Sunday, February 08, 2015

Joplin Globe editorial: News requires trust

Sometimes the Joplin Globe makes it too easy for me.

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.


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Mr. Turner, for your outstanding observation. Your blog is the only source in town for accurate and timely news. I have long since given up on the Globe. I wouldn't buy a copy for pet cages. They should be ashamed, but that would require a conscience. I wonder what Ms. Stark has received in exchange for her shoddy journalism? I hope we find out one day soon.

Anonymous said...

The editorial said to thank all the CART members let me try and thank a few
First Jane Cage-Thank you for recommending Wallace Bajalli and even though the city has overpaid for land for projects that will never happen thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to be nationally recognized for your great work!
Mark Rohr-thank You for staking your reputation on Wallace Bajjalli and signing the one sided development agreement
Mike Woolston-thank You for taking a lead role to vet Wallace Bajjalli and not just helping it identify projects but to profit from them as well
Gary Box-thank you for not only helping with the hiring of Wallace Bajjalli but accepting a job with them shortly after. We as Joplin residents have much to be thankful for for sure so don't forget next time you go to the polls.

Anonymous said...

It wasn't hard to check out Wallace Bajalli a simple Google search shows they were in an SEC investigation and if you google-David Wallace rhymes with right, published in 06 ask how did anyone ever recommend these guys? I mean thanks CART

Anonymous said...

Get ready for the Globe to bury the audit reports on R8 AND the City just like they buried the dirt on Rohr,Woolston, Shaw and Colbert from the Lorraine investigation.
Blame Schweich, Humphreys and the evil monkey in the closet instead of holding Rohr, the Council, and the terribly naive CART do-gooders responsible for the waste of over a million dollars of taxpayer money on WB and who knows how much wasted at R8.

George Schwarz said...

Citizens of Joplin need to ask the same questions citizens of Amarillo should be asking: If "we can go forward without a master developer," why did we need one in the first place?

Anonymous said...

Was waiting for Randy to post this and few comments before adding two cents to thoughts.
For the second time in less than a month, it appears the Globe is having a pot meet the kettle moment.
The Globe's credibility is shot for all the reasons Randy has posted so there is no need to repeat. Without changes at publisher, editor and several other key positions, it is difficult to believe the Globe can earn the public's trust any time soon.
Continuing on with viable solutions that need to be put into action soon, 1, the CART committee needs to dissolved. 2, Sadly, unless a recall petition is successful, we, the citizens of Joplin, are stuck with the current city council until at least April 2016, the next scheduled city council election. While only seven of the nine were present for the entire W-B debacle, the two rookies get a pass for now, but only have until April 2016 to prove their worth. The other seven are equally responsible for the W-B mess no matter how much finger pointing, backtracking and shifting blame toward the former city manager. Imagine that, when the W-B mess finally hit the fan and public wants accountability, instead of stepping up and being responsible, our city leaders passed and left the former city manager holding the bucket. The lack of accountability and responsibility in our city leaders is very sad and disappointing.
Additional questions that perhaps Randy you could do some investigating and find out some answers.
1, Where is Gary Box? There are many people in town who have said he has disappeared and has not been seen. He was one of the most seen people in town, now, not so much. Why? Unless he has a reason, why hide? He must know something.
2, Rohr's wife and kids are still living in Joplin. Why? Why would he leave them behind? Especially if they are subject to ridicule now that the city leaders are pinning the W-B failure on him. No one has talked about the domestic violence with Rohr, his wife and kids. Why else would they not be living in Texas with him? There is more to this story.
3, Beyond the forthcoming audits for the city and school district, there is still one more failure coming in Joplin that Rohr was heavily involved with and once it occurs, the citizens will be asking for responsibility and accountability. Randy, you are wise enough to research and discover what it is, please check into and ask the questions that are not being asked.

Anonymous said...

Excellent, Randy Turner.

Anonymous said...

Gary Box was dumped by WB just as the rest of us were. He hasn't worked for them for more than a year, now. As for the rest of the players, Joplin had a number of people who unfortunately and indulgently sought celebrity out of the tragedy. Huff, Cage, and Rohr are probably at the top of the list. Now that the theater lights have not only dimmed, but a few tomatoes and a head of lettuce have landed on the stage, you won't hear much from those who got us here in the first place. Cowardice.