Friday, March 31, 2006
Ruestman, colleagues playing fast and loose with columns
I was fascinated by an item on the opinion page of JoplinDaily.com. The Daily apologized for running an incorrect byline on a political column that awent online Wednesday.
The apology, placed at the top of the republished column, read:
"The following report published Wednesday, March 29, on JoplinDaily.com and was listed as a report by Marilyn Ruestman, when, in fact, it is the weekly joint report submitted by all four Joplin state representatives. JoplinDaily.com apologizes for the confusion."
Perhaps the Daily should not have been so quick to issue an apology. The column which Ms. Ruestman claims was a collaborative effort with her fellow Republicans, Bryan Stevenson, Webb City, Steve Hunter, Joplin, and Ron Richard, Joplin, was posted Monday on Ms. Ruestman's website as "The Ruestman Report" and no mention whatsoever was made of any role played by Stevenson, Hunter or Richard in its writing.
The column on Ms. Ruestman's website begins: "Hard Work Pays Off, Ruestman Report-March 27, 2006, From the Office of State Representative Marilyn Ruestman
At the column's conclusion, it says, "There are only six weeks left in the 2006 Session and still much to be done. I truly appreciate the opportunity you have given me to serve you in the State Capitol. I hope that you will take the opportunity to send us your thoughts at Marilyn.Ruestman@house.mo.gov."
This blog has written numerous times over the past several weeks about columns apparently written by others that Ms. Ruestman and other legislators have been passing off as their own.
Now that Ms. Ruestman has an opponent, it is time that local newspapers that run her columns should take one of two steps; either eliminate her column completely or offer equal free space to her Democratic opponent Ben Carnahan of Joplin. The same thing should apply to Hunter's opponent, Steve Daniels, D-Carl Junction; and Rep. Kevin Wilson's opponent, John Felder, D-Neosho.
Incumbency has its advantages, but newspapers have no business adding to them. These prominently placed columns are nothing but free political advertising.