Can we talk?
As some of you surely know, much of my professional career plunged me into the printed word – newspapers, magazines, books, some crabby letters to editors and now the digital offspring, blogs. I say this only because some of you may be wondering why I’ve been picking on newspapers so much during this dreadful election year for which they must accept some of the responsibility for its odor.
I do want to say that the decline of newspapers, which is now past the point of no return, gives me no joy. Still too much printer’s ink in me. Nor would I deny that newspapers have their rights to endorsing whatever candidate they find in their comfort zones. But this year they seem intent on dwelling in conflicts of interest with themselves, thus costing them more ounces of credibility. That hurts.
The most blatant recent example derives from a story in the Columbus Dispatch, in which Republican endorsements have been grandfathered since Gutenberg. (Good grief! Josh Mandel won the paper’s approval? )
Still the Dispatch published a piece reporting that during Atty. Gen. Mike DeWine’s four years in office, Ohio has filed 53 amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs, at taxpayers’ expense, with the U.S. Supreme Court on out-of-state cases. Unsurprisingly, many of them satisfy his need to demonstrate his support of social conservative issues – his long-held opposition to same-sex marriage, abortion, gun control, ObamaCare.etc.
You might say, as others have pointed out, that he has converted his office into a chapel. The defining paragraph in the Dispatch story confirms that.
He was asked about his defense of Hobby Lobby’s denial to employees of health insurance coverage that includes birth control.
Did he base his decision on these matters simply on his opinion or what’s best for the state?
“It’s both, really,” DeWine replied. “Do my principles, do my beliefs in what is right, impact it? Well, sure.”
OK, he’s made it clear on women’s issues. Not only in the Dispatch but whenever he has been asked about the access to hospitals by abortion clinics.
But about the time that the Dispatch was parsing his positions, the BJ’s editorial page, a pro-choice advocate, bore a column by Michael Douglas, the editorial page editor, pointedly complaining about the anti-abortion obstructionists.
Douglas wrote “Gov. John Kasich and the Republican legislature have embarked on a mission to all but eliminate abortion rights in the state” without mentioning DeWine as one of the perps.
He concludes by disapprovingly asserting:
“The fight over abortion in the courts and elsewhere won’t end soon. Yet, for now, one thing stands: Abortion is a right, and those exercising that right deserve to be treated accordingly.”
But shouldn’t the treatment be applied accordingly to DeWine, too? The paper has maintained a cozy attitude with the AG and even endorsed him despite his closed-fist activism against abortion. In so doing, it rejected DeWine’s opponent, David Pepper, a pro-choice Democrat and aggressive campaigner.
Don’t spend too much time trying to follow the bouncing ball, folks.