February 11, 2008

Wholly Toledo Follow-up: Blade Portrays Mayor Who Turned Back Marines As Victim

On Saturday, Toledo-area blogger Maggie Thurber, yours truly (NewsBusters; BizzyBlog), and many others dealt with the now-national story of how Glass City Mayor Carty Finkbeiner had turned away Marine Corps Reservists who had been given prior clearance to conduct weekend urban warfare exercises in the city.

The Toledo Blade’s Sunday and Monday coverage of the story clearly showed sympathy towards the still-unrepentant mayor, while taking a “what’s the big deal?” attitude towards those who don’t appreciate what he did.

Sunday’s report by JC Reindl started its defense in its headlines (“Finkbeiner taking flak over Marines; Mayor defends his decision to cancel urban war games”; bolds are mine throughout), and continued into its text:

They were gone but not forgotten.

A day after Mayor Carty Finkbeiner ordered 200 Marine Corps Reservists out of downtown Toledo, residents here and elsewhere expressed disappointment, disbelief, and even outrage.

“Even outrage.” Imagine that.

In response to his critics, Mayor Finkbeiner declared his absolute support for the Marines Corps as well as all of the nation’s armed forces – yet still defended his decision to send the Marines packing.

“No matter how much I respect, love, and appreciate the military, there are better places to conduct military planning and staging sessions than the central business district,” Mayor Finkbeiner told The Blade. “I think the military brass would understand and appreciate that.”

….. Mayor Finkbeiner, a Democrat, said yesterday that he ordered the Marines out because he did not want a repeat of the last time the Marines’ battalion trained downtown in May, 2006.

“I saw the military with guns drawn emulating warfare, and I observed the expressions of citizens who happened to just be coming down the sidewalk that particular Saturday noon in wonderment, asking, ‘What have I found myself in the middle of?’” the mayor said. “There was a look of wonderment on some people’s faces, and there was a look of fear on other people’s faces.”

….. Mayor Finkbeiner said if there is one major regret of this ordeal, it is the lack of communication to his office.

In other words: “It’s somebody else’s fault.”

As was the case in its initial report Friday, the Blade “somehow” failed to ask Finkbeiner why, if he was so troubled by what he saw in 2006, he engaged in no “communication” with the Marines for 21 months — instead, waiting until the last minute to stop them and, according to Friday’s Blade story, costing the Marines an estimated $10,000.

Today’s Blade story by Ignazio Messina (“Calls mount for mayor to apologize as order to cancel training draws fire across nation”) makes one wonder how the Mayor would have any idea what the “military brass ….. understand and appreciate”:

Brian Schwartz, spokesman for Mr. Finkbeiner, acknowledged that Major Brooks asked to see the mayor Friday, soon after the battalion was ordered to leave, but was denied a meeting.

“The mayor was in another meeting,” Mr. Schwartz said.

Thurber, in a post earlier today, makes an important follow-up point today:

The Mayor could have met and tried to find another way for the Company to complete their scheduled training, especially in light of his public statements that he wasn’t opposed to the Marines, but to the training location they’d selected.

It appears that the Blade’s “professional” reporters, as usual, didn’t think to ask the mayor or spokesman Schwartz about such an obvious inconsistency — one that a “mere” blogger noted quite easily.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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UPDATE: Will anyone in Ohio’s Old Media bother to ask Governor Strickland what he thinks of his fellow party member’s actions and statements? Perhaps he would support Finkbeiner, because, after all, Toledo seems to be taking on a “disproportionate burden” compared to other Ohio cities.

UPDATE 2, 11:30 p.m.: Anyone else notice the total silence from Ohio’s leftosphere (other than Lisa Renee at Glass City Jungle; her latest is here) on this? The center-rightosphere doesn’t always cover itself in glory, but we don’t hesitate to call out our folks when they make buffoons of themselves. And we sometimes feel compelled to, lest others start thinking that we agree with something disagreeable (hint, hint).

UPDATE 2A, Feb. 12: From that latest post at Glass City –

It’s also being reported that the Mayor has stated that anyone who questions his patriotism or his dedication to the military is a “just a plain baboon.”

Yep, he said it. If a Republican ever said this, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton would be in front of a microphone within 15 minutes to denounce him or her, and would be on the next flight out from wherever they are to what looks more and more to be Ohio’s Second Mistake on the Lake.

UPDATE 3, Feb. 12: The Party of Carty — Taranto at Best of the Web (HT Maggie Thurber) notes something that several NewsBusters commenters picked up on over the weekend:

We got to wondering: To what political party does this Carty Finkbeiner belong? The Blade does not tell us, so we tried checking some other sources. WNWO-TV, the local NBC affiliate, didn’t tell us. Neither did the Fox station, WUPW-TV, or the CBS outlet, WTOL-TV.

Maybe the Toledo press corps figured everyone locally already knew Finkbeiner’s party, so it wasn’t necessary to mention. So we tried the media in Grand Rapids, Mich., where the Marine company is stationed. But neither the Grand Rapids Press nor WOOD-TV saw fit to mention the mayor’s affiliation. Neither did the Associated Press.

But wait! The Toledo Blade came through in the end. In a second-day follow-up story, we find the following in paragraph 13 …..

Excerpt of the Day: Thomas Sowell on Economic Fallacies

The accomplished economist, prolific author, and Hoover Institution Senior Fellow lists some “Economic Fallacies” in his latest Townhall column:

1. Government programs are needed to create “affordable housing.” (Actually, government intervention is what has made housing so unaffordable in places where even hovels are expensive.)

2. Employer discrimination is the main reason for differences in income between women and men. (Tons of evidence point in other directions.)

3. College tuition is going up so fast because of rising costs. (Only if you call voluntary increases in spending “rising costs.”)

4. Foreign aid helps poor countries become more prosperous. (Only if you don’t look at the evidence.)

5. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. (It all depends on whether you are talking about flesh and blood human beings or statistical brackets.)

Economic Facts and Fallacies(Sowell’s latest book — Ed.) also brings out some facts that seldom get much attention in the media.

1. The poverty rate among black married couples has been in single digits since 1994.

2. The average income of the elderly is several times their earnings, and their wealth is far higher than among younger people.

3. Just as blacks are turned down for mortgage loans more often than whites, so whites are turned down more often than Asian Americans. (What does that do to racism as an all-purpose explanation?)

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Related, from November 18, 2007: Top Five Myths about the current economy. Sowell’s fifth item above is a large portion of that post’s Myth Number 1: “Income inequality is growing, the rich are getting richer, and they aren’t paying their fair share of taxes.”

Couldn’t Help But Notice (021108)

The contest for most offensive headline of the year might be over. From USA Today last week:

Al-Qaeda tries to salvage image

Al-Qaeda militants operating here have shifted tactics to try to improve their image among Iraqis and avoid the mass civilian killings that alienated the public in Baghdad and other cities, the U.S. military says.

It’s as if “avoiding mass civilian killings” is a difficult habit to break, like smoking or drinking.

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A headline where the punch line is too easy:

CIA Monitors YouTube For Intelligence

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Last week, LaShawn Barber had a column identifying which party has a century-plus legacy of racism. Go there to learn which one.

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Britain losing its bearings, Example 1:

History and citizenship lessons should stick to the bare facts rather than encouraging loyalty to Britain when covering subjects such as the Second World War or the British Empire, the Institute of Education researchers said. Teachers should not instill pride in what they consider great moments of British history, as more shameful episodes could be downplayed or excluded.

The translation is the headline: ” Don’t teach children patriotism.”

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Britain losing its bearings, Example 2:

Britain kow tows to China as athletes are forced to sign no criticism contracts

British Olympic chiefs are to force athletes to sign a contract promising not to speak out about China’s appalling human rights record – or face being banned from travelling to Beijing.

The move – which raises the spectre of the order given to the England football team to give a Nazi salute in Berlin in 1938 – immediately provoked a storm of protest.

The controversial clause has been inserted into athletes’ contracts for the first time and forbids them from making any political comment about countries staging the Olympic Games.

Most athletes will tend to avoid controversy anyway, as it has the potential to distract them from their goals and to focus press attention on them during their final weeks of preparation. But this move, clearly as a result of pressure from Beijing, places the height of duress on athletes who want to exercise their consciences, or believe that others should be able to, saying in effect: “If you want to achieve what you’ve always dreamed about, something you may likely never have a shot at again. shut up.” That’s unacceptable.

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The Wall StreetThere Shall Be Open BordersJournal spins California exit polling:

About six in 10 (exit-polled) voters said illegal aliens should either be allowed to apply for U.S. citizenship or to stay as temporary workers. Those voters went for Mr. McCain comfortably. A minority of 38% favored deportation, which is closer to Mr. Romney’s position, but the Senator won even 29% of those voters.

Note the absence of a “secure the borders” option.

Positivity: Bill Belichick — More Than Meets the Eye

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:56 am

The conventional wisdom on Bill Belichick needs a bit of a rethink:

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Before winning last season’s Super Bowl, Tony Dungy was a coach best remembered for his moving eulogy at the funeral of his son, who had taken his own life a year earlier.

Long before coaching the New England Patriots to 18 straight wins, but losing this year’s Super Bowl, the fiercely stubborn and occasionally boorish Bill Belichick delivered a tribute every bit as emotional.

However, 15 years ago this month there were no television cameras in the room and the only microphone was at the podium from where the young head coach of the Cleveland Browns honored long-time sportscaster Nev Chandler as he began withering away from cancer.

If you had a glass, he said holding up his empty water glass and you put in “a dash of class and a dash of kindness,” stirred in some warmth and his love for family, put in big doses of passion and professionalism, then stirred it all up, “you’d have Nev in your glass.”

He continued, “This man is one of the most decent men I’ve ever met. The world needs more Nevs.”

It was a stunning moment on a cold, snowy night inside a suburban Holiday Inn south of Cleveland. This was a man who had managed to alienate almost everyone—from the team’s owner to the daily newspaper’s beat reporter.

Looking out at the couple hundred folks who had braved a storm to roast the play-by-play voice of Belichick’s team, I saw the same wet eyes Nev was noticing through his own tears.

Sitting back down in the seat next to mine along the dais that evening, the most misunderstood coach in the National Football League smiled and asked how he’d done. Amazed that he asked, I glanced toward Nev and asked the coach to decide for himself.

Belichick looked across the dais, then stared down. I truly don’t believe he had any idea how much his words meant to Nev’s wife and children seated just a few feet away. Nine years later, he did.

On January 29, 2002, Belichick strolled out on the Superdome floor in New Orleans to coach his first Super Bowl with the Patriots. He glanced at my name tag and grinned.

“Nev would’ve loved this,” Belichick said, breezing by without making much eye contact and not breaking stride.

It didn’t matter.

My preconceived notion of this future Hall of Famer had nothing to do with football; nor was it shaped, as it once had been, by his being too flip to too many folks on too many awkward occasions like Sunday’s post-game interview with Chris Myers of the FOX Super Bowl broadcast team.

Brief to the point of rudeness and answering none of Myers’ questions with any substance, I realized what the perception of tens of millions of viewers would be.

Yet despite the season opening “Spygate” scandal (Belichick authorized the illegal videotaping of opponents’ defensive signals and was fined $500,000), I know there is more good in Bill Belichick than meets the average eye. …..

Go here for the rest of the story.