Words Columbus Media Insider

You have news organizations that represent, even protect the public, and you have ones that buddy up to powerful institutions.       

The Columbus Dispatch showed just how far in the buddy-up tank it is with Ohio State University July 12 in the way it reported the 5.5 percent tuition and 6 percent housing increase that will drive the total cost of attending OSU to over $26,000 annually.

The Dispatch downplayed the fact that incoming OSU students and their parents were told they must pony up an extra $1,500 just six weeks before classes start.

The newspaper adopted the university's spin that a big tuition increase held steady for four years was a good deal. It sounds like it until you factor in the hundreds of students who will play the inflated rate for a year or two and then drop out. Not to mention that hundreds of other students take 5-6 years to graduate. They will pay an even higher rate for the fifth and sixth years.

In other words, the only students who might benefit from the gimmick are those who graduate in four years. It would be far better, and fairer to all students – if a tuition increase is needed – to raise it 1 percent to 1.5 percent a year.

Other universities have employed this big increase/freeze gimmick. After a few years of annual raises/freezes, they claim it is not generating enough money and go back to tacking annual increases onto the now 20-30 percent higher level. 

Shame on the Ohio Legislature and Gov. John Kasich for allowing this travesty.

Shame on the Dispatch for putting a pretty face on it in news coverage and calling it "reasonable" in an editorial.

Of course, the Dispatch forgot to mention that OSU could have used some of  $500 million OSU is getting for selling off its parking facilities (causing fast-climbing rates that are dunning students, employees and visitors) to hold down the tuition increase.

Double shame on the Dispatch for favoring big advertiser OSU over the tuition-paying public.

Newspaper Regresses As Stooge For Former Owners

The Dispatch painted a pretty picture – publishing a photo of its former headquarters at 34 South Third Street – of $2.2 million in corporate welfare, aka tax credits, bestowed upon owner Capital Square Ltd. to renovate the structure. The article read more like a press release than a news story.

Not to be outdone by itself, the Dispatch did a fawning article about the return to the Columbus TV airwaves by former Channel 6 anchor Yolanda Harris, who signed on at Channel 10 in July. The Dispatch and WBNS-TV were co-owned until two years ago. In the same issue of the Dispatch, there was a big color ad touting Harris's return. Coincidence or flawed judgment? Film at 11.

Lt. Gov. Platform Addresses Women's Issues

In the second installment of what the platform of the next lieutenant governor should be, I will borrow liberally (double entendre) from the Ohio House Democratic Women's Caucus.

First, Ohioans who sign up for driver's licenses and register on other public documents will be registered automatically as voters. No more time wasted and no more bureaucratic snafus that ultimately suppress the turnout.

The second plank in the Hartman Platform is equally (double entendre) succinct: equal pay for equal work.

Third, fairness will provided to the LGBTQ community regarding marriage and housing.

Exempting essential hygiene products for women and men from sales tax is the fourth plank in the Hartman Platform.

Fifth, reproductive health information and services shall be universally available and affordable.

Finally, modernizing the state's domestic violence laws to both better prevent and strongly punish violations concludes this installment of the Hartman Platform.

Ohio Political Ranker: Volume 6

Welcome to Volume 6 of the ColumbusMediaInsider Ohio Political Ranker. Each month I will rank the candidates for Ohio governor and other offices in 2018. My criteria include: wealth/fund-raising capability (it will take $50 million to win the governorship), integrity, charisma, name recognition, key issues, and appeal to small town/rural voters.


                1. Betty Sutton.  Stature. Momentum.

                2. Connie Pillich. Dubious publicity moves.

                3. Nan Whaley. No. 3 in 3-woman race.

                4. Dennis Kucinich. Out of sight recently

                5. Armond Budish. Knows way around Columbus.


                1. Richard Cordray. Waited too long to run for governor.

                2. Aftab Pureval. Hamilton County rising star.


                1.  J.D. Vance. Hillbilly book still best-seller.

                2-tie. Mike DeWine. Jon Husted. Jim Renacci. Mary Taylor.


                100. David Yost. Auditor slept while ECOT "undereducated."


While two state universities, University of Akron and Wright State University, are in dire financial straits with massive deficits, the Ohio Legislature doled out $5 million that was not requested to create a bureaucracy to promote civil discourse at OSU. Former State Rep. Ted Celeste has been traveling the state and country effectively advocating this for years for a lot less money. What were the Republican political hacks thinking?

After running roughshod over Democrats in Ohio for seven years, Gov. Kasich wants Congressional Republicans to start listening to their Democratic counterparts about fixing Obamacare. Comments like that have caused the Wall Street Journal to label Kasich and GOP teammate, Sen. Rob Portman, as "Obamacare Republicans." Here's the good that six years of Republican attacks on Obamacare have done: a majority of the public now supports it.

OSU football legends are suing the University for improper use of their likenesses. OSU's gentle response is in stark contrast with the strong reaction it made when band director Jon Waters dared to contest his firing in court. Now we read of legal problems for the federal judge who threw out Waters' case. Curiouser and curiouser.

ECOT owes the state $60 million and it still is in business. What were Gov. Kasich, the Ohio Legislature and the Ohio Board of Education thinking?


Pay me now      
Pay me more
Sooner or later

Please send your thoughts and suggestions for future columns to
(ColumbusMediaInsider, copyright, 2017, John K. Hartman, All Rights Reserved) 

Appears in Issue: