April 19, 2008

TIB All-Star Topics (Updated Througout the Evening)

Filed under: News from Other Sites — Tom @ 7:12 pm

We’re on. Go here to Weapons of Mass Discussion in (click on TIB link).

Here are the topics we have covered:

Ohio Media Suffers Collective Amnesia on AG Marc Dann’s Party

Ohio’s Old Media needs a collective medical intervention to battle Chronic Reporting Amnesia (CRA).

Ohio’s Democratic Attorney General, who has been no stranger to controversy since his election in November 2006, is in major hot water over the conduct of two employees on his staff:

An attorney representing two women whose sexual harassment allegations have triggered a widening scandal at Attorney General Marc Dann’s office says his clients have abundant evidence of their claims.

….. (Attorney Rex) Elliott said Cindy Stankoski and Vanessa Stout, both 26, have text messages, e-mails and “the whole nine yards to prove exactly what they’re saying.” The two have alleged that Anthony Gutierrez, the office’s general services supervisor, engaged in inappropriate comments and touching at the office and at a Dublin apartment then shared by him, Dann and communications director Leo Jennings III.

Dann has placed both Gutierrez and Jennings on paid leave as the allegations are investigated. Jennings was not accused of harassment in the women’s complaints. Dann placed him on leave Monday based on undisclosed new information he says came out in the investigation.

From reviewing at least a dozen stories concerning events relating to this growing scandal, it’s clear that Ohio’s press has totally forgotten what party Dann is a member of. One paper even seems to have forgotten that Dann is the Buckeye State’s AG (but see Updates below). The statewide spread of CRA has become serious. Strangely, the disease only appears to affect the left side of the brain, as Ohio’s reporters usually have little trouble identifying the party of a scandal-plagued Republican.

The party affiliation of Dann, who at one time relished in portraying himself as Ohio’s up-and-coming equivalent of Eliot Spitzer (and who at one time was referred to by a left-side Ohio blog’s proprietor as “My Beloved Marc Dann“), is not mentioned in at least these Ohio press items:

  • The unbylined April 15 Toledo Blade report excerpted above (“Lawyer says Ohio workers who allege harassment have evidence”).
  • An April 14 Associated Press report (“Attorney General Marc Dann puts aide on leave in harassment investigation”) that appeared in the Blade.
  • A brief April 10 AP report in the Blade (“Attorney general says employee never in pajamas in his apartment”).
  • An April 18 report from Dann’s home area of Youngstown carried in the Vindicator and written by Cleveland Plain Dealer reporters Marc Rollenhagen and Reginald Fields (“Reports show Dann was aware of Gutierrez’s history of troubles”).
  • This April 18 Cleveland Openers blog post by Fields (“Reports show Dann was aware of Gutierrez’s history of troubles”).
  • This April 17 Dayton Daily News report by Laurie Bischoff (“Blackberry device inspected as part of sex harassment case”).
  • This 1,000-plus word April 19 article by the Plain Dealer’s and Rollenhagen and Fields containing details of one of the women’s recitation of events.
  • An April 18 AP report by Julie Carr Smyth (“Sexual complaint probe at top cop’s office intensifies”) in the Akron Beacon Journal.
  • An April 16 My Fox Cleveland story with an ironic twist (“Dann Defends Woman Amid Own Office’s Sexual Harassment Flap”).

As former Democratic Governor and US Senator from Georgia Zell Miller once said in another venue, “I could go on, and on, and on, and on.”

Oh, here’s an exception! After failing to do so in previous articles here, here, and here, Alan Johnson of the Columbus Dispatch (“Criminal complaint filed over Dann aide”) mentions Dann’s party — in the ninth and final paragraph.

Even beyond the harassment-related scandal, the Dayton Daily News’s Bischoff failed to note Dann’s party affiliation in a story today about a different matter that more directly involves him (“Dann authorized his driver to carry concealed weapon”).

“At least” the papers above are covering Dann-related events, even if, as appears to be the case with the Blade and the Beacon Journal, the coverage consists only of carrying AP reports.

The same cannot be said about the Cincinnati Enquirer, which apparently isn’t on the story at all, as this search result on “Dann” from earlier this morning would seem to indicate (HT The Daily Bellwether):

DannEnquirerSearch041908

Maybe the Enquirer doesn’t consider Cincinnati to be part of Ohio any more. As a Greater Cincinnati-area resident, that’s tempting on one level, but, unfortunately for the Enquirer, geographically incorrect.

Cross-posted in slightly revised form at NewsBusters.org.

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UPDATE, 3:30 p.m.: Noticed while out and about that the AP’s story was at the top of Page 1 of today’s print Enquirer. That doesn’t change the web site situation, but I did want to give the Enky credit for doing something with the story (no, I don’t know what has been in previous print editions, because I don’t subscribe).

UPDATE 2: Comment 1 has a link to the Enky’s online AP story posted 18 minutes after this entry was originally posted. Zheesh. Maybe the Enky reacted to this post (ha).

UPDATE 3, April 20: The same search on Dann at the Enquirer this morning picks up nothing today, meaning that Cincinnati.com searches don’t pick up wire-service stories carried at the Enquirer’s web site. Apparently, previous AP stories have also been posted at the Enquirer’s site and printed in the Enky (to which I do not subscribe). These are also not retrievable through Cincinnati.com’s search. So it’s not a problem with the search not picking up brand-new AP items, it simply doesn’t pick them up at all. Guys, that is really, really weak.

UPDATE 4, April 20: The Enquirer’s Frontier blog has entries on the Dann situation (newest to oldest) here, here, and here. There’s no party ID in any of the entries, that’s understandable, as the average political blog reader will already know. I don’t like the distinct “we’re above dealing with this” tone of the entries.

One Frontier commenter has it pegged: “Isn’t it embarrassing to the Enquirer that they have to link to other state newspapers so their readers can know about what is happening with the state’s Attorney General’s office?” Another commenter pointed out that Enquirer cartoonist Jim Borgman scooped his own paper’s reporters (“Ohio AG Frat House”).

UPDATE 5: One more beat-down — This 800-plus-word Dispatch report by Alan Johnson and James Nash from April 6, which looks to be the one that first broke the story of this particular Dann scandal, doesn’t identify Dann’s party affiliation.

As Delta and NWA Merge: What’s a Hub Got to Do With It?

Note: This column was originally posted at Pajamas Media on Thursday under the title “Airline Mergers and the High Cost of Flying.”

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UPDATE since PJM Column: “Delta president says deal won’t hurt Cincinnati hub, Comair.” The column explains why I don’t think that’s necessarily great news.

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TV coverage of the just-announced merger of Delta and Northwest gives the average viewer the impression that the sky is about to fall on travelers’ pocketbooks.

NewsBusters’ Jeff Poor had this review of how the Big Three networks’ evening news programs covered the news:

All three network newscasts on April 14 reported the ….. (deal) ….. as if it were a conspiracy to bilk air travelers out of more money.

….. ABC (World News Tonight) correspondent Lisa Stark said ….. (that) “Delta operates 1,500 flights a day with hubs in Atlanta, Cincinnati, New York and Salt Lake City. Northwest – some 1,200 flights a day with hubs in Detroit, Minneapolis and Memphis. Put the two together, and passengers could take a hit.”

….. According to “World News,” two of the hub cities – Memphis and Cincinnati – could be de-hubbed after the merger.

….. The other two networks were also critical of the merger deal. “NBC Nightly News” assumed the merger would cause fares to increase because of supply. “CBS Evening News” trotted out a Democratic pro-airline union congressman that opposed the merger.

Living in Greater Cincinnati, I suppose I should be worrying about the coming Armageddon caused by the loss of our precious Delta hub.

You must be kidding.

Here are some examples of what it has been like having an airport where one airline (along with smaller but Delta-beholden Comair) controls over 85% of the traffic.

I obtained the lowest quotes for trips from Greater Cincinnati (CVG) and nearby airports to a few common destinations. All flight quotes obtained assumed departure on April 23 and return on April 25, and included all taxes and fees. Quotes were obtained on or before April 16, in time to take advantage of 7-day advance fares. All flights from Cincinnati were non-stops (that’s what hubs are for, right?). Comparison quotes from other cities were non-stops unless otherwise noted, and I sought out non-Cincinnati non-stop alternatives on other airlines. Flights are on Delta unless otherwise noted. Non-locals should know that Dayton, Columbus, and Indianapolis are about 55, 110, and 110 miles, respectively, from Cincinnati.

Los Angeles (LAX):
- From Cincinnati — $1,059
- From Dayton via Atlanta — $360
- From Columbus via Atlanta — $296.50
- From Indianapolis via Atlanta or Cincinnati(!) — $352
- From Indianapolis via Chicago O’Hare, on United — $301

Dallas (DFW):
- From Cincinnati — $850
- From Dayton via Atlanta — $776
- From Columbus via Atlanta — $424
- From Indianapolis via Atlanta — $424
- From Indianapolis, on American — $382

Washington Reagan National (DCA):
- From Cincinnati — $1,029
- From Dayton — $576
- From Columbus — $606
- From Indianapolis — $310
- From Indianapolis, on US Airways — $314

You can see why, for the past two decades, Greater Cincinnati travelers have been wearing out the roads to other towns, just to get tolerable air fares. All too often, as seen in the Indianapolis to Los Angeles example above, Delta trips originating in other cities go through Cincinnati for their connections!

I estimate that I have flown out of a city other than Cincinnati 80% of the time during the past ten years. I went through one 2-1/2 year stretch involving about 25 trips without ever flying out of Cincinnati, either because my clients wouldn’t put up with paying Cincinnati-level fares, or because I could not see sticking them with such fares.

Cincinnati turned into a “pass-through” airport once Delta became dominant. It became, and has remained, among the 25 or so busiest airports in the country only because so many travelers pass through it to make connecting flights. Meanwhile, we locals, unless we happen to work for one of the few large employers in the area who have special deals with Delta, begin our adventures in the sky elsewhere.

The hub setup has been great for airport employment, but I don’t see how the rest of Greater Cincinnati is better off. In fact, I believe that some companies considering relocation or expansion here have thought better of doing so because of the impossible airfare structure. It has also hurt existing small- and medium-sized businesses struggling to compete against rivals in towns where air fares, thanks to multi-carrier competition, have been sane.

So you’ll have to excuse me if I think that losing a Delta hub would not be the end of the world. In fact, as Dave at NixGuy noted on Tuesday:

The good news is that with an empty CVG, we could attract more discount flights or possibly even a discount hub. Less direct flights, but cheaper.

As usual, newscasts have focused on the short-term pains while ignoring the very real possibilities of long-term gains. After two decades experiencing the “benefits” of one dominant hub carrier, I’ll take my chances on doing without one.

Positivity: ‘Guardian angel’ gets recognition

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 8:50 am

From Colorado Springs, Colorado:

April 12, 2008 – 12:36AM

As many as 10 people were nearby when a Colorado Springs man was attacked after a New Year’s Eve party downtown – stabbed without warning by a man he didn’t know.

Only one person did something about it.

Jonathan H. Johnson, 35, was walking to his car as Michael Strauch was attacked on Tejon Street in the early hours of Jan. 1, 2007. Johnson pushed the assailant from the bleeding man, knocked his attacker unconscious, then carried Strauch out of the street and put pressure on his wounds, all while other revelers stood watching.

Johnson was awarded a Carnegie Hero Medal this week for his selflessness, a national award bestowed only on those who risk their lives to save others. He was among 22 people recognized by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, established by industrialist Andrew Carnegie in 1904.

The award comes with a $6,000 prize.

Friday, Johnson said he would have been content with a simple “thank you.” Strauch, 25, thought more recognition was in order for the man he says saved his life.

“He’s my guardian angel,” said Strauch, who along with his mother nominated Johnson for the award. Johnson also received a Citizen of Distinction Award from the Colorado Springs Police Department in September.

Strauch said he and his then-girlfriend were leaving what was then Eden nightclub on Pikes Peak Avenue about 1 a.m. when they passed a man ranting and shouting obscenities near the intersection with Tejon.

Strauch noticed a knife in his hand and grew worried when the assailant – later identified as Nathan S. Dickerman, 27 – began approaching the couple.

He told the stranger to get away, then turned around and started walking again.

Without saying a word, Strauch said, Dickerman stabbed him in the back. Strauch spun around to meet his attacker and was stabbed in the chest, puncturing his lung.

Johnson, at his car parked nearby, saw blood coursing down the back of Strauch’s white dress shirt and grabbed Dickerman just as the assailant landed his second blow. Dickerman attacked Johnson, backing him against a wall and slashing and lunging with the knife.

Johnson suffered a cut to his left arm and banged his head against the wall while dodging the knife. He managed to end Dickerman’s charge by kicking him in the abdomen and then punching him, knocking the 3½-inch blade knife out of his hand.

“I don’t know if it was an adrenaline punch or what, but it was the hardest I’ve ever hit anything in my life,” he said. “It knocked him out cold, right there.”

It wasn’t until police arrived and arrested Dickerman that Johnson realized he’d been cut. Dickerman pleaded guilty to second-degree assault on the anniversary of the attack and was given a 12-year prison sentence. He had been charged with attempted murder.

Strauch and Johnson woke up in the same room at Memorial Hospital the morning after the attack. Johnson, who had never met Strauch, remembers looking up at two strangers – Strauch’s parents, Manny and Carolyn Strauch.

“His mom gives me this huge hug and I said, ‘I’m sorry, I don’t know who you are,’” Johnson said. …..

Go here for the rest of the story.