At what point does the Dispatch lose all journalistic credibility?
The entire “bust” at the Governor’s Mansion started by a letter intercepted by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections written by an inmate to his wife.? Nobody disputes this.
According to my sources familiar with the letter (i.e. people who actually have SEEN the document), the letter refers to the contraband as a “six pack” and even discussed the price he obtain for getting the item in the prison.
At the time, officials at the DRC informed the Highway Patrol investigating the matter that the term “six pack” is commonly used code word by inmates for… tobacco cigarettes.? I’ve been told that no less than the then DIRECTOR of the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections told the Patrol that the term and the price mentioned indicated that the item could only be tobacco cigarettes, and not drugs.
Nonetheless, some mid-level managers in the Patrol insisted that the item might be drugs even though there was no evidence to support the conclusion.
So pervasive was the perception that the contraband in question was likely tobacco and not drugs, that even the mid-level Patrol managers who were pushing to do the “bust” detailed in their plan that the first priority upon seeing the inmate’s wife making the planned drop (even though those same officers conceded that there was also a strong likelihood that the intercepted communication never even made it to the inmate’s wife) was to first determine if the item was, in fact, criminally illegal contraband.? A fact that neither the Dispatch or WBNS has reported in their news stories despite the fact that the Dispatch published e-mails on their website that they’ve received pursuant to a public records request that confirms this (see pg. 9).
Even worse, a WBNS reporter actually used an image of the inmate’s letter in a news story last night, but never mentioned that the terms used in it led almost every investigator involved to conclude that there was a strong probability that any stop of the woman would be illegal as there was no criminal conspiracy as the suspected “contraband” was likely tobacco cigarettes.
In fact, the WBNS reporter did not even ACKNOWLEDGE what even the Dispatch has admitted– that the item was likely tobacco and a big reason the “raid” was scrubbed was that it was more likely than the raid itself was illegal than the suspected contraband.
Furthermore, neither the Dispatch, nor WBNS has reported that the organization representing the rank-and-file of the Ohio Highway Patrol has been decrying the politicization of this “bust” by the very mid-level Highway Patrol managers involved who are upset over the Governor’s most recent appointment to Superintendent of the Patrol–something that the Dispatch‘s editors have also attempted to castigate at the time.
I’m awaiting further documentation, but I’ve been told that instead of being reassigned for political retribution (as the Dispatch‘s media empire has reported) over the thwarted cigarette raid at the Governor’s Mansion, one of the officers involved was being reassigned due to disciplinary misconduct entirely unrelated to the situation at the Governor’s Mansion.? Again, a fact easily ascertainable by a public records request (mine is pending) that the Dispatch organizations would ordinarily examine if they were interested in reporting the full facts of this story.
And what’s worse, here’s an actual quote from the Senate Republican seeking to use his Committee gavel to politicize the issue further as reported by… you guess it, WBNS:
“Here’s what I believe is part of a cover-up to an unwarranted and unnecessary criminal investigation that should have been allowed to have been completed.”? State Sen. Tim Grendell.
Not even Chairman Grendell can blast the Strickland Administration without admitting that “bust” was an unwarranted and unnecessary criminal investigation!
So ridiculous has the situation has gotten than no less than the editorial board of the Cleveland Plain Dealer— a frequent critic of Governor Strickland (more so than even the Dispatch)– has decried the politicization by Republicans and former Patrol managers as being more about settling political scores than anything dealing with genuine law enforcement concerns:
On the evidence to date, however, what’s in play isn’t criminality, but the latest chapter in a settling of Statehouse scores.
It’s one thing for a news organizations to simply get a story wrong, but it’s quite another when two news organizations that share common ownership continue to report a news story in a manner directly contrary to numerous documents in their possession which completely discredit the politically charged inferences and allegations that the organization seems to be on a concerted and systematic campaign to make in the hopes of affecting an upcoming election.
If the Dispatch wishes to be taken seriously as anything other than a Republican propaganda machine, it will end this deliberate and irresponsible cherry picking of the facts and just report the news, the whole news, and nothing but the news. Something the Dispatch has demonstrated a systematic allergic reaction to doing in this instance.
If they won’t do it, I, or someone who actually gets paid to do this for a living, will.
As they say, DEVELOPING…