In case you missed it, the Toledo Blade took an on-air comment from NewsTalk 1370 WSPD afternoon host Brian Wilson, chopped off everything but about 14 seconds and then shopped it around to, primarily, African-American members of the community to see if they could manufacture community outrage over the implied reference of children to monkeys, and the 'obvious,' (so they promoted) racism of the statement.
Eventually, the editorial board issued an apology, clearly admitting that they took a comment out of context, but they still blamed Wilson for saying something that he should have known they would distort.
I looked at the issue in terms of how the local paper 'pushed' an idea they wanted to promote rather than just do what papers are supposed to do - cover the events of the day.
Blumer's post looks not only at a summary of the ridiculousness of the actions by The Blade, but goes further to examine why the comment was more important than the serious issues facing Toledo Public Schools, including their performance and deficits.
He includes a rather damning chart from the Ohio Department of Education that shows African-American students are not meeting Adequate Yearly Progress. He writes:
As bad as the school district is, children from every other identified ethnic group managed to get acceptable results on the latest ODE report card (not that ODE is setting the bar particularly high). Why not African-Americans? What would MLK say?
Blumer also has high praise for Michael Miller's Toledo Free Press column on the matter:
"The next day, the Free Press’s Michael Miller posted a column that would be in the running for the NewsBusters Hall of Fame if it had gone up there."
And he should know - he's a frequent contributor to NewsBusters. He also writes:
Congrats to Miller and all those involved at the Free Press on their persistence. As to the Blade, it must really be a drag to know that those old, reliable tricks that used to work like a charm have lost their power to deceive.
Heaven help Toledo if people like those who run the Blade ever regain control over what “responsible” speech is in that city. If the Blade’s bludgeoners get their their way, parents might not even be able to deliver a “monkey see, monkey do” scolding to their children when their little ones do something dumb in imitation of their friends who have done something dumb.
Be sure to read the entire post at BizzyBlog. Tom understands the problems we have in Toledo - even if most Toledoan's don't. But with news-scaped* stories such as this one, we're beginning to.
(*New term which will be clarified in a future post.)