Friday, May 15, 2009

Blade bias - #9 and why Stainbrook is wrong, again

Today's paper has an article about a new group of candidates for Toledo City Council, running together as a coalition under the name of Teamwork Toledo.

Strangely, the article is less about the new group of candidates than it is about outrageous claims from Lucas County Republican Party Chairman Jon Stainbrook about how this group came together, trying to imply that WSPD is somehow behind everything.

It's sad that Stainbrook is criticizing these individuals as pawns of a radio station rather than praising them for taking the initiative to run for office and offering themselves and their philosophies as a solution to the problems we face in this city.

Republicans should be questioning why Stainbrook isn't actively recruiting them to run as Republicans since they are all fiscally conservative. In fact, GOP faithful in Toledo should demand to know why Stainbrook failed to return a call from one of these candidates who wanted to discuss an endorsement, as detailed in a phone call this morning to WSPD.

So far, the LCRP has announced NO city council candidates for this year. One can only wonder if Stainbrook's criticism of these people is to mask his own failures as a chairman, whose primary duties are to raise money and field candidates.

"There was a meeting with [WSPD reporter] Kevin Milliken and other Clear Channel employees and they were discussing the formation of this other political party," Mr. Stainbrook said.

Where is the investigation by The Blade of the veracity of this claim? Did the reporter ask Stainbrook how he 'knew' this was true?? And if he did, what was the response and why isn't it printed?

Mr. Milliken did not deny some involvement with Teamwork Toledo, but said he would make his involvement clear in a news conference set for this afternoon, his last day with WSPD.

He denied as "patently false" that he was involved in a meeting at the radio station about Teamwork Toledo.

So if the claim is patently false, why did this become part of the story? Tricia Lyons, the Tax Day Tea Party organizer and one of the new candidates, also called in to WSPD this morning to say that Stainbrook was "lying" about the group's involvement with the radio station. She said the only time she's been to the station was when she was at the Fort Industry Square studio to be interviewed by Brian Wilson when she announced her run for council.

John Adams, Jr., also in a radio call, said that if there was some meeting with anyone from WSPD he wasn't invited (and then he laughed), and he is one of the named Teamwork Toledo candidates.

With all this evidence that Stainbrook's claims are false, why is he given any credence at all and why did his claims become the focus of the story? One can only wonder, especially considering Stainbrook's history of failing to file the proper forms to put Jan Scotland on the ballot for County Commissioner, secretly recording conversations and releasing portions to The Blade, failing to recruit candidates, trying to make the Tax Day Tea Party look like a GOP event he arranged, missing their campaign finance filing deadline, and not raising any money. He has developed a reputation as a liar and a documented history of playing fast and loose with the facts, yet The Blade, reporter Tom Troy and the City Editor, Kim Bates (whose parents are Judge Jim Bates and Lucas County Prosecutor Julia Bates) see no problem with using his false information as a basis for a news story.

Could this be part of the reason why The Blade's circulation numbers are falling?

But it doesn't stop there. Stainbrook then attacks me, trying to make the claim that I am somehow behind all this, which also is patently FALSE.

Tom Troy did call me about this story, but failed to tell me that Stainbrook had made specific allegations about my alleged involvement. Troy only said 'we're hearing some rumors that you're working with these candidates.' Why would the reporter withhold this information and intentionally conceal Stainbrook's involvement?

For the record - as I told Troy - I am not involved in any way with these candidates and, because of my role at WSPD would not be part of their campaigns because I will have to cover them on air.

Troy asked if I helped with the Tea Party and I told him my only role in that was to help Tricia with information about where to go to get a permit for the event. Tricia asked for my help with finding the park rental forms on the internet and with what city offices she needed to go to in order to use International Park. I told Troy that was my only involvement and that I did not help in any of the organizing. Of course, that's also 'mis-reported':

Ms. Thurber, a former Republican Lucas County commissioner, a columnist for The Toledo Free Press, a free weekly publication, and a show host for WSPD, said she helped Ms. Lyons with organizing the Tea Party, but has not been involved in her foray into politics. (emphasis added)

The Blade makes some other false statements about me which resulted in a phone call at 8:15 a.m. to the editor demanding a correction. We'll see how long it takes for them to get their facts right.

Considering the animosity between WSPD and The Blade, it's no surprise that they include this:

Political action would not be new to WSPD personnel, some of whom are active in Take Back Toledo, the group seeking to force Mayor Finkbeiner out of office with a few months left in his term.

Of course, political action is not new to The Blade either as their bias with candidates is clearly evident in their news coverage, or in what they decide NOT to print, as The Newsmeister documents. And I must point out that the political involvement of talk show hosts is much different than the not-so-subtle biases shown in the news portion of The Blade.

Just to show how manipulated this Blade story is, check out the Toledo Free Press story about these candidates. Or The Blade's coverage of the announcements by these candidates: Stephen Ward, Terry Biel. Or the January 14th article (archived) in which Toledo School Board president Steve Steel's candidacy is announced.

This story is all about trying to get their readers to think that some nefarious source is behind the candidates - and to discredit them before they've even begun their campaigns. So the question you should be asking yourself is why Stainbrook and The Blade would think it important to do this?

Control? Influence? Spite? The last thing The Blade wants is to have a bunch of city council members who are responsible first and foremost to the public, rather than a party or a newspaper publisher. If these candidates have no allegiance or 'debt' to the paper or the party, they cannot be controlled and might - heaven forbid - make decisions other than what the manipulators want.

Stainbrook, finding that serving as chairman is much harder than running for the position, has no money and nothing in terms of experience and support to offer these candidates. He's also failed to present even one person for a GOP endorsement for council. It's a direct slap in his face that the Republicans in this group would rather run as Independents.

So what to do? Make false claims to The Blade (with whom he is intricately tied and who supported his bid for GOP Chairman), be sure to tie in that evil Tom Noe and count on the paper's support to attempt to discredit good people who just want Toledo to be a better place.

Having watched this kind of coverage for years - both inside and outside the political realm - I believe the single most destructive force in this area is the agenda of The Blade and it's manipulation of news, politics and politicians as well as their well-documented ability to intimidate people, community leaders and businesses.

And they wonder why people are fleeing Toledo?

5 comments:

Hooda Thunkit said...

Maggie,

When I read that "story" all that I could picture in my mind was Jon and JRB booth toothless, wearing shawls and sitting in rocking chairs laughing their selves silly; over what, no one seems to remember...

Two peas in a pod, those guys. . .

Of course Most of the so-called story was regurgitating old news, just to remind everyone of unrelated or flat out wrong "facts."

As for WSPD's alleged involvement in anything, radio stations are like people (except for the license), and they have the sworn duty to serve the public good, and they are doing a yeoman's job in that department.

Tim Higgins said...

Maggie,

Jon Stainbrook is inept and the Blade is biased. Really?

As Brian Wilson often says on his afternoon show on WSPD, "News is not an airplane landing at an airport, it is one crashing..."

The news story here is why no one is choosing to run for office as a Republican. Could it be that no one wants to associate with Mr. Stainbrook? Could it be that no one trusts him? Where is the Blade in reporting this story?

The A-Hole Lawyer said...

I am concerned that nationally young, conservative candidates think they need to move away from core Republican beliefs, and be more moderate or centrist to get elected and institute the recovery we need. The truth is returing to core beliefs is what is needed.

But, I understand that in Toledo the "R" can be a scarlet letter. So team Toledo, regardless of platform, are running as "Independents." This might help them overcome some of the hard left reaction and hesitation to vote Republican. In fact, Mike Bell is running as an Independent, and perhaps they may grab some of that fervor.

Simply because Kevin Milliken is involved with Team Toledo, does not mean WSPD is backing the group, or pulling the strings. I went to an event for them a few weeks ago, and didn't see anyone from WSPD there, accept Kevin.

The time is ripe in Toledo for new faces. Regardless of party; anyone who looks at the last 10 years in Toledo must recognize more of the same is not going to help pull the City out of its current slide. Conservatives, libertarians, republicans, what ever you call a candidate, may have a unique chance to make some impact and influence on Toledo politics.

We will see.

TAHL

historymike said...

One of the lamest articles I have read in recent years, Maggie. I want my five minutes back, plus compensation for the injuries to my skull after I smacked myself in the head for reading it.

About half of this article was related to rehashing Coingate and other Noe-related history. Add to this Troy's laziness in seeking out media whore and Class-A douchebag Jon Stainbrook for mostly-irrelevant quotes, and you wind up with a piece that was one-quarter press release and three-quarters useless innuendo and old news.

Good job calling Tom Troy out on this one. I had an urge to write about this myself, but I became distracted with other topics, and I am glad that someone of your intelligence and savvy took the time to dissect and shred this worthless piece of pseudo-journalism.

Maggie Thurber said...

History Mike - thanks for the comment...it's much appreciated, though I bet anything you would have written on the subject would have been a lot of fun to read.

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