Anyone who follows my school of thought (which as far as I know is a one-person school, but I could be wrong) knows that I hate sensationalist crap parading around as responsible journalism.
Granted, as a college junior journalism major, maybe I don’t have the firm grasp on journalistic practice that I like to pretend I do. Nonetheless, I have taken a Journalism Law and Ethics class (and got a B, if you’re interested), and I have half a brain enough to know that to put flashing lights and lace in controversy that isn’t there, simply to create a story — well, that is wrong.
Enter the Toledo Blade’s massive coverage on Tom Noe — a Toledo-area coin dealer and strong supporter of the Ohio Republican party — and the misadventure of his contributions to the state, or the lack thereof. Gov. Bob Taft apparently spent money from the Ohio Worker’ Compensation fund — reportedly almost $50M worth — to buy a number of rare and valuable coins through Noe. The coins had a 20% return on them — that is, they made a profit for the state.
But a few coins got lost, a few Democrats’ feathers got ruffled, and perhaps most importantly, there isn’t much news going on in Ohio.
I’m not here to pass judgment on the entire coin deal. I am an Ohio taxpayer, and I wholeheartedly plan on cutting off a finger in the future in order to collect worker’s comp so I can have a paid vacation (and if that doesn’t work, there’s always Wendy’s chili), but the fact of the matter is: is this really a big deal?
Maybe, maybe not.
However, the asinine crap the Blade is digging up and presenting above the fold, on the front page of nearly every daily issue for the last month, is nauseating. Uncle Tom, as I’ve come to know him (seeing as I now know every sordid detail of his life thanks to the Blade’s “responsible journalism”) is getting a raw deal here.
The Blade won a Pultizer for investigative reporting in 2004, and apparently they feel they have to keep up with appearances. One thing: the story series they won the Pulitzer for, written about the Tiger Force in the Vietnam War, was important. It was full of disgusting atrocities and horrifying truths that many people had hoped would never be revealed.
It was full of information that the public needed to know, deserved to know. It was valuable to the journalism community.
The Tom Noe saga doesn’t even come close. Frankly, I’ve read Cosmo’s that have contained more compelling and life-altering information (particularly Sex Tip #472, thank you Cosmo).
For example, on May 15 the Blade reported that a former Taft aide vacationed at Noe’s Florida summer house for less than market price. WHO CARES? I spend many a night at my boyfriend’s apartment and I don’t pay rent — is this also worthy of front page news? Scandalous!
People in high places do favors for their friends. Welcome to Politics 101. Even the crazy guy outside Dairy Mart yelling obscenities about your mother could tell you that. However, the Blade takes the tiniest, most insignificant pieces of information and parades them about the front page like the Kennedy assassination.
Was Noe involved in some less-than-kosher financial decisions? I’d like to know that, but I don’t care to know that Noe attended a BGSU basketball game (as the Blade provided a picture of him at one; a photo of Noe that was only topped by the front page picture of him getting into his car.)
Is this all the Blade can dig up? If so, there is either a skeleton in a closet the Blade is obviously overlooking, or there are no real skeletons at all.
I give the Blade a break in that there’s not a whole lot going on in northwest Ohio — now, or ever — and I say this with 20 years of experience living here. But this Noe thing needs to be given a rest. Or at the very least, a new direction needs to be considered.
I am not sure what the Blade is trying to prove, but at any rate, they have not proven anything besides the fact that they are overutilizing their staff on a lead that may not even exist.