Monday, June 16, 2008

In today's Repository, executive editor Jeff Gauger attempts to assume the role of gatekeeper in the Boccieri/Schuring race (16th Congressional District).

This is pretty arrogant stuff. And, suspect to boot.

About a year ago Schuring told the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) that he was confident (my words, not Schuring's) of Repository support. Perhaps Schuring knows that the Timken family will lean on Gauger et al or whomever residing in the ivory towers of The Rep, over some cocktail "elite" soiree, to sway Schuring's way.

Such was clearly the case before Gauger (from Rockford, Ill) took over. Maybe things have changed and The Rep Editorial Board will be more thorough and even-handed in vetting candidates in siding with one candidate or another in its endorsement process.

But The Report thinks that Gauger is exercising editorial sleight of hand (thereby tipping his hand that Rep editorial bias hasn't changed), which is designed to mask a pre-determined editorial endorsement in favor of Schuring, which Schuring desperately needs to have any chance at all in winning this election.

The Report's person-to-person impression of Gauger is that he is a cocky guy who does not have a full grip on political realities. Moreover, he lives in a fictional land where he thinks that The Repository is in control of political commentary in Stark County.

The Repository Editorial Board has developed a smug, "view-from-the-penthouse" approach to editorial journalism because of its being the "only newspaper in town" (Canton).

Heavy irony afflicts The Repository's positions on issues and candidates. On the one hand The Rep's movers and shakers proclaim themselves to be the beacons of openness, access and overall democratic processes. On the other, you get self-arrogated roles heralded by Gauger in today's "Editor's Notebook."

The mirage presented by Gauger is that The Rep will somehow keep partisans from using its pages to promote one candidate or the other. What a laugh! Just look how it has historically handled its online comments sections and its letters to the editor section. Moreover, the implication of Gauger's work is that it is open-minded on which candidate between Schuring and Boccieri The Rep's Editorial Board endorses. What Stark Countian of longevity believes that?

No doubt, The Rep gatekeepers will filter out certain letter writers and commenters. But the process will be highly arbitrary and therefore self-deceptive. But discerning readers will figure out the high-handed nature of The Rep's ways and the editorial moralizing will fall on deaf ears.

A final note: The Rep editors are trying to set the 16th District race as being "too close to call." The Report recalls how many including folks like Stark County Democratic Party chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr., started out trying to make the Strickland/Blackwell out to be a real race.

It never was. The Report from the get-go said in would be a massive Strickland victory. Strickland ended up winning 60% to 40%.

The same goes for the Schuring/Boccieri race here in mid-June; four and one-half months until the election. It will be closer than Strickland/Blackwell. Anywhere from 52% to 48% (Boccieri over Schuring) to 55% to 45%.

This race is, indeed, Boccieri's to lose. Now we can sit back and see if John Boccieri will attempt to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

It will be a Democratic year. Canton proper will go heavily Democratic. The Report does not deal in the fiction that The Rep does. And, The Report will not arrogate itself to the role of gatekeeper.

If Boccieri/Schuring supporters want to advocate for his/her/its candidate on the pages of The Report; please come and comment.

The Report believes that independent minded voters (Republican or Democrat or folks who never take a partisan ballot at a primary election) have the ability to filter through the "spin" and come to a decision of his/her own making.

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