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This year's election taught us that big money has taken over Ohio politics and that the news media's role in influencing election outcomes has become insignificant. Consider the following three cases in point:

1. Rob Portman and his backers spent $50 million in television ads making exaggerated, deceptive claims that Ted Strickland was a bad governor. Before the ads started to run, Strickland was ahead by 15 points. Three months later, Portman was ahead by 15 points and won going away. In other words, 30 percent of the Ohio electorate is so gullible that it can be swayed by a barrage of misleading unanswered ads.

Aside: Portman featured his wife in television ads. Jane Portman told the camera: "Rob has a good heart." Sorry, Jane, your husband Rob, who orchestrated $50 million in lies about Ted, has a "dark heart."

2. The Columbus Dispatch broke tradition in its first presidential election under its hedge fund owners and apologetically endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton for President. The former owners, the hard right Wolfe family, would have rather been boiled in oil than endorsed a Democrat. Also, the Dispatch kept its tradition of conducting its scientifically deficient postcard poll for president, finding that Clinton was ahead by 1 point. Donald Trump routed her in Ohio leaving the Dispatch with egg on both sides of its face.

Aside: Dispatch editorial page editor Glenn Sheller continued to try to shed  his hard right reputation by publishing a column that the Dispatch had nearly endorsed Democrat John Kerry for president in 2004. As if ....

3. The only success in running for state administrative offices that the Democrats have had in recent decades came in 2006 when Strickland and others were swept into power in the wake of the Tom Noe Coingate scandal. Nowadays, the state Republicans are raising millions of dollars and the Democrats are raising thousands. Barring an unforeseen scandal, the GOP is likely to spend its way to victory in 2018, too.

Aside: The only Democrat connected to Ohio who has the kind of money to compete with the Republicans is talk show host Jerry Springer.

Multimillionaire Jerry toyed with running for Senate a decade ago, and hired a pollster. The results came back that an overwhelming majority of the public would never vote for him, so he passed. That was before Donald Trump showed that a well-heeled celebrity can overcome seemingly insurmountable baggage and win the presidency. Jerry for governor, anyone?

Meanwhile, as the Kasich world turns

John Kasich, aka lost puppy and occasional governor, sulked all the way to the voting booth and wrote in "John McCain" instead of honoring his pledge and voting for Donald Trump, who crushed it in Ohio, the only state Kasich won in the primary.

Kasich's career in national politics is over and he is term-limited out of the governorship in two years.

His war on Trump caused his approval rating to fall from lofty to dead even as loyal Republicans dropped him like a hot potato. Only a sprinkling of Democrats and independents who came his way for his Trump bashing kept the Prince of Darkness from slipping into negative territory.

Kasich is working on a new book. Perhaps the working title is Disloyal.

Ohio taxpayers are benefiting from his reduced stature as his out-of-state political travels have been curtailed after dunning us taxpayers for $2 million in security and travel expenses – all hidden behind secrecy laws and never to be repaid.

It was nice to see Kasich step up and speak on behalf of the police and community response to the Nov. 28 attack at OSU. He should have gone to Piketon and spoken encouraging words to the community where eight were murdered rather than continue his ill-fated presidential campaign in New Hampshire earlier this year.

The only route back to national prominence and relevance would be for Kasich to take on and defeat incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown for the U.S. Senate seat in 2018.

Talk about a clash of the titans. Can you count to $50 million? Twice?

Fake news is just another form of deception     

Somebody planted a story on Facebook that the Pope endorsed Trump and thousands of Trump supporters posted it.

All of a sudden, Facebook had to answer for communicating "fake news."

Who in his or her right mind would believe that a papal endorsement of the Trumpster? Nobody who is paying attention.

The mainstream news media, which has seen its audience and its advertisers defect to Facebook, is trying to make a big issue out of fake news to denigrate its rival.

Dispatch editor Alan Miller jumped on board, castigating Facebook and defending his paper as a purveyor of "real news."

Sadly, he missed the point. The point is deception. When a news organization deceives its readers, it violates their trust. Fake news is just one kind of deception.

A common means of deception on the part of the Dispatch is to advance its agenda by emphasizing certain kinds of news and de-emphasizing other kinds.

For instance, the Dispatch excessively covered the Columbus public schools grade-changing scandal. It sought to use the scandal as a wedge to get voters to pass a tax measure upping public funding for charter schools in Columbus. But the voters saw through the deception said “no."

Lately, many charter schools in Ohio have proven defective wasters of tax money, and the electronic charter schools have been proven to be money-losing disasters.The Dispatch has covered this but not with the level of enthusiasm and not with the volume that it devoted to the grade-changing scandal.

Why? Because the Dispatch philosophically supports charter school and is skeptical of public schools.

In other words, the Dispatch is deceiving its readers.  


Representative government in Ohio has been ruined by the Republican gerrymandering of legislative and congressional districts. The only viable solution is a constitutional amendment that takes the process away from the political parties and puts it in the hands of a non-partisan panel.

The strongest candidate for governor in the Democratic Party may well reside in Columbus. His name is Mayor Andy Ginther.

Help me draw up a list of 18 issues that a progressive candidate for governor should run on in 2018. Send your submission to 18 For 18 to my email below.

The Rock and Roll Radio Show has ended on WQTT in Marysville. Host Ian Graham is looking for a new home for his innovative radio program.

Poetic Injustice

Trump clears way
For Jerry meander

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



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