The Other Paper’s Lyndsey Teter was searching for a big, breaking news story with her latest front page article “Tarmac Transgressions” which accuses Governor Strickland of abusing his ODOT-operated plane, costing “taxpayers extra thousands each year.”

What she actually ended up with is a great example of a poorly sourced article that completely misses the point.

To be fair, she did go through the trouble to figure out that the total extra cost incurred by Governor Strickland for adding an extra leg on to his flight was less than $4,000.

But she failed to compare Strickland’s total usage to that of his predecessors.

Not surprisingly, these numbers show a much different story.

Laura Bischoff over at the Dayton Daily News wrote an article about the Governor’s plane a while back, and what she found was that Strickland and Fisher used the plane MUCH less than the previous administration.

Fisher hasn’t used the aircraft at all and Strickland made 23 trips at a cost of $31,849 since taking office 13 months ago.

Taft used it 91 times in 2005 and 41 times in 2006 at a total cost of $147,279, while Johnson used it 80 times at a total cost of $82,523 over two years.

The truth here is that the Strickland administration has saved tax payers tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars by not using the plane.

See what happens when you look at ALL the data Lyndsey?

You get a totally different and much more accurate picture of what’s really going on.

That’s what we call research. It doesn’t always make for a great gotcha! headline – but it’s the foundation of good journalism. Laura Bischoff’s got it mastered. Lyndsey Teter? Not so much.

UPDATE
A reader points out that one of this article’s primary sources of information is Brian Hicks – Taft’s former chief of staff who pleaded guilty to ethics law violations for accepting a TRAVEL-RELATED gift from Tom Noe. I guess this makes him some kind of an authority on proper travel expenditures.

 
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  • Karl

    It's ironic that you call out Teter for missing the point when you so clearly breeze right past it yourself.

    It's not the money that's really the issue [although that 4 grand could easily be spent fulfilling the “70-80 k salary request” for more patronage positions].

    The real issue, is the Governor is just plain lazy. It's irresponsible and really just unnecessary.

  • modernesquire

    Lazy? He's doing it so he can fit more state business into his day. I mean, if the alternative was walking and he insisted on being carried throughout the state, that would be lazy.

    If the point is whether the Governor is “wasting” money using the state plane, then it's important to note that he uses it SUBSTANTIALLY less than the folks criticizing him used it.

    But I fail to see how riding in a car vs. an airplane makes one lazy.

  • Nifty Lawrence

    I think it's cute how every once in a great while The Other Paper tries to engage in “real” journalism to fill out all the bar, restaurant & movie ads.

    And while I'm no fan of Strickland, this is sooooo not a scandal. If the Republicans think this will help pave their way to the Governor's mansion, I say let 'em knock themselves out. They don't realize how ridiculous they'll sound.

  • I don't have anything against The Other Paper or Lyndsey or even the fact that they ran this story. Hell, I'll even give them a pass on their cheeseball alliterative headline. You want people to pick up the paper and read it.

    But if you're going to run with a story that is fed to you by some Republican operative, you probably want to do a little research of your own instead of just running with the info they gave you.

    Note: I have no proof that Brian Hicks or the Kasich campaign fed this story to her – but obviously she isn't out making public records requests for random data looking for some kind of scandal.

    Anyone know if I can make a public records request for the names of other people who made public records requests?

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  • modernesquire

    Yes, you can. A public records request is a public record. ODOT and the Guv's office would been the likely agencies.

  • theteet

    Hi, Plunderfriends! We were trying to blow it up a little to be funny.

    Perhaps our playful tone didn't translate in this always-over-the-top political environment.

    The other problem with the sarcasm, I think, is that Strickland's plane rides DO look sort of bad. Not as bad as Republicans would like, but.

    Next time, to be fair, I will also calculate Taft's use of the plane in OSU butter cows.

    Happy weekend!

    ps – You are right about Laura Bischoff. She is the shiz.

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