Sunday, February 08, 2015
Joplin Globe editorial: News requires trust
Today, the Globe's Editorial Board decided to weigh in on the Brian Williams controversy, piously declaring in its headline that "News requires trust."
To have the Joplin Globe talking about the importance of people being able to trust their news source is akin to having C. J. Huff explain the importance of spending your money wisely.
The editorial begins, "We hold politicians accountable. We hold our military accountable. So why shouldn't the media do the same to someone who reports on both?"
That is an excellent question.
It is also a strange question coming in a newspaper that has held Joplin City Councilman Ben Rosenberg accountable for driving with a dog on his lap (months after the incident occurred) and his fellow councilman Bill Scearce accountable for acts committed by his tenants two decades ago, yet has never shined a light on the actions of Councilman Mike Woolston in connection with real estate in the area near 20th and Connecticut, actions which were spelled out in documents the Globe went to court to have released, but then used sparingly in its pages.
Talking about trust in the media seems inexplicable coming from a newspaper that blindly followed the lead of former City Manager Mark Rohr and CART concerning master developer Wallace-Bajjali, was completely aware of the problems Wallace-Bajjali faced, yet never informed its readers. Even now, as it has become woefully apparent that David Wallace took Joplin for a ride, the Globe is looking forward and not bothering to explain how this happened. (Coincidentally, or maybe not so coincidentally, today's editorial is placed right beside an op-ed column by Keith Grebe of the Joplin Redevelopment Corporation which explains to us that the master developer concept was actually a good idea, a stretch of the imagination that can only be pushed because the Joplin Globe and the media have not done their job).
Trust is not earned when the city's newspaper of record makes a point of ripping into those who go after its favorites. Those who have questioned the wisdom of Mark Rohr, C. J. Huff, and God help us, even Bruce Speck, have been subjected to attacks and ridicule.
When Bruce Speck was finally given the heave-ho by the Missouri Southern State University Board of Governors two years ago, the Globe editorialized how we must never let this happen again, conveniently forgetting that not only did the Globe assist Speck in allowing it to happen, but actually offered him advice on how to handle his enemies.
When the Wallace-Bajjali fiasco finally unraveled, the Globe again editorialized, this time saying we don't need Wallace-Bajjali, we can keep moving forward (follow the pie-in-the-sky plans approved by Mark Rohr and CART, in other words).
Who knows what convenient fiction the Globe's Editorial Board will create when State Auditor Thomas Schweich releases his reports on the Joplin R-8 School District and the City of Joplin in a few weeks. The editors have already shown they are willing to throw one of the city's leading businessmen, David Humphreys, under the bus to protect the status quo.
It has to be a moral and ethical dilemma for the Joplin Globe. Does it criticize the audits and use the convenient excuse that hard choices had to be made after the tornado and bring up Humphreys' campaign contributions to Schweic, and C. J. Huff's proclamations that everything was done "for the kids" as absolution for everything uncovered in the audits.
Or will the Globe follow precedent and issue a proclamation from its ivory tower that this must never happen again.
As the Globe said in its headline today news does require trust- but trust has to be earned.