Words Columbus Media Insider with the M looking like broken glass

The Columbus Dispatch's opinion writers do not take its news coverage seriously.

A few weeks ago, the newspaper/website took down four Republican candidates for statewide office for being asleep at the switch while ECOT and its charter school kin ripped off Ohio taxpayers and Ohio public schoolchildren for $1 billion.

Taken to the woodshed were Attorney General Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Jon Husted, Auditor Dave Yost and State Rep. Keith Faber.

On Sept 9, the Dispatch endorsed former Congressman Zack Space, a Democrat, for state auditor over Republican Faber, while tagging the latter for his ECOT failures.

Two Sundays later, on Sept. 23, the Dispatch put on the blinders and ignored Yost's abject failure in policing ECOT while endorsing Yost over Democrat Steve Dettelbach for attorney general.

The Dispatch had little bad to say about Dettelbach, but forgot to mention that as U.S. attorney in Cleveland, Dettelbach brought down corrupt Cuyahoga County elected officials and sent them to jail.

Imagine if Dettelbach had been auditor of Ohio during the ECOT rip-off and how quickly he would have brought the alleged wrong-doers to justice and how many millions of dollars he would have saved Ohio taxpayers.

Contrast that with Yost's well-documented footsy with ECOT officials, the awards ECOT gave him, the payments he got for his speeches at ECOT graduations and the big donations to his political campaigns he received from ECOT operators.

Yost got a pass because he employs former Dispatch executive editor Ben Marrison, who apparently figured how to grease through the endorsement with his former protégés on the basis that Yost is a local guy who knows his way around the state government and can be counted on to do favors for the Dispatch if he is elected AG.

The Dispatch has been crusading for Yost through favorable and bountiful coverage in its news columns for months while Dettelbach barely gets mentioned. 

It all represents another sad day in what is left of journalism in Columbus as the Dispatch clings to its old Wolfe family "reward friends, punish enemies" ways.

On September 16, the Dispatch showed its old colors by endorsing Republican State Sen. Frank LaRose for secretary of state over Democrat State Rep. Kathleen Clyde. It praised LaRose for being civil while ignoring his party line voting for the hard right GOP agenda of anti-women, anti-public education, pro-ECOT and anti-local government.

Clyde was called a competent legislator but tagged as too partisan. In other words, pursuing a pro-voter, pro-woman, pro-public education and pro-local government agenda is too partisan in the Dispatch's eyes.

The erudite, thoughtful and caring Clyde is the best candidate for any office for any party in Ohio this year. The fact that the Dispatch did not endorse her speaks volumes about the Dispatch's ineptitude, deceit and sexism. Clyde and Betty Sutton, the stellar Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, are the only major party women running for statewide non-judicial offices.

I expect the Dispatch will endorse ECOT-loving DeWine and Husted for governor and lieutenant governor.

I wonder if the Dispatch will turn against Democrat Danny O'Connor in Ohio 12 – after backing him in the special election – and support now Congressman Troy Balderson in the general.

Remember, the Dispatch was furious with President Trump a couple months ago and took him to task. Subsequently, O'Connor was endorsed and Balderson's ties to Trump were blamed.

All that might have been because GateHouse Media, the Dispatch's parent, was angry about the tariffs Trump was proposing on newsprint. The tariffs never went into effect. GateHouse's bottom line was spared. Has DJT been forgiven?

Cordray Imagery Prevails in TV Debate, But three Issues Linger

I tried to cover the first gubernatorial debate in person but was blocked because it was members only for the Ohio Legislative Correspondents' Association or permission from both candidates.

So I watched it first with the sound off on my iPhone.

I found the visuals and imagery very favorable to Democrat Richard Cordray. He stood erect, was well attired with a red-striped tie and his hair neatly combed. He spoke to the camera and eschewed notes. On the other hand, DeWine slumped on his podium looked ruffled, and appeared confused with his yellow legal pad in view. Advantage Cordray.

On the TV replay, Cordray's voice was strong while DeWine's cracked. Cordray clearly exhibited superior intelligence and judgment. Advantage Cordray.

However, Cordray did not effectively answer the TV ad allegations that DeWine brought up again and again that Cordray failed to test rape kits as AG, that Cordray allowed sexual harassment while directing the CFPB,  and that Cordray, as AG in the  administration of Gov. Ted Strickland, was culpable in leaving the state in the lurch. U.S. Sen. Rob Portman blanketed the TV airwaves with the lurch message two years ago when he handily beat Strickland for the Senate seat. Republicans believe that message still can be used against Democrats.

Cordray must effectively answer the three charges or risk losing to DeWine.


Melanie Leneghan is at it again. Remember she lost a close one to Balderson in the Ohio 12 primaries, unsuccessfully sued to get the courts to intervene, and then refused to endorse fellow Republican Balderson in the general. She recently has posted on social media that she will not vote for Balderson unless he endorses U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan for House Speaker. "See something, say nothing" Jordan is running for re-election in neighboring Ohio 4 and facing a strong challenge from Democrat Janet Garrett. Jordan, Leneghan's big campaign donor, has no chance to be Speaker. He'll be lucky to get re-elected.

GateHouse Media has taken over the Akron Beacon Journal and been quick to homogenize it. The once distinct Beacon's pages now look just like the Dispatch's and its once distinct and legible website now apes the Dispatch's clunky one.

Bulletin: Billionaire Les Wexner has quit the Republican Party. Who cares?

(Please send your comments and suggestions for future columns to John K. Hartman,

(ColumbusMediaInsider, copyright, 2018, John K. Hartman, All Rights Reserved)

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