Wednesday, November 23, 2011

UPDATED! Why was Michael Miller prohibited from talking about Make-A-Wish on WTOL?

Michael Miller, Editor in Chief of the Toledo Free Press, posted this as his Facebook status:

Michael Miller
So, WTOL's Jerry Anderson invited me to appear on his "Leading Edge" program this week to talk about the Make-A-Wish benefit CD. 30 minutes before taping, I was informed, "You are not allowed on our station" and the appearance was canceled. I have not been told the entire story, but I have no doubt WTOL's alliance with The Blade is the reason.

It is very sad that anyone would punish a Make-A-Wish project, and deny its kids, over media politics. On the day before Thanksgiving!

WTOL's Chrys Peterson has given her all for this project and the Make-A-Wish kids. I have always known her and Jerry to be class acts.

The powers that be (and bully) can keep me off a TV news show, but we are still going to sell our CD and we are still going to raise a ton of money and awareness for Make-A-Wish. At the end of the day, that is all that matters. Now more than ever, we need your support to make this CD a success. How long is this community going to allow a single entity to cast such a putrid shadow over our community's potential?

If, indeed, WTOL's reason for the cancellation is their media partnership with the Toledo Blade and the fact that the Blade has decided to sue the Free Press, Miller and its publisher Tom Pounds, then this is despicable.

Of course, it would also be par for the course for the paper ... and shame on WTOL for not standing up to a bully.

For a long time, many of us have thought that the single most negative and destructive influence in this town is The Blade, with the open bias it shows in its 'news' reports as well as the individual vendettas of its publisher, manifest throughout those same 'news' stories and editorials.

But to allow a personal issue with another newspaper get in the way of promoting Make-A-Wish and their benefit CD is just detestable, contemptible, loathsome, reprehensible and vile.

What does The Blade and it's publisher have against terminally-ill kids? Is their personal vendetta against a competitor so important that it cannot be set aside for a brief moment for the purpose of helping terminally-ill children get a final wish?!?

No words of condemnation are enough.

The telephone number for WTOL is 419-248-1111 and the number for the Toledo Blade is 419-724-6000 in case you want to share your thoughts with them or cancel your subscription.

Oh - and the CD will be available in all local Panera stores starting Black Friday. It's $10 and ALL proceeds go to Make-A-Wish.


Posted on the Toledo Free Press Facebook page was this response:

Hi, I'm CJ Hoyt, the News Director at WTOL 11. We are ecstatic that Chrys Peterson appears on the Make-a-Wish CD. We look forward to promoting this CD in our newscasts, on our website and through social media. Jerry will also be featuring the CD in a segment of Leading Edge next week. WTOL has a long relationship with Make-a-Wish and numerous charitable organizations throughout Northwest Ohio and we value those relationships and the benefits they bring to our community. However, we also value our partnership with the Toledo Blade. And it is our station policy to not promote a direct competitor of our valued partner. I, alone, made the decision not to use you in our Leading Edge segment. But that won't stop us from finding lots of ways from promoting this worthy cause. If anyone has any questions about how our newsroom operates, they are always welcome to reach out to me directly. My phone number is 419-248-1108 and my email address is Thanks!

I fail to see how interviewing Michael Miller about a Make-A-Wish CD equates to 'promoting' a direct competitor of The Blade. While The Blade may consider the Free Press to be a direct competitor, I'm not sure many people would say that a weekly newspaper is a direct competitor to a daily one.

But competitor issue aside, an interview does not equal promotion.

Tom Blumer, who writes at BizzyBlog and often covers media issues, has weighed in with his own post on the subject. I love his conclusion:

Remember this episode the next time you see an insufferable Blade editorial about how important it is that taxpayers empty their pocketbooks “for the children.”

And the great comment left by zf which sums up the entire fiasco rather succinctly:

In other words, WTOL values not angering it’s “partner” than helping kids. How is having the guy on there to talk about a CD benefiting a charity “promoting” a direct competitor?

Talk about putting politics before principles.

1 comment:

Mark said...

I knew there was a reason why I prefer to watch WTVG 13 instead of WTOL 11, probably the same reason I canceled my subscription to the Blade now for some 6 - 8 years, and I do not miss it one bit. A person can only take so much negativity and one sidedness something the Blade has mastered wonderfully. What has happened to media objectivity to equally show each sides view and let the readers decide.

Mark Ball
Sylvania Twsp.

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