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.


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 …..



  1. Thanks for the follow up….

    Carty’s now publicized the standard response he’s sending out to all the people who email or contact him – posted at:


    Comment by Maggie — February 11, 2008 @ 6:44 pm

  2. I’ve been following the story since it was first reported Friday night. I’ve covered it as Drudge Report picked it up as well as most of the national conservative blogs. It’s been disheartening to see the City that I’ve lived in my entire life be dissed because of the actions of the Mayor. It’s also been disheartening to see the belief expressed over and over again that if you are a Democrat and if you are liberal that you must hate our military. One thing that seems to be constant with the majority of the hundreds of comments and emails I’ve received since this started is very few people agree with the way in which the Mayor handled this situation, no matter their political affiliation. Which if you want to be technical on our Mayor, he was a former Republican, he’s been an Independent and is now a Democrat. While he may be a member of the Democratic Party, he is not aligned with those viewed to be liberal in politics of our area. This action was not based on a dislike of the military, it was based on an action of him not being informed, ego and power had a larger role in this.

    As often happens with our Mayor he does not stop to think about the consequences of his rash decision making, in his role as Strong Mayor he seems to have an almost dictator like mindset where he seems to believe that he has the ultimate say on everything that happens in Toledo. To the point he offers school buildings as alternative sites for the military that he had no authority to offer. While it could be said that Toledo residents are in part responsible for electing this man as their Mayor again, you’d have to understand the history of Toledo’s love/hate relationship with Carty Finkbeiner to fully understand why we are where we are now.

    Comment by LisaRenee — February 12, 2008 @ 10:30 am

  3. #2, thanks for commenting. You have been all over this, and have done a great job during what was probably a lost weekend for you.

    At some point, and I think we’re there, Carty’s fellow party members need to openly denounce the guy. Apparently it’s not enough that this has occurred within Toledo’s Council, as Carty’s not budging from defending his buffoonery — which is the point at which you’d expect people like Strickland, Sherrod Brown, Marcy Kaptur, etc. to be attempting to knock some sense into him. If that fails, they need to publicly denounce him. Instead, crickets chirp, and I’m left to assume that dissing the military is no big deal or that they actually support the mayor.

    And while Carty has done probably came from his Napoleon complex and not antiwar disdain for the military, its effect is the same.

    Aslo, it wouldn’t seem to be that tough for “your” fellow left-side bloggers to weigh in on this. Again, is it no big deal to diss the military, or do they like what he did?

    Comment by TBlumer — February 12, 2008 @ 10:48 am

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