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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