Joe Vardon, the Columbus Dispatch’s politics and government writer, turned up at a news conference Wednesday following Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald’s luncheon speech at the Quaker Square Inn.  Actually, it wasn’t so much a news conference as we have come to know them.  With notebook and pencil in hand, Vardon turned it into an inquisition of the candidate regarding questions raised by the other side of the Cuyahoga County inspector general who has been accused of doing  campaign work on  public time.

In fact, State GOP Chairman Matt Borges has called for  the inspector’s resignation, which was a little odd inasmuch as he once paid a $1,000 fine after he admitted “misusing public office”.

That aside, Vardon was on a mission, determinedly consuming most the news  conference with  his repeated refusal to accept FitzGerald’s response as several reporters stood around waiting for turns that never came. Way to go, Joe. The event was about you.

As we have commented in past posts,  Vardon is the apparent designated hitter for a paper that will unsurprisingly endorse Gov. Kasich’s re-election  He has written glowingly  about Kasich’s ubiquitous out of state appearances, which only counts if your paper is hoping to stage his rise to the Oval Office someday.

But my point today, having covered one or two or these things in a half century of political reporting, is that there are some unwritten rules of courtesies to your colleagues that exclude boorishly pigging out on the candidates.   Say, a question and a follow-up. In Vardon’s case, he was the transparent story, not FitzGerald.    Tsk. Tsk.

I gave up and left the room as he was asking still another question.  But I was later told the Beacon Journal reporter did manage a single question as time was running out.

Vardon did write a piece about the inquisition in which he dwelled on inspector general  Nailah  Byrd,  leading his  report with Borge’s call for her resignation. Vardon obviously didn’t come to report the speech itself, because there wasn’t a word in the story about the Democrat’s questioning references to  Gov. Kasich.

P.S. I didn’t plan to ask a question anyway, so no sour grapes here. Over the years, my questions too often turned up on TV with the camera showing the station’s own reporter.  So I stopped asking questions.


Reprinted from Grumpy Abe