Ohio Diary #11: The Columbus Dispatch’s Fake News: Kasich Wants To Negotiate SB 5

First you must never trust your local newspaper or TV channel.  They will only tell you one side of the story, or as in the Columbus Dispatch story; just make it up.

I must tell you that there was a time, a very long time ago, that the Columbus Dispatch was an excellent newspaper.  They printed the facts and told it from both points of view.  Now, it seems that their political bias is more important.

All this past week, the Dispatch has been running a story of how regrettable and unfortunate it is that labor won’t sit down and try to work out a comprise on
Senate Bill 5.  Senate Bill 5 is the anti-union, anti-collective bargaining bill that has been passed, and signed by the Governor.  It is has yet to be implemented because it is to be on the November ballot to repealed.  It is a story designed to present Kasich as willing to compromise but labor as unbending and unyielding.  It is a fake.

Here is what the Dispatch Editorial said:

On Sunday, a Dispatch editorial called for proponents and opponents of Senate Bill 5 to reach a compromise that would require public employees to pay more for their health care and pensions but would strip away the bill’s provisions that aren’t related to controlling government costs.

Yesterday, sources told Dispatch reporters that informal discussions between two people affiliated with the defense of Senate Bill 5 and representatives from the Ohio Education Association and the AFL-CIO took place about six weeks ago, but labor backed away.

On Sunday the Dispatch’s editorial page said the offer came from Governor Kasich, but the news division subtly backed away and said it was two people affiliated with the defense of Senate Bill 5.  They weren’t from the Governor’s office after all.  It explains why labor wouldn’t consider talking to them.  Who were these two people negotiating?  How did the editorial board seem to know about this so-called deal before the newsroom? It is very simple…because the Dispatch essentially was one of the people representing pro-SB 5 interests at the meeting.  Mike Curtin, former Vice-Chairman of the Dispatch Printing Company and Curt Steiner, former OSU lobbyist, former Voinovich chief-of-staff pushed the “We Are Ohio” campaign on the possibility of working out a deal with Kasich to avoid having to have a referendum issue.

What could they promise to the unions?  They have no authority to negotiate a deal that requires the involvement of the GOP legislature and Kasich.  It was an attempt to make the unions and the “We Are Ohio” campaign look unreasonable.  It was an imaginary story.  All in the minds of Curtin and Steiner.

But guess what?  Kasich played along.  He held an alleged” negotiation meeting yesterday, and  no one showed up.   There sat Kasich and his aides, all of three people, and no one came.  Taking his lead from the Dispatch, he assailed the unions for refusing to negotiate a deal on SB 5.

In a letter from We Are Ohio to the Governor, they simply stated that they would not negotiate until the bill in its current form was repealed.  They urged the Governor to call the legislature back and repeal the law.

This is a publicity stunt on Kasich’s part.  He is trouble, polls show him in the toilet and sinking fast.  He has seen what has gone on in Wisconsin and is afraid as he should be.  He is a beggar.  He had a chance to meet with the unions in February, when the bill was being debated.  Kasich outright refused to meet with unions six months ago.  Kasich has said: “I’ve listened. I’ve heard. I’ve made a decision.” That was the end of it.  Until now that is.

Kasich is now the ludicrous spectacle that he deserves to be.  He was negotiating with himself.  He had help though.

Kasich’s arrogance shows through with this blatant attempt to attack unions and weaken support for the Democratic party.  He did not do this by himself. He had partisan support of members of the house and senate. They are equally responsible for being sheep and blindly following their leader down the path to destruction.

Back to the Columbus Dispatch.  The Dispatch tried to broker a deal on SB 5. Then the Dispatch follows up the editorial advocating for someone to try to attempt a deal with a news story that such an attempt as advocated by the Dispatch was tried, but labor walked away.  Not one time did they state that one of the most influential figures at the Dispatch just happens to be behind the effort to broker a deal and then the editorial lecturing labor to make such a deal.  It was all lies.  You might even call it yellow journalism.

Not since William Randolph Hearst and now Rupert Murdoch has a media outlet been more interested in making the news than reporting it.  It is more than just a story about a medial outlet having a political bias in its coverage of a story.  This is simply about a media outlet becoming the story.

This is  about a media outlet that lies about its role in creating the news and, in so doing, failing to disclose relevant evidence that puts that story in its proper context.

The truth is simple:  There was no offer from Governor Kasich.  There was an attempt by powerful people, Mike Curtin and Curt Steiner to try and avoid an issue that could cause lasting damage to the Republican Party in Ohio.  And when they, who had absolutely nothing to offer in the deal, didn’t get two labor leaders to immediately leap at the chance to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, they let loose the Dispatch on them.

The Dispatch just isn’t in the sewer for John Kasich.  On Sunday and all this week, they said they actually represent him in official government matters.

Newspapers were supposed to be truth tellers.  They were supposed to inform the people. They were supposed to be unbiased.  Those days are gone.

Now, they hack your tweets, listen to your phone messages, and make up news.

Shame on them.  Shame on us.

 

A special thanks to Plunderbund for part of this story.

 

 

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