submitted by Arp.

Jeff Neumeyer

Jeff Neumeyer is a reporter for WPTA.

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