Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Did Boss Godfrey Call the Standard-Examiner "On the Carpet?"

Hearsay reader allegation: Boss Godfrey took the people from our home town newspaper to his special school for obedience training

B
y David S.

If you've noticed the tone of the Standard Examiner has turned very pro-Godfrey lately, here's why.

Trentleman told me Godfrey called a meeting at the newspaper and told them they were all "anti growth" and he chewed them out.

So before the meeting, we had articles about the river project failure, Leshem's bankruptcy, and Godfrey and Johnson's money laundering. It was all newsworthy stuff, but not favorable to Godfrey so it was deemed "anti growth".

Now we have articles about some tiny blurb in an obscure magazine, old news about Godfrey looking for federal money to prop up Leshemville, and an article saying the dustbowl at 12th and Wall is "on track." It's all old, pointless news, but it is "pro growth" because it's pro Godfrey.

And Godfrey's meeting was also perfectly timed to make the newspaper gun shy about reporting his recent diversion of water money to start subsidizing the destruction of the bench land with water rate payer's money.

It's clear by the end of Godfrey's meeting the newspaper people had their noses on the floor and have been obedient ever since.

Things happen for a reason.


Comments, anyone?

59 comments:

RJ Svengali said...

Wait, Godfrey called at meeting, at the SE?

How does that work?

what would jesus say said...

Off track, but related in a way because of the many failures in Ogden.

A pretty good article on the web about Delinquency rates and defaults on office and retail buildings and hotels. It appears that they have more than doubled in the last six months. For apartments and industrial buildings, the rates have increased more than 80 percent.

It’s a good thing Godfrey couldn’t get the Council to back his plan to add floors to the Wells Fargo Bldg at the Junction, in return guaranteeing the rent payments for the additional floors.

Here's the story.And why the hell doesnt the Standard grow some balls? Tell the little weiner to go to hell.

blackrulon said...

Wow, does this mean any subscriber can call a meeting and tell the employees at the S-E the error of their ways? This will be a great incentive to increase the subscription base. Who do I contact to schedule my meeting with the paper? If I don't have the time for a meeting can my delivery person pass along a message? Talk about a cutting edge interactive newspaper for the 21st century. Was it a private meeting of the kind the mayor prefers to have with the city council or were minutes taken. When will it appears on the S-E digital edition?

Curmudgeon said...

Not knowing anything about the meeting, I'd venture to say that any mayor of any city that asked to meet with the management/editors of the city's daily newspaper, would be accorded a meeting. I don't see anything untoward in that regard.

Now, if the meeting results in the SE being cowed in either its news coverage or its editorial stands, that's entirely another matter. But the marked "pro-Godfrey" turn in news coverage and editorial policy others think they see, I don't. Not yet, anyway.

The editorial on Ernest for example ended up advising the Godfrey administration to be extremely cautious in these parlous times in committing public funds to development projects. Sounds like good advice to me. A few years too late, in my view, but good advice none the less.

The story about the WalMart and WinCo projects, again, didn't seem out of place, given all the recent news about other projects going under. In fact, it was right here on WCF that someone [not me] asked, in a comment on the previous stories about collapsed projects, how the WalMart project was coming. Reporting that those two are still on track seemed like appropriate reporting to me, unless someone has information that the reporting was wrong, and the the projects are in trouble. Does anyone?

Hizonnah's "naysayers!" talk with the SE may have some impact, or it may not. But I don't think we can draw any firm conclusions yet, based on the Ernest editorial and the WalMart/WinCo story.

If the meeting progressed as David S. reports, what I hope the SE management, news editors and editorial board took away from it is this: that Mayor Godfrey sees no distinction between raising questions about his decisions and being "anti-growth." And that for Mayor Godfrey, the only way to be "pro-growth" is to be an uncritical Godfreyista, saying [editorially and in news coverage] "Yes, Massa! Whatever you say, Massa! We think so too, Massa!"

I haven't seen anything like that emerging yet in the pages of the SE. But I'll be watching. However, we need, I think, to avoid going to the other extreme, and treating any story that is not visibly detrimental to the Mayor as "pro-Godfrey."

Wise Guy said...

What a steaming load of crap, Curm.

Godfrey's best gig in life was delivering pizza. When he tried to rise above that, he crashed into the wall of his own incompetence.

See, e.g, Peter & Hull's "Peter Principle'.

Here's some free advice, by the way, professor: Don't be a schmuck.

Curmudgegon said...

Wise:

So, you seem to be arguing that he was a decent pizza delivery boy, right? From that fact, then, we could clearly draw no sound prediction about what kind of mayor he'd make, right? Which is all I said.

Thanks for agreeing with me. I appreciate the support.

Wise Guy said...

If by that you mean to say you admit you're a schmuck, then we are in agreement.

Curmudgeon said...

Wise Guy:

You seem, somehow, to have concluded that my long post above was an endorsement or defense of Mayor Godfrey. Did you read it? If you did, I'm hard put to see what in there you found or could reasonably interpret as "pro Godfrey"? Did you not, for example, see this:

If the meeting progressed as David S. reports, what I hope the SE management, news editors and editorial board took away from it is this: that Mayor Godfrey sees no distinction between raising questions about his decisions and being "anti-growth." And that for Mayor Godfrey, the only way to be "pro-growth" is to be an uncritical Godfreyista, saying [editorially and in news coverage] "Yes, Massa! Whatever you say, Massa! We think so too, Massa!" So, hard put to see what in the post got your back up, what in it you could possibly have read as a defense of the Mayor or his record in office?

Whistler said...

The fact is, almost all of our elected officials hide behind "unlimited growth" mantra to excuse their votes and actions and call anyone who opposes their views as "anti growth".

That is what is behind the failure of our County and State officials to collect the delinquent property taxes owed by many fat cats around the state to the tune of over $100 million dollars, about $13 million in Weber County alone!

Bill C. said...

Welcome back Curm, but why instantly take on the role of a lying little matty minimalist.
David S. is not the type to cry wolf over nothing, and though we don't have record of what was discussed I can gaurantee the streak of unfavorable write-ups as far as lying little matty is concerned was on the topic list.
Please keep in mind, the most damning element of the whole election fiasco, the illegal use of the jackass center is being totally swept under the rug by the gondola examiner. One can only wonder if the meeting wasn't specifically call to gain a reassurance that that will remain the status of the real story.

summers eve said...

I wonder if the Standard Ex people ever asked Godfrey about Envision Ogden and FUNRE while they were at their pow wow with the little dork.

Curmudgeon said...

Bill C:

Nice to be back. Spending 17 hrs in travel over a 48 hour period not my idea of fun.

Now, about your post. You said the Envision Ogden/FNURE mess is being "is being totally swept under the rug by the gondola examiner. " Sorry, Bill, but that's not true. The SE ran, fairly recently, a long story on exactly that. That it has not commented editorially is true. And it should have. That it has swept the story "totally under the rug" is demonstrably not true.

Second: Not sure what you objected to in my post about the David S. story. Do you disagree that any mayor of a city who asked for to meet with the editors of its daily paper would get such a meeting? You don't say. I can't imagine the SL Trib turning down Mayor Becker if he asked for a meet, or the NY Times turning down the Mayor of NYC or the Washington Post turning down Mayor Barry, etc. What's the problem?

I didn't question David S. reporting. But we have only David S.'s thin account. I have no information about what had actually gone on at the meet in any detail. [You admit you don't have any detailed information either.] I don't doubt Hizzonah was there to complain about the paper's coverage of city economic affairs in general, and of his administration's involvement therein in particular. So what? The question is, did the SE change its news policy or its editorial stand as a result of the meeting? I don't see any evidence that it has, and all that's been offered as evidence is the Ernest editorial [which was not particularly pro-Godfrey and recommended to him the kind of extreme caution he is now notorious for not-practicing], and the WalMart/WinCo story, which in fact answered a question that was raised right here on WCF. If that's the only evidence folks have for some kind of sharp pro-Godfrey veer at the SE following the meeting, it's pretty thin stuff.

And as I said, what I hope the SE editors took from the meeting was a clear understanding that Godfrey thinks any questioning of his proposals, and any reporting on same that is not Chamber Of Commerce boosterism is "anti-growth." That in Hizzonah's mind, Godfrey=growth, and so any opposition to any Godfrey advocacy necessarily is anti-growth. How, exactly, did you read that as my becoming an apologist for Hizzonah?

What I also hope happened at the meet is that the editors defended their reporters and their paper. That they asked Hizzonah if anything in their reporting was incorrect? To point out what he thought was incorrect, and if it was, they'd print a correction. [I notice they have printed none so far.]

Bill C. said...

Curm, I didn't say apologist, I said minimalist, and the gondola examiner has not even informed the public how lying little matty used the jackass center for his personal political asperations, which is a crime.

blackrulon said...

The mayor has often critized the SW-E for reporting of storie he has deemed unfair or more accurately not boosting his vision. The paper has basically followed his complaints by backing away from real investigation and reporting of stories that Godfrey would deem critical. The mayor wants all reporting about Ogden to be supportive. Followup and following the actual results of his ideas and proposals seems to be almost non-existent. How many stories have begun in the WCF instead of the acutual home town paper. The S-E is basically a shill for all ideas Godfrey. The explanation is that people out of town would be discouraged by the thought that problems exist in Ogden. I will reserve praise for the paper until they begin to be a true representative of all residents of Ogden. Criminal conduct by city officals, failed city investments and empty commercial buildings represent the failure of the inept Godfrey administration.

Andy Howell said...

Sorry gang, there was no such meeting.

Ernest Hemingway said...

And how do we know you're really Andy Howell? I tend to think not, until proven otherwise.

david s. said...

Andy,

Then where and when was it, per Trentlman, that

“mr schwebke, and the whole paper, just got done being ripped by the mayor for not being positive enough about ogden.”

Do fill us in.

dan s. said...

I can tell it's the real Andy Howell because he always opens with the word "sorry".

But how can he tell that I'm the real dan s.?

Wm III said...

Every week I read his column I think it should be entitled,
"Howell's Bowels" ...

Thank you - I'm here all week ... try the veal ...

Curmudgeon said...

If there was no meeting, then the SE editors missed out on the chance to be condemned as "naysayers" by Hizzonah. Too bad for them. They'd have entered a select, honorable [and ever-expanding] company, had they been so denounced.

Ah, well. Maybe next time.

RudiZink said...

Interesting email missive from Trentlelman, wherein he brands David S. a serial liar.

Here's the full text:

"You need to know that Dave Smith's posts about me are lies.
They are simply not true.
I never told him that the mayor held a meeting with us. Yes, the mayor has criticized our coverage, but that's no secret. He never held a meeting to demand, he never influenced our coverage in any way. The story I did on Ogden being mentioned was a legitimate story.
Mr. Smith, in a previous comment, also said I wrote a story about a meeting that I did not attend because I was outside the meeting talking to skateboarders. This is also a lie. I don't work that way.
I don't want to get into an on-blog debate. I don't want to give mr. Smith the exposure. But, you need to know, he is using your blog to publish lies, and if you continue to allow lies to be published on your blog I will take that into account when I consider whether posts by the unidentified people on your blog are worth consideration as news tips.

-Charles Trentelman"

More food for the discussion mill here at Weber County Forum, we think.

The nice thing about a community blog like ours... The truth ALWAYS comes out.

Chime in, O gentle ones.

dan s. said...

Sounds to me like misunderstandings, not lies.

Trentelman told Smith that the mayor "ripped" the S-E for their coverage. Smith assumed that this occurred in an in-person meeting. Howell and Trentelman now tell us there was no such meeting, but neither of them denies that the "ripping" occurred--nor do they provide any further details about the mayor's communications with the S-E.

It occurs to me that if I were to go to Trentelman claiming that some local public official (say Godfrey, or pick anyone else) lied to me, I'd have to meet a pretty high burden of proof to convince him that it was a lie rather than a misunderstanding. In fact, in my experience, he wouldn't accept any evidence from me--no matter how convincing--as proof that the official had deliberately lied. But when an ordinary citizen jumps to the wrong conclusion about something Trentelman told him, it's "lies, lies, lies".

Even when Trentelman helped expose one of Godfrey's lies, about the gondola connecting to Snowbasin (28 April 2006), he never used the L-word.

Isn't this the reverse of the way the press should operate? Shouldn't they scrutinize the statements of public officials more than those of ordinary citizens, holding the public officials to higher standards of honesty? Isn't their job to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable?

As an aside, Mr. Trentelman's threat to discount (as news tips) anonymous posts on Weber County Forum is pretty hilarious. When has he ever, in the past, given any credibility to an anonymous post on wcforum? And why should he, unless the post contains enough documentation for someone to verify it independently?

Curmudgeon said...

As I recall, on his own blog, on another occasion, Mr. Trentelman was discussing why blogs did not, as a rule, serve as news sources as reliable as newspapers did. One of the reasons he gave was that a newspaper reporter and/or the paper he works for has to verify what is included in a story before it is published. [Failing to do so gets reporters fired and newspapers sued.] Blog postings, however, often do not undergo the same scrutiny. The current matter seems a good illustration of the point Mr. Trentelman was making.

On the other side of the ledger, there's the fact that corrections can be made on blogs much more rapidly... and the corrections appear as comments to the item being corrected --- same location ---- not a day letter on the inside back of the front page, distant in time and space from what's being corrected. Edge to blogs on that one. And blogs, this one for example, has broken hard news that later appeared in the SE [e.g. what Dan S. GRAMA'd emails revealed about the administration's attempts to keep information regarding paying for a gondola consultant's report from the Council].

But it would be prudent next time to wait for verification before building towers of outrage upon unconfirmed posting like today's.

Curmudgeon said...

Dan S.:

Sorry, Dan, but I'm with Charlie on this one. You can argue semantics [lie or misunderstanding] if you like, but the key question I think is accuracy. Dave S. reported that a meeting had taken place and gave Trentelman as his source. In fact, no meeting took place and Trentelman had not told him that one had.

Considerable comment here rested on the fact [which turned out not to be one] that the SE had agreed to the Mayor's demand for a meeting. All of that commentary was based on Dave S.'s inaccurate reporting. It involved complaints about something that never happened and it drew conclusions based on that non-event. All needless.

More commentary rested on the presumed impact of the meeting that never occurred, including comments to the effect that the non-existent meeting caused a marked pro-Godfrey veer at the SE. Manifestly impossible for a meeting that didn't occur to have had that --- or any other --- effect.

And there are several cases I can think of, Dan, some involving your posts here, that subsequently appeared in the news columns of the SE.

I agree that the word "lie" is tossed around way too often, not infrequently on WCF, and that way too often people don't distinguish between statements that contain errors and ones that contain deliberate attempts to mislead. But that's not the key issue here. The key issue is accuracy. Dave S. it seems "reported" a meeting that never took place, and gave as his source someone who did not tell him such a meeting had happened. So his post, and his sourcing, both proved to be inaccurate. That's the issue.

As for me, this means future posts from Dave S. [which presume to be reporting, not commentary] will now automatically have to be taken with a very large grain of salt, unless and until corroborated.

dan s. said...

Curm: The distinction between "lie" and "misunderstanding" is not mere semantics. One is deliberate and the other isn't.

The important fact isn't whether an actual meeting took place--it's whether the mayor "ripped" the Standard-Examiner "for not being positive enough about Ogden". If such ripping occurred, I couldn't care less whether it was in a meeting, phone call, email, or some other means of communication.

Yet neither Trentelman nor Howell has denied that the communication took place. They've merely denied that it took place in a meeting. So what? To me, that's immaterial.

Should reporters strive to avoid inaccuracies--even immaterial ones? Of course. Should we trust them less in the future when they've been inaccurate in the past? Absolutely. But the severity of our judgment should be proportional to the importance of whatever fact was inaccurately reported.

Now, whether the mayor's communication resulted in any change in the paper's coverage--that's another question. And most of us would agree, I think, that any conclusions along those lines are bound to be speculative (when made by us outsiders) and/or biased (even when made by insiders like Trentelman). In all cases, we oughta take them with a grain of salt.

David S. said...

First, let me remind that my comments were posted as comments in a comments section on an Internet blog, for Pete’s sake. I did not offer them as a FRONT PAGE NEWS story or any other kind of news story. So Curmudgeon can climb off his high horse about whether it was appropriate as news.

Next, since Trentleman brought it up, I did in fact go to a very high profile meeting that Trentleman wrote up in the paper in a high profile article. And he indeed, never set foot in the meeting (reading the article it was obvious as well.) He in fact, spent the evening outside the building having a good time with some youngsters, which in hindsight, is probably what I also should also have done.

The reason I remember it so well is it irritated me that here were all these caring people who were at this important meeting on their own time, and the guy being paid to be there couldn’t be bothered to step in and do his job.

The point was I wish Trentleman (and others) weren’t so lazy and dissolute regarding their reporting jobs, which many view as a position of trust. I wasn’t bashing him so much as just wishing he and others like him would do their jobs at least on occasion. Jeez, so many articles, there is nothing in them, and when I saw Trentleman doing his “shift” it was easy to see at least one reason why.

Now, I wonder if I were to comment on Trentleman’s latest letter, the one Rudi has posted above, would Trentleman say that I am a liar in that regard as well? Let’s find out.

First, note that contrary to what Andy Howell did, which was state that “there was no such meeting,” Trentleman goes much further. Trentleman also states that Godfrey “never influenced our coverage in any way.” Perhaps this was simply a poor choice of words on Trentleman’s part, but how would he know? Does he know of all contacts Godfrey has had with the paper, or does he simply wish to generally and reflexively uphold the integrity of the mayor himself? Based on Trentleman’s emails to me, I feel it is the latter. He clearly thought is was a big deal when “mr schwebke, and the whole paper, just got done being ripped by the mayor for not being positive enough about ogden.”

Also note, that as he did with me in emails many times, Trentleman fires a harsh character assassination against me, then quickly retreats and tries to insure an end to the debate by stating, “I don't want to get into an on-blog debate.” He even seems to want Rudi to start screening comments! What kind of person lobs a hand grenade like that, then tries to call, “game over”?

Lastly, concerning Trentleman’s comments, I would offer these adages.

1. “The worst thing that can happen to a reporter is for him to become the story.” (Think Dan Rather and Connie Chung. )

2. “Methinks he doth protest too much.” (Maybe you too, Andy.)

But if they do want to keep this up, I’ve got a lot of good inside stuff to give on the Standard Examiner itself. Perhaps those too will be rebutted by screaming, “LIARRRRRR!”

Curmudgeon said...

Dave S.:

You're sinking into sophistry to try to cover over the salient points: you posted as fact [not comment] that a meeting took place. It didn't. You posted as fact that Mr. Trentelman told you the meeting took place. He didn't.

Dave, when you make a mistake in a post, the thing to do is fess up and apologize. It only stings for a little while. [I know that for a fact, having had to do it myself.]

summers eve said...

I still wnat to know why the Standard has'nt pressed the issue of Envision Ogden, and FNURE, and thier use of the Saloman Center while owned by the City, for the purpose of raising money for political purposes, while raising under false prestenses as a promotion for high adventure in Ogden.
Why?

Curmudgeon said...

Dan:

You wrote: The important fact isn't whether an actual meeting took place--it's whether the mayor "ripped" the Standard-Examiner "for not being positive enough about Ogden". If such ripping occurred, I couldn't care less whether it was in a meeting, phone call, email, or some other means of communication. Well, Dan, Dave didn't post, and people didn't respond to a report about what the Mayor may have said via phone, email or smoke signal at some indeterminate time or another. People responded to and drew conclusions about the SE from Dave's claim that the Mayor "called a meeting at the newspaper and told them they were all 'anti growth' and he chewed them out." That didn't happen. And Dave gave Charlie Trentelman as his source for both the meeting, the fact that the Mayor "called" it, and for what happened at it. Citing Charlie as his source added, for me, significant credibility to Dave's post. But Charlie was not the source for what Dave claimed.

You don't care whether the meeting happened or not. OK, fine. But if blog posts as sources of news are to be taken seriously --- and a lot of people are recommending WCF as a better source of news about Ogden than the SE --- then it is essential that posts purporting to report news be accurate. Dave S.'s post was not. And so it undermined confidence in what appears on WCF. How could it not?

You go to great lengths to research when you report on matters here, Dan. You've earned a well-established reputation for doing your homework, for nailing your statements down, with evidence, before you post them here. When a "Dan S." post says on WCF that X happened, I and almost everyone I know who reads WCF accept it as fact that X did indeed happen. You... WCF... all of us... should expect no less from others who presume to report fact here.

RudiZink said...

"Dave didn't post, and people didn't respond to a report about what the Mayor may have said via phone, email or smoke signal at some indeterminate time or another."

Nonsense, Curm.

In our opinion, our readers have responded to two questions which haven't yet been answered:

1) Did the Godfrey administration exert undue pressure on the Standard-Examiner to soften up its coverage of Godfrey's blunders?

2) Did the Standard-Examiner back down?

Dan S. is right. It's as simple as that.

Curmudgeon said...

Rudi:

Nonsense? Really? Did you read the posts following Dave S. post? From the very first post, by RSJ:

"Wait, Godfrey called at meeting, at the SE? How does that work?" Seems to have been a comment about the Mayor's having "called" and gotten a meet with SE editors, doesn't it. Just as I said.

From the very next comment on Dave S.'s post, this from Blackrulon:

Wow, does this mean any subscriber can call a meeting and tell the employees at the S-E the error of their ways? This will be a great incentive to increase the subscription base. Who do I contact to schedule my meeting with the paper? Hmmmm... again, seems to be a comment on Hizzonah having "called" a meeting and gotten one, doesn't it. Just as I said.

From Summers Eve:

"I wonder if the Standard Ex people ever asked Godfrey about Envision Ogden and FUNRE while they were at their pow wow with the little dork." Another comment on what transpired at the meeting we know now didn't happen. Imagine that.

Rudi, Dave S. screwed up. He posted as fact things that did not happen, attributing his false claims to a false source. That's not something trivial. That's not something to be passed over or excused because it turned out not to have been as detrimental to Godfrey as it could have been if his facts had been accurate. The excerpts I gave above establish beyond doubt, seems to me, that people were commenting on, and drawing conclusions from, the false report Dave S. posted.

If WCF is to be taken as a serious source of news, there is nothing more important than the accuracy of what's reported here as news, as fact. Getting the facts right is pretty much Chapter One in the book of "how to be taken seriously." It does matter that he got his facts wrong. It does matter that people drew conclusions based on what Dave S. got wrong. It matters a lot, particularly if WCF is to be a source of information... reliable information... during the coming Council elections.

RudiZink said...

Balderdash, Curm. You're allowing yourself to be distracted by trivia.

Lloyd B's ghost said...

I know David S. - and you Charles Trentelman are not in his league when it comes to integrity, intelligence and veracity.

Perhaps it is Trentelman who is the liar in this little episode? Lying, bending or ignoring the truth - after all could be considered a staple at the Standard. In addition Trentelman does come across as an arrogant and pompous know it all on occasion and in some of his emails. I know, I have received a couple.

Curm - be careful when you state things like "people didn't respond to a report about what the Mayor may have said via phone, etc, etc,"
I for one did respond to the idea the mayor gave the Standard hell, not whether they had an actual face to face meeting - and I'm people!

Curmudgeon said...

Rudi:

Sorry, Rudi, but I don't consider factual accuracy on a public affairs blog "trivia." And the claim that folks here were commenting not about the false facts [Mayor called a meeting with SE brass and got it at which meeting he berated them for being anti-growth] but on some larger issue we were supposed to perceive, somehow, through Dave's factual errors and inaccurate attributions, just won't stand up on the evidence. [See excerpts noted above.]

RudiZink said...

Keep your eye on the ball, Curm.

Good advice for ball players; better advice for those who follow politics.

The holding of a meeting was not a key fact in David's narration.

What's apparent (and which neither Howell nor Trentelman have denied) is that the mayor "ripped" the Standard in some manner, and that the Standard's coverage of important stories like the misuse of the Salomon Center mysteriously and coincidentally stopped in its tracks.

As long as we're going to whip out random reader comments as you did a couple of comments above, consider this most recent comment from gentle reader Summer's Eve:

"I still wnat to know why the Standard has'nt pressed the issue of Envision Ogden, and FNURE, and thier use of the Saloman Center while owned by the City, for the purpose of raising money for political purposes, while raising under false prestenses as a promotion for high adventure in Ogden.
Why?"

Summer's Eve gets it. Why don't you?

RudiZink said...

I'm with you, Lloyd. If there's anyone in town I would trust for his truth and veracity, it's David S.

Curmudgeon said...

Rudi:

OK, fine. First, Hizzonah has as much right to complain to the SE as any of us do. So the only shred of significance left for Dave S's "report" is his claim that as a result of Hizzonah's complaints [however and whenever delivered], the SE spiked critical stories or editorial comments that were in the works. For these claims, Dave S. offers.... surprise! surprise!... no evidence.

Since the SE has never reported the Mayor's offering of the Junction to Envision Ogden while the latter was still city property, I'm a little at a loss to know when this "sudden" stoppage of coverage, as a result of the Mayor's complaints, is supposed to have occurred. Since no one, not Dave S. certainly, has offered any evidence that the SE had articles on that, or editorials, in the pipe line, it's a little hard to understand what the Mayor's alleged complaints are suppose to have stopped.

Or when. Let's look at the timeline Dave S. offered us:

Before the "meeting" [which now we understand to mean "the mayor's complaints, however and whenever delivered"], Dave tells us, the SE

"ran articles about the river project failure, Leshem's bankruptcy, and Godfrey and Johnson's money laundering. It was all newsworthy stuff, but not favorable to Godfrey so it was deemed "anti growth". Now we have articles about some tiny blurb in an obscure magazine, old news about Godfrey looking for federal money to prop up Leshemville, and an article saying the dustbowl at 12th and Wall is "on track." It's all old, pointless news, but it is "pro growth" because it's pro Godfrey. And Godfrey's meeting was also perfectly timed to make the newspaper gun shy about reporting his recent diversion of water money to start subsidizing the destruction of the bench land with water rate payer's money. So this sudden turn around, he says, was recent, just in the last couple of weeks. He does not claim to know of any story on Envision Godfrey's use of the Junction that was spiked as a result, or any editorial comment dealing with that that was spiked, or any story in process on the water project changes that was spiked. In fact, no one has reported any such spiked stories or reports since Hizzonah's alleged tirade by whatever means he made it during the last couple of weeks. It's all conjecture.

The only "evidence" [you should excuse the expression] offered by Dave S. as proof that Godfrey spun the SE around is this: (a) the article about Ogden rating high as an American values kind of place. [As you have noted, Rudi, those kinds of stories have been reported by the SE for years. So no change in policy evident as a result of the Mayor's influence there.] (b) A story about Ogden putting in for federal grants to clean up and rehab the Ogden River downtown. By what standard is that not news? Particularly since the SLT reported that none, repeat none, of the money will go to the River Project developers to spend. Dave's inference that that story ran only because of the Mayor's complaints to the SE doesn't stand up on the evidence any more than his "Mayor called a meeting" claim did.(c)The story that the Wal Mart and WinCo projects are on track. That story answered a question asked right here on WCF following the recent reports of collapsed projects, in fact. And it answered questions readers, including me, logically could have [and in my case did] wonder about following the earlier "failed projects" story: what was happening with WalMart, about which we hadn't heard anything in a while? It's ludicrous to suggest that a report on the current status [in the current market] of two large development projects downtown is a result of Mayoral pressure merely because it reported that the projects are "on track." Unless someone has some evidence that the story was wrong and that the projects are not on track... and no one has offered any... it's hard bordering impossible to see how that story is evidence of Mayoral pressure on the SE. And finally (d) the third water tower story not being reported. Might be something there, except, once again, the SE has not been reporting this since well before the Mayor's alleged tirade, and so it's hard to see how its continuing to do what it was already doing is, somehow, a response to the Mayor's complaints.

Dave S.'s time line doesn't make sense, his evidence for some kind of lurch to Godfreyism as recently as the last few weeks is woefully thin bordering on non-existent. And he got his facts wrong to boot.

Bill C. said...

Been hauling hay, missed a lively little discussion. Dearest Curmudgeon, it's beyond trivial to argue semantics and so ironical that this discussion about a reporter and a citizen caught up in a game of liar, liar, in a town where the mayor is well known as lying little matty gondola godfrey.
Please lighten up a little, and ask the folks at the gondola examiner why they refuse to pay any attention to the well documented fact that lying little matty allowed, for his own benefit and on the City's nickel and insurance, the jackass center to be used for a political fundraiser.

Curmudgeon said...

LLoyd:

I don't know who Dave S. is. But as far as reliability in the public prints goes, I pretty much have to draw my conclusions based on what people post or print. Is it reliable or is it not? Dave's post was not, as we now know. And, Lloyd, it does not speak well [to me] of his character that, having screwed up and posted things that were not so, he did not promptly do what I'd expect a man of [let me use your words] "integrity... and veracity" to do: (a) admit he'd made a mistake and gotten his facts wrong and (b) apologize. That's what you do when you screw up, Lloyd. You fess up and say you're sorry.

Dave claims he has "a lot of good inside stuff to give on the Standard Examiner itself." Let's hope it is, whatever it is, more accurate than what he posted yesterday, so we don't have to go through another round of "well, no, what I said wasn't actually true, but please ignore that and accept my conclusions anyway."

As for the rest, Rudi was arguing that people did not respond to Dave's post with comments based on Dave's false report that "the Mayor called a meeting." I provided evidence from posts that they did. I didn't say everyone did.

Bill C. said...

And while you're inquiring, you might ask about the misappropriation of money for the icicle. The last report from the gondola examiner was that an anonymous donor was found that was going to cough up the $63,000 smackaroos. Seems it hasn't happened yet. I wonder if Gary Williams discovered a new remarkable cure for that gaffe?

Curmudgeon said...

Bill C:

You want to talk about SE shortcomings, then you --- and I --- will be continuing a discussion we've had here for several years. And you and I have both, over those years, criticized the SE for its coverage of city affairs, N. Utah politics and editorial stands. The SE has not editorialized on the FNURE/Envision Ogden matter. It should have. It has not examined the turning of the Junction [city property] over to Envision Ogden to raise campaign funds [some of which were used to help re-elect the Mayor]. It should have. It has not asked the most basic questions about that matter, like where is the contract between Envision Godfrey and Ogden City regarding use of The Junction, and if there is no contract, why isn't there? Both you, and I, have commented here on all these matters previously.

None of the criticism... none of it... is made more effective by posts making false claims of fact in an attempt to criticize the SE and the Mayor. Dave S's carelessness weakens the case against Hizzonah and the case against the SE's coverage because it undermines the credibility of WCF.

"Well, he got the facts wrong. So what?" is not a position I --- or I think you --- would want to have to defend.

RudiZink said...

Geebus, Curm. If David had had reported that Godfrey was wearing a brown suit, you'd be griping because his suit actually turned out to be blue.

Sometimes I think you argue trivial points just because you like to argue.

And if you think WCF's credibility is damaged because David got a trivial point wrong, what about the credibility of the Standard-Examiner, which veered off the main Envision Ogden story, and did its final Envision Ogden series article on Little Bobby's Dirk Youngberg "trick diversion play," just as the misuse of the Solomon Center was the next obvious subject?

Read David's article again and you'll see that the holding of a face to face meeting was not a central point. The point was that Godfrey took the SE to the woodshed, and the evidence indicates that the SE promptly put its nose on the ground thereafter.

Sometimes I wonder whose side you're really on.

Do we actually have a closet Godfreyite in our midst?

[sigh]

Just a Thought said...

I don’t know whether the ass chewing took place or not and we will never know for sure.

I do find that it could be plausible that Godfrey in his high opinion of himself would feel that privileged to take that type of action. After all, in his mind, he has provided the Standard with a sweet heart deal on their new building in exchange for their old building and the fact that the city spends a large amount of money with the paper as a customer, he would feel entitled to have some control over what the paper prints. I’m just saying that it would not be out of character of him to think this way.

If a meeting like this did take place, it would be a huge embarrassment to the paper and I would think that the paper’s immediately response would be to deny any acknowledgement that became public, that the meeting ever took place.

Again I say whether it took place or not and whether it was in person or in a conference call, we will never know but I could also see Trentelman being agitated by such a meeting and venting his frustration to the first person that he thought would listen outside of the organization. Then realizing the error of his indiscretion, hoping that the genie would stay in the bottle.

Seeing the bigger picture of the paper loosing its credibility as an independent news source and not wanting another meeting with Godfrey, it wouldn’t take long for Howell to step up and do damage control if the story did go public, which is exactly what he did, whether the story was true or not. The speed of Howell’s response to the suggestion of the meeting make me, at least consider, the story as having the possibility of being true. I think I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen Howell post here on the WCF.

If the genie truly got out of the bottle and by that I mean if the comments made by Trentelman could be validated in recorded voice or print, I could imagine Trentelman seeing his whole life passing before his eyes as Godfrey got after Howell, the paper’s management going after Howell and Howell got after Trentelman. As such I would not be surprised by his response on the blog to discredit David S where it seems to only be a matter of who’s word do you believe.

As for the paper’s reporting of Godfrey’s shall I say “indiscretions”, I would have to say that if this meeting did take place it was effective by my impression of the news stories as of late.

Curmudgeon said...

Rudi:

Let me try one more time....

You wrote: (1)Geebus, Curm. If David had had reported that Godfrey was wearing a brown suit, you'd be griping because his suit actually turned out to be blue. Nonsense. He wrote Godfrey "called" a meeting with the SE brass, and got it, and berated them there, and cited a false source for that. That in no way compares with an error as trivial as suit color.

You ask: "what about the credibility of the Standard-Examiner?" I have, for some years, here and elsewhere, gone after the SE's credibility, reporting and editorial stands when I thought it was warranted, which was over the years pretty often. Less of late. You, of all people, should know this.

You wrote: The point was that Godfrey took the SE to the woodshed, and the evidence indicates that the SE promptly put its nose on the ground thereafter. I went over what Mr. S. is pleased to call his "evidence" above. It does not indicate any recent lurch to Godfrey sycophancy following recent Godfrey complaints to the paper. The time line he offers up doesn't stand up. Maybe there's evidence of such a switch in policy someplace. I'll be glad to be convinced by evidence if anyone has any to offer. But it's not in Mr. S's post.

You wrote: Sometimes I wonder whose side you're really on. Do we actually have a closet Godfreyite in our midst? Oh, come off it, Rudi. Nothing in my comments on Dave's error-ridden post constitutes support of Hizzonah in any way. It takes on Dave's error-riddled post, and his unsupported suggestion that the SE spiked Godfrey-critical stories following the Mayor's tirade. If he's got any substantive evidence for that --- evidence he won't have to retract when somebody checks it for accuracy --- he did not to include it in his post.

We have, Rudi, a mayor who is ethics challenged and who dissembles --- who plays, at times, fast and loose with the facts. That is why it is important... why it is essential... for his critics not to be careless with the facts just to make political points.

Facts matter. Getting them right matters. And as we approach Council elections, making sure that criticisms of Hizzonah and his Council lapdog candidates are based on solid evidence and irrefutable fact not only matters, it is essential. Dave S. didn't help us any today.

Further deponent sayeth not.

RudiZink said...

Well then Curm, it's obvious that your stubborness won't allow yo to keep your eye on the ball. And from this point on, I guess we're going to have to agree to disagree.

You said:

"Dave S. didn't help us any today."

This I believe to be a statement about which reasonable people can agree to disagree, I think; and I'll leave it at that.

For my own part, I believe David S. stated in words something that most of the rest of us were already quietly thinking.

dan s. said...

Sure would be nice if someone from the S-E could fill us in on the details of this alleged "ripping" by Godfrey: When exactly did it occur, and how, and what was said? It would be interesting to line up the date in comparison to various news articles and then decide whether we think the "ripping" may have caused any change in the tone of the coverage.

disgusted said...

rudi

i dont quietly think it. i pretty much disgusting believe it. the se has no integrity when it comes to their opinions or recommendations or reporting of local events. they are in godfreys pocket.

Dorrene Jeske said...

This is off the subject, but I'd like to say:

Congratulations to Chris Bentley!! He was awarded the “Wildcat Achievement Award” by WSU. “He is president of the Environmental Club, an organization he helped to create. He has worked closely with administrators, faculty, staff and students to raise awareness about environmental issues on campus. Bentley graduated with a bachelor of integrated studies degree and plans to pursue a master’s degree in urban planning.” He has helped with the planting of trees on campus and Arbor Day activities at WSU.
He attended the Railvolution in San Francisco last October. From there, he left to attend an environmental conference in Las Vegas and was a scheduled speaker.
Chris is an outstanding young man and cares deeply about Ogden. He ran for the council seat that was vacated by Bill Glasmann. He is very knowledgeable and has a great capacity for common sense and interest in seeing Ogden developed wisely and in a financially responsible manner.
Congratulations again, Chris, and keep up the good work!

Curmudgeon said...

Dorrene:

Right on! Thanks for the news and write up. Mr. Bentley is aces in my book. Delighted to hear the news.

blackrulon said...

This discussion highlights the disconnect felt by most people of Ogden. We do not believe or trust the mayor in his statements or actions. We do not have faith that the S-E will do any real reporting or investigation. The fact that many people, including me, felt that such a meeting could take place shows the level of distrust. I live in Ogden, and want it to be a great place to live and work. There seems to be no one to hold responsible for lies and deceitful practices. The S-E has taken the corporate viewpoint of not checking out the claims and promises of the current administration. I am of the belief that the local newspaper should be more than just a cheerleader. The problem might be that the owners of the paper live away and do not have a stake in the community except for a profit. The paper seems not to be curious about anything the mayor claims. Give me more, investigate and verify the claims and statements. It appears that the WCF did more to verify Davis S. than anything the paper does on what the mayor says.

Curmudgeon said...

Hmmmm.... There are two "anti-growth" stories on the front page of the SE this morning. One discusses Councilman Garcia's attempt to have the Marshall White center operating funds returned to the Mayor's proposed 2010 budget [he'd zeroed the funds out, apparently], and includes Garcia's charge that the Mayor is negotiation to turn over operation of the center to another group without keeping the Council properly informed. The The second story is a chilling one about violent street crime in Ogden.

Both "anti-growth" stories by Hizzonah's standards. That little trip to the woodshed he's supposed to have taken SE editors on to prevent the paper printing such stories doesn't seem to have done much good....

RJ Svengali said...

You all so sassy!

So, we checked with our person at one of the code-dog desks at the SE: no meeting was called, no groups of asses were chewed.
We quote a portion of the conversation, "No way he could call a meeting here; he might ask to speak to us, but no one would make it mandatory for anyone to attend".

On a positive note: we were just informed that they are finally building those new Union Square condos next door.
When more wicked bitchin' cool cats descend on the downtown blocks, it becomes even more wicked bitchin' cooler, donchaknow.

Downtown kicks ass.

Curmudgeon said...

RJS:

What's a "code-dog desk" at the SE? Programmer?

disgusted said...

rjs

as if a code-dog would be one of those to attend the meeting.
i still think where theres smoke theres fire.

ozboy said...

Mr. Curmudgeon, I read the last 30 or so entries in this thread and find it hard to see how a smart feller like you could be high centered on this subject of David S. and his integrity and what the real issue he raised really is. You keep referring as some sort of proof that there is no evidence that the Standard changed its position or actions vis-a-vis the Lil Lord's despotic regime after a supposed meeting happened or didn't.

It seems to me that the stories the SE did do on the Envision Ogden/FNURE scam were definitely leading somewhere as a series, and then all of a sudden the SE quit mentioning the whole sordid affair right in the middle of the stream and right before the knock out punch seemingly was going to be delivered. Is that not evidence of some sort of serious mind change?

By steadfastly refusing to address the apparent criminal aspects of this sorry case of political corruption the Standard is definitely showing their true colors. Why do you suppose they are doing that Mr. Curmudgeon?

Do you think that maybe the Standard truly does not see anything wrong with the mayor using city property to further his own, and his co-hort's, political interests and then setting up a smoke screen in order to keep is secret from the public?

Do you think the SE thinks it is kosher for the Lil Lord to set up a semi secret set of phony front companies to solicit, under false pretenses, many tens of thousand dollars from companies that do business with the city, and to lie to these companies as to the secret political purpose of the money they are giving?

I don't know the naybobs at the Standard in person, but I can tell you it doesn't take a moral or intellectual giant to see the immorality in this sordid little affair.

Curmudgeon said...

Oz:

The claim was that the Mayor called a meeting, the SE granted it to him, at it he lambasted them for being "anti-growth" and the SE markedly changed its coverage, and the source for all this was Charlie Trentelman. My point was then, is now, that nearly all of that was wrong: the Mayor did not call for a meeting, no meeting was held at which he berated them, and none of that came from Trentelman. However inadvertently, Dave S. got all that wrong.

And so I made what I thought was the unremarkable and wholly non-controversial point that getting the facts right is important on WCF, particularly with Council elections coming up. The explosion of criticism that triggered surprised me then, and still does now. How so many can argue, as so many did, that it really didn't matter that Dave S. got most of what he reported wrong... well, I'm still puzzled by that. Opposing Godfrey's policies and the election of more Godfrey lapdogs to the Council does not remove from any of us --- myself, you, Dave S., Rudi, Dan --- any of us, the responsibility of getting our facts right when we post critiques of Hizzonah, or the SE, or candidates. It matters that what we get what we put up right, that the facts check out. It matters a lot.

As for whether the SE veered away from stories the Mayor wouldn't like following criticism Hizzonah may have made in some other way, you offer only this, that the Envision Godfrey/FNURE stories "were definitely leading somewhere as a series, and then all of a sudden the SE quit mentioning the whole sordid affair right in the middle of the stream and right before the knock out punch seemingly was going to be delivered. Is that not evidence of some sort of serious mind change?"

Sorry, Oz, but I think you're letting the wish be father to the thought. That may be where you wanted it to go. Me too. But I don't see any evidence that it was going there. No competent prosecuting authority has agreed to even look into the matter as criminal conduct, much less bring charges. Not at the city, county or state level. [If one did, that would instantly give the story new legs and I'll put up dollars to donuts the SE would report it, prominently.] Absent that, it's hard to see where else the story could go, or what the "knock out punch" you seem so sure was coming would be.

Maybe the Junction/Sneek Peek/Envision Godfrey angle? Possible, but again, the paper has never gone into that --- or even reported it for the last, what, nearly two years now? --- and no investigating authority is so far as I know looking into it, and so I don't see any reason to assume the SE was on the verge of breaking a big story on it until Hizzonah pulled them back. That's all supposition, speculation and conjecture at this point, Oz. Fun stuff to play with, maybe. But convincing evidence? No.

Should the SE have covered the Junction Sneek Peek story? Yes. [As I said long ago, several times, and again above.] Should they have asked, long ago, where is the contract between the city and Envision Godfrey for use of the Junction when it was still city property to manage? And if there is no contract, why not? Yes. We both agree on that, Oz, and have for some time. But is there any indication that the SE was about to publish an investigative piece on it now after ignoring it for so long? None that I can see.

I didn't argue, and don't think, the SE has handled the Envision Godfrey/FNURE stories well. It was late, very late, to the party and when it did report on them, it didn't do the digging it could and should have. On the Junction/Sneek Peek story, it still hasn't left the gate. I'd contest none of that, and I've been saying that [along with many others] for some time.

You wrote: "I don't know the naybobs at the Standard in person, but I can tell you it doesn't take a moral or intellectual giant to see the immorality in this sordid little affair." Oz, I'm not a confidant of the SE nabobs either, but I can tell you it doesn't take a moral or intellectual giant to see that it's wrong to print on a blog [or anywhere else] as fact things that are not so. If for no other reason than tactical ones, with an election coming on, it's a very bad idea.

But it happens. I've done it. And when you do it, inadvertently [as I presume Dave S. did], it's important for tactical reasons if for no others [and I'd say personal ones as well] to admit that you screwed up, correct the errors, and apologize. That too seemed to me an uncontestable and unremarkable point to make.

Clearly, others thought differently.

disgusted said...

curm

in regards to your post at 9:25am. on the story about garcias efforts to save the funding of the mwc the headline seemed attention grabbing for garcias efforts to protect the mwc but the story itself actually attacked garcia as we read patterson and godfrey claiming that garcia was aware of the actions going on. the article also suggested that garcia was onboard with the whole idea and that it was garcias responsiblity to let the rest of the council know about those goings on.
obviously garcia didnt see it that way and once again we readers are left to decide whos word do we believe. i believe garcia.
once again the story left the administration (both godfrey and paterson) pointing the finger at a council member for not paying attention or changing their mind or not seeing the big picture.
ive read so many of these types of stories and always it the council member thats wrong according to the administration. after a while even you have to question why its always the other parties fault.
this was not evidence that the city is providing balanced reporting or even good reporting.

disgusted said...

the last sentence above should have read
this was not evidence that the paper is providing balanced reporting or even good reporting.

Curmudgeon said...

Disgusted:

We disagree [again]. The story lead with Councilman Garcia's efforts to save the MWC's funding. That was the lede, along with the news that MWC center funds needed to continue operations had been zeroed out of Godfrey's budget.

Getting a response from the Godfrey administration was good reporting, and necessary to the story. Mr. Schwebke would have been doing damn poor reporting if he'd not asked for a response from the Godfrey administration and let Garcia's comments stand alone. When he got it a Godfrey administration response, he included it, as he should have.

This was a breaking news story, not an investigative piece. To have done what you wanted... resolved the question of which side was right [if it could have been done at all, since I'm not sure where he could have gone for information about how adequately Garcia was kept informed other than Garcia and Patterson] would have involved investigation. And time. The story would then have been delayed until the investigating was over. Not good policy when dealing with breaking news, as he was.

And as a result of Mr. Schwebke's story yesterday, the Godfrey administration had to eat crow in this morning's paper and announce to the public via the paper that its Chief Administrative Officer didn't know what he was talking about. I'd say the SE so far served it's Ogden readers on this particular continuing story.

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