Don’t believe me? Hallett’s column in the Columbus Dispatch on Sunday says just that. I haven’t bothered to look into this, so I’m willing to take Joe Hallett’s word that this is what occurred:
- Chris Redfern got an anonymous tip concerning, somehow, the wife of Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Brent Larkin;
- Redfern decided to check out the veracity of the tip by making a public records request for payroll records that would either confirm or refute the tip;
- By all accounts, Redfern received the records which did not confirm the tip, so Redfern let the matter dropped.
These series of events, according to Joe Hallett is equal to Nixon and the Arizona mass shooting:
We have been reminded since the Jan. 8 shooting of Arizona Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords that the conduct of our politics has devolved into hatred and fear. All involved – politicians, political parties, the media, interest groups and everyday citizens – are culpable in the demonization and destruction of those who espouse opposite viewpoints.
By going after a journalist’s wife, Redfern descended to a new low. I can’t remember a party leader doing such a thing in nearly three decades of covering Ohio politics.
I harkened to the famously vengeful tactics of President Richard M. Nixon and suggested to Redfern that what he did was Nixonian.
You see when Joe Hallett makes a public records request to snoop into the personal finances of someone in government, say Frankie Coleman when she started working at the Ohio Department of Development, or say when his colleagues in the media make a public records request to, I dunno, say get video of Frankie Coleman’s DUI arrest so it can air on the evening news, they’re being Woodward and Bernstein.
But when Chris Redfern makes a public records request, then does NOTHING with the information, it causes the ghost of Richard Nixon to go to Arizona and start shooting people… or something.
Of all the outrageous attempts to adopt the tragedy of the Arizona shooting for a political cause, Hallett’s has to win the top prize. Making a public records request that involves a columnist’s wife is equal to the demonization of politics that Hallett says is responsible for the most recent mass shooting? Really?
And yet, as he wrote those words Hallett then ignores his own advice and then engages in the false equivalency of equating a public records request to Nixon’s part in authorizing the illegal breaking in and copying of a person’s private and confidential medical records. Hallett’s column is so outrageous and hackneyed, I paused to check to see if Tom Blumer was filling in.
Is he serious?
Hallett, who has ignored Thomas Charles’ role in violating the civil rights (as found by a Republican judge) of multiple individuals in his zeal to go after the Strickland Administration, is now lecturing us on the chilling effect of… legal public records requests?
For those keeping score, Joe Hallett has now spent more column space attacking Chris Redfern over a public records request that led to nothing than he has John Kasich’s multiple attempts to thwart or prevent entirely transparency and to avoid altogether Ohio’s public records laws.
Seriously, this is the priority system of the Ohio political media these days!