Guest Post: Our Elections, Like Our Communities, Must be Open to Those of All Faiths

Rev. Dr. Stephen Smith serves as the rector of St. Patrick's Episcopal Church in Dublin, Ohio.

The elections are over. The endless campaign commercials have ceased, even if the yard signs still overwhelm the right of ways.

More persistent than the omnipresent yard signs is the residue of the politics of fear. This election cycle, candidates manipulated fears of Ebola, unrest in the Middle East, and the specter of the “other party” being in power, all as something to be feared.

A more grassroots fear emerged in southern Ohio as a local candidate for public office received several threats because of her Muslim faith. Cathina Hourani, a candidate from Liberty Township/Butler County, Ohio, who ran for the state’s 52nd State House District, received multiple threatening phone calls after the Journal News published a story on her candidacy. Hostile comments also appeared on the Journal’s website in response to the article, including the shocking “Don’t elect a Muslim SOB, you should start shooting them.”

Is it any wonder that such fear-generated attacks on a Muslim candidate emerged at a grassroots level when the climate of our national and regional political debates is little more than public fear-mongering by candidates of all parties?

Such threats have no place in the political dialogue of this country. Our Constitution guarantees the right to free expression of religion. It protects the worshiper from feeling compelled to alter his or her beliefs either because of the dominance of the state, the culture at large, or because of violent threats. Moreover, the Constitution prohibits a religious test for holding public office; our politicians best serve us by displaying their public policy prowess, not their religious background.

Bill O'Neill to Ohio Dems: We Need A Plan

Justice Bill O'Neill, a Vietnam veteran, labor union organizer, lawyer, judge, nurse, two-time congressional candidate, state Supreme Court Justice, and loyal Democrat, released this statement this evening after starting a spirited discussion on Facebook earlier today:

COLUMBUS, OH | The dismal and predictable Democratic turnout for Tuesday’s
election resulted in what is arguably one of the worst election cycles for
Democrats in Ohio history. This fact, as difficult as it may be to accept, is
the harsh reality facing our party. The question, however, is where do we go
from here.

This election, and the resignation of our Chair Chris Redfern, has left our
party with a void that must be filled. I rise to caution the party faithful, to
slow down, take a deep breath, and get ready for a methodical and thorough
rebuilding process. This is not the time for power brokers and insiders to
deprive the party faithful of a meaningful healing process

Chris Redfern did his best to mobilize Democrats throughout the state. Now is
the time to unify them. I for one believe if we are to regain our rightful
place at the table, Democrats need to return to their roots. And those roots
include openly embracing new ideas; a statewide organization built upon the
foundation of 88 local county parties; and a truly open selection process for
both leaders and candidates.

What we did in the recent past did not work, and it is time to try a new

Unification will not come easy. There will be those who attempt to force an
agenda upon our membership. Those who would hand pick the next leader of our
party, and strip away our right to elect our own chair must be shown the door.
It is time to change the way we do business at ODP, and that starts with a
wholesale abandonment of the present “executive committee” stacking process.

Only by conducting a true county chair election process for the selection of our

Bad Punditry: Plain Dealer Edition. #Time2Cancel

*In Which the Plain Dealer Absolves Itself of Working to Influence the Election Results While Continuing to Gloat About Doing So*

The Plain Dealer/Northeast Ohio Media Group/Frankenmedia is drunk with hubris. Its collective head is swollen to the point of exploding with its success in destroying not just Ed FitzGerald but an entire Democratic ticket so superior to the incumbents it’s a tragedy for all Ohioans that they didn’t win. You can smell the gloating oozing from its coverage. It doesn’t know how to win graciously, and it’s no longer trying to hide its bias and partisanship.

Now even with the election results finalized, the PD/NEOMG/FM is continuing its scorched-earth campaign against FitzGerald. “FitzGerald’s lack of a drivers license requires punishment,” blares an editorial headline today. This verges on personal hatred for FitzGerald — destroying him totally just because they can. It feels like they are sending a message: don’t cross our corporate bosses or else.

FitzGerald did that when, after opposing a county charter they clearly hoped would put Ohio’s biggest Democratic county under Republican rule, he ran for county executive and defeated the Republican they anointed to take over. I think they never forgot this and it’s what’s behind their savage and unrelenting coverage of an almost absurdly trivial misdeed. Armond Budish, watch your back and renew your drivers license.

The PD is also continuing to tear at the Democratic Party, clearly not content until it completely ruins its credibility in the county and makes voters so cynical, discouraged and apathetic that voter turnout continue to sink to record lows. And then they tut-tut about voter apathy—the very apathy they created.

Bad Punditry Analyzes the Elections

As usual, the media is making jackasses of itself analyzing what went “wrong” for the Democrats in the elections this week. It’s the week for really bad punditry. But then what week isn’t.

We’re hearing the Democrats didn’t have a “message.” They did and polls show it’s the one most people want to hear: that the system is rigged to favor the wealthy and work against the average person. Yet they voted to give more power to those who want to give the most power to corporations and the rich.

We hear that it was a referendum on the deeply unpopular president with approvals mired in the low 40s. They don’t mention that Congress is mired at half that with the Republican delegation even lower. So it can’t be that.

Of course we’re hearing that now Democrats need to move to the right because that’s practically a reflex reaction among the media. When Democrats win, they never say Republicans should move to the left. In fact, many say Republicans should hold their ground in order to provide a check or balance on the Democrats. And of course moving to the right means conceding still more ground to the wealthy. And Democrats who run to the right are the first to lose. So that’s not it.

My favorite media narrative is “It wasn’t the money.”

And in Marriage Equality news ... Feh. Ohio Ban Upheld By 6th District Court


Across the country bans on marriage equality are falling like dominoes in some very unexpected places, as court after court declares state "defense of marriage" laws illegal. This is a fight whose end is in sight. And that is cause for rejoicing.

Alas, Ohio is still on the waiting list. The 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld same-sex marriage bans in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee after district courts had struck down the bans in all four states.

Finally, the homophobes are able to chalk up a victory after four circuit courts struck down bans in conservative states like Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, and Idaho, as well as Wisconsin, Virginia and Nevada, where Britney Spears "solemnized" her infamous drunken weekend-long marriage that somehow deserved more consideration and respect than a gay couple together for 20, 30, even 50 years.

This puts a crimp in the contention of some LGBT groups who have insisted we should hold off and drag our feet in putting a marriage equality issue on the Ohio ballot and maybe the courts will get us off the hook. Those groups have discouraged and even disparaged the efforts of FreedomOhio, which has been working for almost three years to put marriage equality on Ohio's ballot. But in delivering this decision today, one of the panel of three judges explicitly said that that marriage equality should be decided by made by the political process and not by judges.

Ian James, co-founder of Freedom Ohio, said,

Dennis Wojtanowski says he won't go after ODP chair position

Responding to the criticism that it's too soon to anoint someone to replace Chris Redfern as chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party and that it might be perceived that he is trying to sew up the job before any of the party's constituencies have a chance to weigh in, Dennis Wojtanowski has said he won't go after the ODP chairmanship. This despite Senator Sherrod Brown says he'd be the guy for the job.

It will save many people some spelling headaches as well as open discussion about some of the other various names flying around. They include former statewide candidates Connie Pillich and David Pepper, who if there were any justice and fair campaigns, would have been elected to replace our current execrable treasurer and attorney general. Janet Carson, current chair of the Geauga County Democratic Party, has been mentioned. She's also chairman of the Ohio Democratic County Chairs Association, which means she's well acquired with issues in every party of the state and had built contacts across Ohio. All of these are candidates with assets that should be explored if they are interested. As I've already indicated, I don't think former Strickland chief of staff John Haseley is a good choice because he'd rip open some wounds still not quite healed from the acrimonious 2010 U.S. Senate primary. That's a sleeping dog we need to let lie.

Good for Dennis recognizing that the party needs an inclusive process, not a preselection. And don't believe the hostile media or armchair observers on Facebook who prattle about how we don't have a farm team or a bench of promising fighters for our values. We do. We just have to engage them.

Toledo Blade Article Reflects Big Problem at Ohio Democratic Party

Read this article "Top candidate surfaces to lead Ohio Democrats" from the Toledo Blade, and tell me if you notice this problem too.

Every single person mentioned or talked to from the Democratic Party is a white male, mostly older. The one younger male, Matt Szollosi, clearly has no standing to talk for Democrats anymore in any way since his union broke to support Kasich, pathetically grateful that he tossed them some jobs, for which they were willing to sell all other core Democratic constituencies down the river.

Now obviously, the Democratic Party doesn't control who the Toledo Blade chooses to talk to or about, but reading the article, it's clear they are talking to and about the key players available. And not one single woman or African-American is in that loop. Not one. If I'm wrong about the latter, let me know, but I've gone over it pretty carefully.

Yes, the Ohio Republican Party is pretty much the same but that's not a standard we should aspire to. We are the party that is supposed to be looking beyond the support of older white men. And we won't be doing that as long as we have the party reflected in this Blade article.

Chris Redfern Resigns As Ohio Democratic Party Chair

After a shocking loss in his state House district race Tuesday, Chris Redfern has announced his resignation as chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, a post he's held since 2005.

While my colleague Derek has long advocated for Redfern's resignation, as you can see from the previous post, I have not been that convinced that Redfern was at the core of our problems. And I still don't think so. There have been many problems. But after this cycle, it's clear he is one of them and even if he wasn't, the perception within the party made it clear it was time for him to go.

The real issue is what comes next. Already feathers are being ruffled and people are being angered because, even before we've had a chance to lick our wounds and debrief, Sherrod Brown is already publicly promoting his longtime friend Dennis Wojtanowski , a ’70s legislator and ’80s political operative, for the job.

Without evaluating whether Wojtanowksi is the right person to create a forward-looking vision for the party and engage and energize a wider range of potential activists, the idea of trying to push the next chair into place this quickly could leave lasting resentments. There should be an open discussion among all the party's constituencies about identifying a range of candidates and assessing their ability to rejuvenate a party full of people who right now don't feel like their best efforts amounted to much.

Chris Redfern's complete and utter implosion - ...

Whelp, it's time for my "told you so" moment. Below is a re-post of an article I did warning the Ohio Democratic Party not to re-elect Chris Redfern as party chair. I wrote the post in 2012 when he was up for re-election then. The point of my post was that he was self-absorbed, aloof, and couldn't do the most important part of the job, which was win. I got rebuffed, the middle finger, and watched him get overwhelming re-elected that year. Oh well, I tried. For the next party chair shouldn't part of the criteria be that they can win multiple elections in multiple cycles? And that they've had a track record of doing so.

Re-post from post that ran on March 3/28/2012

"Chris Redfern must go

I got a strange e-mail from “Chris Redfern” a few weeks ago. I put the parenthese around his name, because it was a general e-mail blast, so it really wasn’t directly from him. I found the message in the e-mail strange though. In the message, Chris Redfern, is asking for donations to the Ohio Democratic Party to help him “expose the right-wing.”

Chris Redfern is working on exposing the right?

I’ve been following Chris Redfern for the last year on his Twitter account. After the losses Democrats suffered in 2010, I’ve been hoping he would step up. I’ve been hoping he would become the much-needed persuasive voice for the Democrats in Ohio. But after a full year, I would have to say that Chris has been a miserable failure.

For the most part, from following Chris on Twitter, he predominately babbles about his “Raiders, Irish, A's and Falcons.” He’ll discuss the Miller Boat Ferry and whether it’s running or not. I understand that he’s enjoyed some nice sunsets while wandering around on the Lake Erie Islands.

And that’s a huge problem with Chris Redfern.

Erick Trickey's interesting read on Ed FitzGerald - ...

Erick Trickey, Senior Editor for Cleveland Magazine has an interesting read on Ed FitzGerald. Although I doubt he has much regard for me given my criticism of Ohio "journalists", I do believe he's the last, at least somewhat analytical, political writer in the state. It's clear he has a lot more interest in his subject matter than some other people.

I don't agree with everything he wrote. For example, in his article he states the odds were long to defeat Kasich to begin with. I think John Kasich was a lot more vulnerable than some people realize. He had a myriad of issues that never really surfaced during the campaign. And if the SB5 people had gotten activated like they should have, I think he would have had a real fight on his hands. No matter... Erick Trickey's article is still an interesting read. Here's the first part with a link to the rest of it at the end.

"FitzGerald loses even his home county in epic defeat

He could’ve run the town for as long as he wanted.

Ed FitzGerald had a job with no term limits. He could’ve run for reelection this year as the guy who restored confidence in Cuyahoga County government after the Jimmy Dimora era.

Instead, FitzGerald let hubris guide him. He thought he could pull off a leap as daring as his jump from Lakewood mayor to Cuyahoga County executive. So he ran for governor, taking the long odds any Democrat faced this year, despite the scandal he should’ve known awaited."

Love it when Connie Schultz comes out swinging - ...

This tweet from Connie Schultz says it all...


Congratulations to Armond Budish

who kept the Cuyahoga County executive seat in Democratic hands handily, despite the confidence of Republican candidate Jack Schron and his obedient minions at the Cleveland Plain Dealer who firmly believed they could put this big blue county under Republican rule — which would have ended the Democratic Party and any voice we might have had in Ohio for decades to come.

This race was significant for 2016 too. Without a Democrat in this seat, there was virtually no chance the presidential candidate could carry Ohio. With anti-voter, anti-democracy secretary of voter suppression Jon Husted reelected, it's going to be enough of a battle anyway.

Good luck to Armond! We're going to have a lot of fighting to do with the state run by a gang of the most corrupt, crony-loving elected officials in Columbus who could not care less about the welfare of the ordinary person.

A Disastrous Night for Ohio Women. A Statement from Women's Rights Advocates

Two misogynistic officeholders who have devoted themselves to oppressing women and taking away their control over their lives have been reelected, and things are only going to get worse in Ohio.

Here's a statement from some determined warriors for women in Ohio, fighting in a bleak, woman-unfriendly state: Kellie Copeland of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio; Jasmine Burnett of New Voices Cleveland, 216-307-3185; Celeste Ribbins of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio; and Nancy Pitts of Preterm.


Cleveland—NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, New Voices Cleveland, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio, and Preterm are working in coalition to address issues of reproductive freedom and reproductive justice throughout Ohio. In response to the statewide election results in Ohio, the group issued the following joint statement:

We are disappointed at the outcome of the election, but we are clear that the results do not signal a statewide endorsement of Governor Kasich’s anti-choice policies. Many voters expressed their opinion by not voting today. Even the editorial board of the Toledo Blade endorsed ‘none of the above’ in the gubernatorial race.

What we are excited about, however, is how the discussion around women’s health was elevated during this election cycle. And we will continue to elevate that conversation until it becomes a defining issue for candidates so they can no longer get away with refusing to answer even the most basic questions about a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her body, her health care and her family.

By no means is this fight over. We will continue to engage our supporters to fight for reproductive justice and women’s health.

The re-election of Governor Kasich, along with Attorney General Mike DeWine and gerrymandered mega-majorities in the legislature, signals a dangerous time for women’s health policies:

A Stunning Level of Arrogance That Bodes Ill for Ohio — Jon Husted Edition


The current GOP statewide officeholders are among the most arrogant we've seen. We all know how all except auditor David Yost refused to debate their opponent, an unprecedented occurrence, one that may have benefited them politically but which made a mockery of democracy by depriving voters of the change to learn about and compare candidates. Message: you voters don't count.

And we have all seen how Governor John Kasich has given Ohioans the finger by refusing to explain his many controversial actions or to talk about the many more he is widely rumored to have in pipeline for his second term should he be reelected. He doesn't think us little people deserve to know his agenda.

And he's not the only one. There is, for instance, Secretary of Voter Suppress... I mean STATE ... Jon Husted.

This story has been kicking around a few weeks, but with Election Day today, it's risen to the top again. And it got coverage today on Rachel Maddow's blog.

Polling places are strictly nonpartisan. You have undoutedly seen all the signs and maybe even some candidates outside your polling place — 100 feet away from the entrance, as close as they're allowed to come. You may have even been asked to take off a campaign button or turn a candidate T-shirt inside out. Except for that sample ballot held close in your hand, even voters are not allowed to be sporting candidate names.

Except now Jon Husted has decreed the rule doesn't apply to Jon Husted. He's ordered signs with his names displayed in polling places. Longtime poll workers of both parties are outraged.

Thank you, Connie Schultz

Connie Schultz has called on WCPN to remove Chris Quinn as a commentator on their Friday news roundup show. She's absolutely right to do so.

Chris Quinn is under fire for his strange removal of an endorsement interview video that featured Ohio's three gubernatorial candidates. He's refused to say why he did it.

If Chris Quinn can't be honest about why he removed the video, what else would he be willing to be dishonest about? How exactly could he be trusted to be an honest commentator for a news roundup show?

WCPN is a publicly funded radio station. Don't they owe it to the people who donated to them to have the most forthcoming people on their news roundup?

Poor Nick Mascari - ...

Thanks again for reading Ohio Daily Blog and your twitter response.

Did you read what I wrote? Did you comprehend it? Because by your rather primary response, it doesn't seem like you did.

Can you point me to any other newsource in Ohio that repeats things ad nauseam the way NEOMG does?

Terrible candidate
What kind of candidate has to keep opponents off the ballot? Great job you all did with Charlie Earl.

Ed FitzGerald was one point behind John Kasich before NEOMG started its bizarre obsession. Apparently, some people liked what he was saying.

Do you understand math, Nick? Henry Gomez's writing is a variable. Remove it, and what happens to the equation? Do you get the same outcome? What happens if you increase the number of stories about Laura Johnson and Heather Brandt? (I mean, what were they doing, if they weren't in the office? How much time did they fudge? And who else in the Governor's office or Lt. Governor's office [which are pretty much the same] were doing what they did?) Or how about John Kasich's handling of toxic alage? Or what about his backing of terribly performing charter schools? Or what about his gag order on rape crisis counselors where they can't mention abortion? (John Kasich says he supports abortion in the case of rape). Or what if there were more stories about how he defunded food banks? I think the outcome would change. Get it, Nick? Well, I think with your peabrain, you probably don't.

Thanks again for your somewhat banal response. I'd invite you to debate me on these things, but apparently Ohio Repubicans can't do that. And that's pathetic, Dude.

A Little Election Day Blast From the Past

Yes, the Plain Dealer/NEOMG is a horrible, biased, news-free media outlet, but let's not forget how bad the Columbus Disgrace ... I mean Dispatch ... is. A few years ago the Dispatch purchased Columbus alternative newspaper the Other Paper and vaporized all its content from the web.

That included a terrific 2010 story by Lyndsey Teter called "Does Ohio Need As S.O.B. As Governor?" It told story after story of the self-absorbed, bullying arrogance of John Kasich — clearly not something the Kasich ass-kissing Dispatch wanted out there.

But every once in a while, I stumble on a piece of it and I thought you might enjoy this. It's only the tip of the iceberg. Alas, the rest is mostly gone.

As the legend goes, Brad Cody was a 16-year-old grocery store clerk at the Big Bear at the corner of Schrock Road and Cleveland Avenue when he recalls his first—and last—encounter with then-Congressman John Kasich.

“I believe the year was 1988, and he came in with a wife or a girlfriend and he bought maybe $20 or $30 worth of stuff, and he tried to pay with a check,” Cody said.

It wasn’t just any ordinary check, however. It was a “fancy check,” embellished with his name and the address of his congressional office in Washington, D.C., Cody said. Unfortunately, the Westerville store’s policy required that accepting out-of-state checks, fancy or otherwise, required two forms of identification.

Kasich only had one.

“His anger was evident,” Cody said. The congressman was already riled, Cody said, because the video store had closed at 10 p.m., and the manager had refused to open back up so he could browse the rentals. “Kasich replied, ‘Do you know who I am?’” Cody said.

Ohio is the outlier - ...

Across the nation we are seeing tight races in statewide elections. From senate battles to governorships many races are within the margin. Candidates are within striking distance of one another and it's tough to get a read on exactly what will happen. From Maine to Kentucky to Iowa to Louisiana to Alaska to Kansas - yes Kansas - all these states have senate races and governor races in play. And in Michigan and Wisconsin two states with very similar back stories to Ohio for 2014 there are very competitive races for governor in those states. But we find none of this in Ohio.

No, in Ohio, John Kasich is about to run away with the election. What's been the difference? Quite simply it's been the awful reporting by the Ohio press corps aided by a terrible Ohio Democratic Party that couldn't understand what was really going on in the election and was filled with cowards that ran (Nick Buis, Daniel McElhatton, Aaron Pickrell) at the first sign of trouble. There's been no one I've talked to, Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Green, Independent, who really believe that a race for governor should be decided on an issue concerning a driver's license. But that's what Ohio's media fixated on. Every so often one of Ohio's "journalists" tweets something about the diminishing number of reports covering the statehouse, etc, and I have to ask, would it really make a difference if none of you existed? Seriously, what more do any of you do than to sit back, wait to see what Henry Gomez and NEOMG write, and then like lemmings just follow along. Why does NEOMG dictate what you all write? Or don't, in the case the disappearing editorial board video NEOMG removed.

Ohio is the outlier. It's an anomaly in the 2014 election. And the anomaly was no accident. It was crafted. And the citizens of Ohio should be furious about it.

Henry Gomez remains terrible - ...

Henry Gomez's latest Republican cheerleading focuses on how John Kasich is looking to "run up the score"...

He's looking to run up the score, because he's so compassionate, right Henry?

In reality John Kasich, can run up the score on the Democrats, in part, because of you and Northeast Ohio Media Group's (NEOMG) awful reporting.

Their Goal Is To Discourage You. Don't Fall For It. Vote!


Will Ohio’s worst governor in decades win reelection by the huge margin the Ohio newspapers are hosanna’ing and halleluia’ing this morning in a poll that shows “bad news for Democrats” and a statewide Republican sweep?

I have no idea. That would certainly be tragic for Ohio.


One thing we have learned this cycle is that our largest newspapers—the Cleveland Plain Dealer/Northeast Ohio Media Group and the Columbus Dispatch—are no longer pretending to be impartial deliverers of news. Both are now openly mouthpieces for the Ohio Republican Party.

And I have believed, ever since they started their stupid, tabloid-style saturation coverage of Ed FitzGerald’s drivers license, that their real goal was to discourage Democratic voters, to make people apathetic and cynical, to make them throw up their hands and say “Everyone stinks so why should I vote?”


Guest Post: What Ed FitzGerald Should Have Asked Governor Kasich About Health Policy

Guest Post by Daniel Skinner

*Daniel Skinner is Assistant Professor of Health Policy in the Department of Social Medicine at Ohio University’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine. Follow him on Twitter at @danielrskinner*

It’s a shame for many reasons that Governor John Kasich rejected challenger Ed FitzGerald’s call for a series of debates leading up to the November 4 gubernatorial election. As many Ohioans have noted, refusing voters even a single chance to see the candidates engage issues directly, side-by-side on the same stage, seems downright undemocratic. Conventional wisdom is that the governor has presidential ambitions and wanted to avoid generating soundbites that might be used against him later. I don’t know if that is true. But if so, presidential ambitions have done a great disservice to Ohioans.

The stakes are particularly high for health care policy. The Ohio gubernatorial election would have been a perfect opportunity to sort through the noise that has accompanied implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), so-called “Obamacare.” Here are some questions Ohioans would have benefitted hearing the governor’s views on:

1. Medicaid. Against considerable resistance from his own party, Governor Kasich expanded Ohio’s Medicaid program. Upwards of 50,000 more Ohioans now have Medicaid coverage and health care reform advocates have applauded the governor for making this happen. But the governor also wants to be seen as an opponent of the ACA. How does he think the Medicaid expansion is working? What is the future of the program? Does Ohio plan to stick with it?

Reducing the Attorney General Race to a Food Fight

*David Pepper at the West Side Market in Cleveland*

After Governor Kasich, no current statewide officeholder—not even execrable state treasurer Josh Mandel—has accumulated such a bad record in office in the last four years as attorney general Mike DeWine.

Whether it’s rampant cronyism, turning a blind eye to sexual harassment in his office, using the Steubenville gang rape case more to showboat than work to change the climate of contempt for women, spending Ohio taxpayer money running around the country in support of other states’ attempts to put contraception out of reach for women, concealing pertinent evidence in a racially charged police shooting, or going to court to try to block a gay man, married in another state, from being legally recognized on his dying spouse’s death certificate, it’s been one violation after another of the standards of fairness and impartiality you have a right to expect from your attorney general.

Yet when his opponent David Pepper points any of this out—stuff that the Plain Dealer ITSELF should have been pointing out—the paper brands it “mudslinging.” It’s one of the most extreme reductions of an important race to he said/he said non-reporting I’ve ever seen. It’s like they just don’t think Mike DeWine’s actual actions count.

Of course, despite everything, the paper—incredibly—endorsed DeWine, ludicrously contending that this drab, intellectually mediocre career politician “brought passion and energy to the job.”

Newspapers' High-Minded Principles & the Less Noble Reality

Jill Zimon posted a good column on her blog Writes Like She Talks, exploring the discrepancy between what newspapers claim their mission and principles are and what they actually do, as demonstrated by the Plain Dealer/North East Ohio Media Group's removal of its video of the endorsement interview it did last week with the three candidates for governor and its failure to respond to inquiries about why they did so.

Jill shows us some of the American Society of News Editors "statement of principles" as well as Advance Publications' (PD/NEOMG's parent company) own "objectives" and "core values" as stated on its own website. Many will see a chasm the size of Gand Canyon between these objective and core values and what it seems like the PD/NEOMG is doing in practice.

Does it really "empower readers with serious journalism —rigorous, thorough, aggressive and fair — across all platforms"?

Many would disagree, given the plethora of serious issues the paper has barely explored and the trivial issues it has given saturation coverage to. When a candidate's personal flubs are given daily exposure but questions about how hundreds of millions of our tax dollars are being spent in Columbus are barely asked, this almost seems mocking.

The gulf between the ASNE “statement of principles” and how the PD/NEOMG has been delivering the news is even greater.

Meet Them At the Box Tomorrow

Tomorrow is the only Sunday of early voting—a day when "Souls to the Polls" has taken place since the implementation of in-person early voting in Ohio. That's when many black urban churches load their parishioners on buses after Sunday services and take them down to the board of elections to vote.

Of course, secretary of voter suppress.... I mean STATE...Jon Husted and his fellow Republicans have been doing their best to stop it. Still, this one day remains. And Democrats and black churches are making some noise about it.

Yelling the loudest is that champion for voter turnout, Nina Turner, who is challenging Husted for his job and who has promised that boosting voter turnout in EVERY community would be a priority for her.

Tomorrow from 2-4 pm Turner will be hosting "Meet Me @ the Box" at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections at E. 30th and Euclid. Don't worry about the weather. Nothing will stop her. This is the woman who slept in a tent on the sidewalk outside the board of elections in 2012 on the night before the first day of early voting to get some TV coverage and assure that voters knew early voting had started.

Down in Cincinnati, state representative Alicia Reece, local pastors and other organizations are hosting Souls to the Polls at the Hamilton County Board of Elections at 824 Broadway starting at 2pm. There will be a prayer vigil for voting rights (and with Republicans in charge, that's going to take a lot of praying!), a short voting rights rally, gathering of signatures for a permanent solution to voting rights (Ohio Voter Bill of Rights Ballot Petition), and then going in to vote. They will have buses and vans at various churches around the area for people who need a ride. Call Marian Butler @ 513-314-5039 if you need more information.

Plain Dealer's Descent Into National Joke Continues

Who would have dreamed when our own Derek K wrote his prescient series of posts this summer that by this time, the Plain Dealer's reputation would be in freefall and that it would be the butt of national mockery, as it sold its soul to guard John Kasich's governorship.

Did it ever occur to them — maybe during the endorsement interview last week when Kasich turned in a performance unworthy of being elected to a minor leadership position in a Cub Scout troop — that they'd ALREADY done enough to rig the election and that tossing the last few shreds of their reputation in the toilet wasn't actually necessary? Or are the internal polls showing Kasich and FitzGerald a lot closer than they would have you believe?

Who knows. But Steve Benen at MSNBCs Rachel Maddow Blog is only the latest to put this sorry former news outlet turned Republican propaganda machine in the glare of the national spotlight.

In a post this morning titled "The Gag Rule Kasich Doesn't Want to Talk About," Benen wrote of the now-infamous endorsement interview,

The discussion, such as it was, continued for a while, with the governor repeatedly saying he’s “pro-life,” while (a) refusing to answer the question; (b) refusing to acknowledge his rivals were sitting next to him; and (c) refusing to recognize the policy he imposed on his state. Kasich, the chief executive one of the nation’s largest states, did all of this while adopting the mannerisms of a petulant child who’s been told to take a time out.

He goes on to say reveal for yet another set of readers outside Ohio exactly how the PD had pulled down the video of the only encounter this campaign season between all the candidates and how they threatened Plunderbund — twice now — for posting a clip of it.

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