In Friday's Joplin Globe, the newspaper's editorial board, an august group of thumbsuckers if ever one existed, says too much has been made of Sen. Gary Nodler's theater meltdown and that it was just a he said/she said situation.
First, a history lesson. We would not even know about Nodler's rude treatment of a 20-year-old caregiver and remarks about developmentally disabled adults and the caregiver's use of the F-word had it not been for the Globe splashing it across page one.
Part of the reason this story has continued to simmer long after the incident is that quotes from reader comments have remained on the homepage of the Globe's website. Plus, the newspaper has printed follow-up stories.
This is that the Globe editorial writer has penned for tomorrow's edition:
The "incident" has sparked letters, e-mails and telephone calls, mostly from people who are upset with state Sen. Gary Nodler’s handling of what might be best described as a run-in over the noise being made by a group of disabled people in a Joplin theater. What should have been nothing more than a brief vocal exchange between Nodler and a caregiver, Amanda Richardson, for the five disabled clients attending the movie has escalated into a political circus, with critics suggesting that the senator’s comments about the group making too much noise and the appropriateness of people who are disruptive to attend a movie somehow comport with cutting Medicaid and the plight of those with disabilities.
This isn't a Republican and Democrat or liberal and conservative issue or about Medicaid cuts made by the state, although there are many who would like to make it so. Legislative members of both parties voted for reducing Medicaid to bring under control the spending that threatened to take ever-larger chunks out of a resource-limited state budget. The fact that a caregiver thought that Nodler was disrespectful to her clients with his comment about the noise to his brother as they were leaving the theater simply was that person’s opinion. The senator says that the caregiver was rude and used the "f-word" toward him and that he informed the theater manager of the incident involving the alleged obscenity. He did not, he says, request that the group be asked to leave.
Unfortunately, the theater manager has remained quiet. It would be informative if he were to confirm Nodler’s contention that others in the theater asked for refunds because of the noise level. This is a "he-said, she-said" issue that has taken on an undeserving life of its own. It never should have happened and it never should have gotten beyond an "I’m sorry for the misunderstanding" early on.
Now, of course there is allegedly a church-state type separation between a newspaper's reporting staff and its editorial board. That may fly with The New York Times. It does not fly with The Joplin Globe.
"The fact that a caregiver thought that Nodler was disrespectful to her clients with his comment about the noise to his brother as they were leaving the theater simply was that person’s opinion." If that's the way the Globe's editors believe, then why was this story written in the first place?
And the Globe's editorial board is dead wrong about this issue not being connected with the Medicare cuts. Both seem to show a disregard for people who do not have the lofty station that Sen. Nodler has reached.
If this story was so unimportant then why did the Globe follow up on Springfield blogger Ron Davis' initial report (later confirmed by Associated Press) on Nodler receiving free movie tickets. It appears that Nodler's powerful friends have exerted some political pressure on The Joplin Globe. The editorial was a slap in the face to the caregiver, the disabled, and to the Joplin Globe reporters who uncovered a very revealing story about one of the most powerful men in the Missouri Senate.
Fortunately, this story appears to have a life of its own and nothing that the cowards who make up the Globe's editorial board do can make it disappear.