John Kasich in front of flag

Photo by Michael Vadon

The New York Times is no match for Gov. John Kasich's slick manipulation.

  We already know that The Columbus Dispatch is an easy mark for the governor turned presidential candidate.

  In a NYT Sunday Magazine article Jan. 3, reporter Robert Draper lets Kasich have his way, failing to immediately counter misstatements.

  Some for-instances:

  Kasich quote: "I don't spend any time thinking about him" (rival and front-runner Donald Trump).

  Truth not reported:  Kasich interrupted and harshly criticized Trump a few debates ago and Trump slapped him down like a bug.

  Kasich quote: "I don't like divisiveness. I don't like negativity."

  Truth not reported: See above attack on Trump and recent brickbats Kasich hurled at rivals Chris Christie and Marco Rubio.

  Kasich quote: "I don't care what the polls say."

  Truth not reported: Kasich was in danger of not having enough polling support to make the first debate, so a friendly PAC pumped in hundreds of thousands to help him just make the cut.

  Kasich quote: (I treat Democrats) "with kindness and respect and let them have their say on things."

  Truth not reported: Kasich helped ram an anti-labor bill through the Ohio Legislature over Democrats' objections his first year in office only to have it overturned by voters.

  Kasich quote: (A leader) "walk(s) a lonely road."

  Truth not reported: Kasich is well known as a "my way or the highway" kind of person with a long memory for those who cross him.

  Finally, reporter Draper falls for the notion that Kasich is above water in popularity in Ohio because he has done such a great job. Kasich won re-election easily in 2014 because his Democratic opponent was a discredited rube. Meanwhile, the Dispatch provides fawning coverage that downplays the current scandals involving charter school data scrubbing, the lieutenant governor's chief of staff doing personal and political work on state time, and Kasich's cronies keeping the Libertarian candidate for governor off the 2014 ballot (all ignored by reporter Draper).

 If Draper had taken a gander at's coverage of Kasich, he would have known better.

  We can only imagine the sweetheart treatment Kasich got when he met with the NYT's editorial board Jan. 6. I'm guessing the NYT is trying to build up Kasich in order use him to tear down its Big Apple power rival, the one and only Donald Trump.

Kasich had chance to prevent remap in 2011

  Kasich had his chance to prevent the Ohio Legislature from passing the awful gerrymander of Ohio Congressional Districts in 2011. It created 12 safe districts for Republicans and 4 safe ones for Democrats in a state known as equally divided between the political parties.

  Now five years after the damage to the Buckeye body politic was done, Kasich announced he is in favor of a new map that would restore the balance.

  This an empty promise that has no chance of getting through the Republican-dominated legislature, but it sounds high-minded to voters in Iowa and New Hampshire.

  Naturally, the Dispatch editorial page lauded the move.

New owner for Dispatch around the corner?

  New Media Investments purchased the Dispatch in June and turned it over to its GateHouse Media division to run. About 10 percent of the paper's employees have departed through layoffs and buyouts. The effects of cutbacks on quality remain to be seen.

  In February 2015, New Media purchased the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Nevada's largest newspaper, and turned it over to GateHouse to run.

  But in December, New Media sold the newspaper to a group headed by Las Vegas casino magnate and Republican Party financier Sheldon Adelson and doubled its money, making a profit estimated at $60 million. And GateHouse will continue to run the newspaper for Adelson's firm.

  Rumors run wild that Adelson will use the newspaper to push his political agenda in a state that, like Ohio, is a battleground state, and try to turn Nevada into a Republican state.

  I wonder if a Republican Ohio billionaire will snap up the Dispatch, fearing that the paper's editorial policy and coverage slant might go to the center or even, gasp, go Democratic.

  Based on the continued Obama-hating, right-wing slant of the Dispatch editorial page, the New Media folks are not likely to get a windfall soon.

When too cheap to poll, put blame elsewhere

  The Dispatch and the other major news organizations in Columbus whiffed in the mayor's race by failing to pay for even one independent survey of voters' preferences.

  In attempting to justify the disservice to its readers, the Dispatch ran an editorial suggesting that polls were too inaccurate to be trusted. It quoted a former Dispatch editor who used to run the Dispatch mail poll.

  But polls were good enough for the news pages as one on religious intolerance was featured in the Jan. 1 edition. On Dec. 27, two articles about survey research findings on happiness were published, one from Reuters on page A22 and the other from the LA Times on page F6.

  Somehow, Dispatch editors let two duplicative articles about the same study run on the same day. Let us hope that this is not a glimpse of things to come caused by staff cutbacks.

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(ColumbusMediaInsider, copyright, 2016, John K. Hartman, All Rights Reserved)


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