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Friday, January 30, 2009

DISCUSSION: STARK'S ONLY "COUNTYWIDE" NEWSPAPER - FINALLY - DEALS WITH HEALY ALLEGATION

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) had all but given up on the prospect that Stark County's only countywide newspaper would delve into the allegations surrounding Canton Mayor William J. Healy, II.

The Report was told several times within the past week: "tomorrow." Well, tomorrow came and nothing.

There are a couple highly interesting nuances to The Rep's approach in today's piece.

First, the article acknowledges that the "anonymous" letter writer wanted The Rep to get the scoop on the story. The lack of The Rep's response, until today, probably means that "the powers that be" at The Repository didn't have the journalistic guts to dig in as a good investigative daily newspaper would.

Is The Rep's failure on this story indicative that Stark County no longer has a newspaper that is interested in or capable of solid investigative journalism?

Second, as written, this piece posits the notion that the "anonymous" letters were planted by interest groups; that is, anti-Healy interest groups, to wit:
A 40-something man who engaged in an improper relationship with a high school girl? Or is he the target of an orchestrated political smear campaign, with the goal of destroying his reputation, credibility and career?
The Report thinks it is preposterous to suggest that Canton councilpersons or Canton policemen might be part of "an orchestrated political smear campaign." Where is this coming from? The writers of the article do not connect the dots, other than to refer to the fact that the Canton police unions are in contract negotiations with the city and no money has been set aside for raises. What a leap? Is this responsible reporting?

As for the councilperson part, The Rep article makes no connection as a reason for even suggest that anyone on council is trying to smear Healy. The Rep reporters are probably relying on common knowledge among area political observers that Healy has never had a smooth relationship with council. In fact, his saving grace on the relationship (such that it could be at least a working relationship) was owing to the respect that council members had for Tom Bernabei (Healy's former service director and chief-of-staff).

So all-in-all, The Rep has bungled this story badly.

One other item: The Rep's commenters. The Report has had a number of comments from folks who regularly comment on The Rep's material, and, are they upset about having the comment removed by presumably Executive Editor Jeffery Gauger.

What a way to run a newspaper?

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I read this article this morning.....all I can say is WOW.

Either the Mayor is a scum bag and needs thrown out of office and thrown into a cage OR

Someone has stepped WAY out of line and is taking away from the buisness of the city by making up these allegations.

My fear, we will never know the truth...everyone is covering for everyone else. I hope we find out what really happened here.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Olson,

I agree this is a very poor, rather delayed piece of journalism. It will also make "hard copy on Saturday, which is the least read paper of the week. Controlled timing by Gauger?

Mr. Gauger's actions and his own comments this week bear a closer examination. He basically told the folks on the Rep's comments ... that he stopped the comments because he could. There were many good questions asked, none of which he answered.

As for the "facts" ..... the dots have NOT been connected. Healy, Nesbitt, Bernabei, McKimm, Martuccio, a female minor, letters, FBI, Sawnson & crew, DiMora & Russo etc, etc. Way too many stories here to ALL be separate.

Time will connect the dots, or there will be a huge coverup.

Anonymous said...

I noticed the last post did not include the Canton Police Dept in the list! Canton PD (at least the patrolmen's union) have no love lost for Healy.

Marley Greiner said...

I've looking at this a little differently.

IMO, the perpetrator of these letters is not a "political enemy" but an insider at some level (campaign worker, ow level staff) with a gripe against Healy This is personal.

I'm not fond of Healy, but I can't think of anything he has done to generate the psycho-type hatred that these letters apparently exhibit. These letters are from somebody who wants to hurt Healy beyond politics--at the home, where it hurts most. They feel slighted, envious, jealous, whatever.

I think the Rep should have published something earlier and followed up with more in depth coverage later, but it's interesting that the letter writer expected Jeff to jump and he didn't. As someone who's been involved in oppositional politics and tactical activism, I can tell you that fast half-assed reactions and turnarounds is just what this kind of person wants. That way, other people or organizations end up as props.

The real story is the comings and goings of city bigwigs and the Cleveland FBI investigation. The letters are a deflection, though I'd not say that Healy purposefully introduced them into the narrative for that purpose. Perhaps it's a "happy coincidence."

Anonymous said...

Healy needs to be removed! Where is Johhny Myer at and why hasn't he weighed in on the matter?