Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Good Discussion Developing on Charlie Trentelman's Blog

Gentle Reader Dan S. takes the Standard-Examiner to task; managing editor Andy Howell replies with his (shall we say) "shallow" retort

Interesting reader discussion developing over on Charlie Trentleman's Blogging the Rambler blog, under Monday's article title, "A Monday Morning rant." Our own gentle reader Dan S. takes the Standard-Examiner to task midway down the reader comments section, for burying the Envision Ogden Campaign Contribution Money Laundering story, just as troubling issues related to Mayor Godfrey's involvement in Envision Ogden's Salomon Center 2007 campaign fundraiser were laid squarely in the Standard-Examiner's lap. Managing editor Andy Howell has even become involved in the discussion, wherein he defends the newspaper's non-coverage of this aspect of the story under the rationale of legitimate "news judgment, resource committment and space considerations." Gentle Reader Dan expresses his differing view, of course.

This is a developing discussion, we believe, that's well worth checking out:
"A Monday Morning Rant"
Who knows? Perhaps a few of our readers will want to mosey on over to Charlie's most excellent blog to offer their own ever-gentle comments.

Stranger things have happened on otherwise slow news days in the Emerald City blogosphere.


Tom's two bits worth said...

The following was posted on Mr. T's blog:

"my column led the state in getting a veterans’ nursing home built in Ogden"

Wow, is Mr. T's ego and hubris showing with this statement or what?

Imagine that, if it were not for Trentelman and his enormous ego the nursing home would not have happened. I know he was active in the effort and wrote about it quite a bit, and I'm glad he did, but I find it hard to believe he "led the state" in getting it built.

And the other self serving excuses from handy Andy is also pretty disingenuous as well.

The Standard has been very selective in what they have written about the Godfrey cabal. Sure they have had plenty of stuff that freaked the Godfreyites out, but that doesn't change the fact that they have been pulling the real knock out punches on a regular basis. The way they came on with the Envision Ogden crimes story, then abruptly backed off just when the story started to flesh out, is a case in point. They were very careful to tip toe around the real heart of the Envision crimes instead of doing their civic duty and revealing all the sordid details.

It is also rather telling how the Standard continues to perpetrate the false myths about what really happened with the Ernest Health fiasco and how the paper participated with Godfrey in falsely crucifying the city council for having the guts to actually ask some legit questions from questionable corporate operators that were attempting to stick their hands in the tax payer's pockets.

The Standard has had an over abundance of information and leads on the criminal conduct of Godfrey and his circle of empty suits, yet they selective hold back on any meaningful investigative reporting on the allegations. They even endorsed him in the last election, and in so doing wrote blatant un-truths about his opponent, (who I also did not support).

In my humble opinion the Standard is being driven by ad revenue, not accurate and complete news coverage, and the paper does not have the courage to carry on the great fourth estate traditions that newspapers across the county have lived by for generations. They are afraid of Godfrey, the economic power he can wield and his plain mean vindictiveness. They also owe him big time for the substantial money they realized in the questionable property transactions they had with the city when they moved from their old plant to the new one.

The Standard hasn't really had any balls since old Abe Glassman gave up the reigns seveal decades ago. With the exception of Trentelman, the cartoon guy and possibly the new editorial guru (Gibson?), the whole place is devoid of any real journalism chops. As for handy Andy Howell, in my opinion on his very best day he couldn't come close to carrying old Abe's jock strap.

RudiZink said...

Interesting how Trentelman, who holds himself out as the advocate of "the people," reverts to the same "Hands off Boss Godfrey" crap that ST-Ex editor Andy Howell advocates.

oldtimer said...

I am coming to realize that Trentleman is an advocate for the same group that the headhonchos at the Standard continue to blindly support.

Bill C. said...

Rudi, it's disgusting and a waste of time. Howell felt some need to interject a defense on Charlies' blog, then went into hiding. Charlie then proceeds to dismiss out of hand anything but Brittany's underwear.
I sense that the whole paper is feeling some twinge of guilt for how they're sidestepping the Envision Ogden illegal use of the Jackass Center. Note to SE, this is not going to be buried, you've had ample chances to get in front of this story, and refused. You know the details and the crimes and will look complicent in covering it up. Your public image is going to follow the path of the lying little mayors. Have you no Corporate sense of integrety? Is there one true journalist left at your establishment that has any moral compass?

RudiZink said...

Right, Bill.

Can't wait to hear from the Salt Lake Tribunes's Chris Smart on this.

The only way Andy and the Std-Ex will write about this, will be when they once again get upstaged by the Trib.

RudiZink said...

Exactly right, Bill. I've had Charlie on a pedestal for some time now.

After reading his lame defense of the Standard's Hands off Boss Godfrey edititorial policy, I'm now inclined to relegate Trentelman down in the gutter, just like all the other STD-EX Gondolist Godfreyites.

It's sad, very sad.

ozboy said...


Maybe not. It seems that the Tribune has abandoned the Ogden beat. Poor folks at the Tribune have the same sad story of survival struggles that all the papers have these days. They are all searching for a business model that they can ride into the next century.

It is sad that the Standard has apparently abandoned any journalistic standards that they used to have, but they are struggling for survival in a hostile environment, and bending over for the almighty dollar like they are now doing may just be the only chance they have. Going from a once respected news source to an advertising circular appears to be the road the Suits of Sandusky believe is their salvation.

H.L Mencken said...

"Going from a once respected news source to an advertising circular appears to be the road the Suits of Sandusky believe is their salvation."

That's the road to hell and damnation for a newpaper, ozboy, or so it seems to me.

David S. said...

I've had a long email exchange with Trentleman over the last few days.

I wanted him (as the water reporter) to look into the story about how Godfrey is diverting water money to start Phase I of his golf course project by replacing the 36th Street tanks with a larger underground tank, and adding a higher pressure tank for his new condos. The council is looking at ways to stop Godfrey from using water money in this way, and to insure he only uses water money for approved purposes. It's a water issue, an issue for water ratepayers, and a political issue, as well as an open space issue since Godfrey would have ratepayers cover the cost of building out the east bench. And it's certainly interesting, issue-selling news.

But most all of what Charles wanted to talk about with me was how astute he is, about his years of training, and how nobody fools him, plus lots of other tips about his abilities.

I was left feeling that I was simply dealing with a self-absorbed, lazy, incurious person, as well as a person who views anybody with contempt who simply raises a concern about the mayor actions and policies. You see, raising a concern with Trentleman seems both an affront to him (because you imply he does not know something) as well as proof you are a brick thrower (if you question the mayor's actions.)

I remember over the years the time when I saw Trentleman sent to cover a story - and he spent the evening outside chumming with young skateboarders and other fun people. Then, a day or two later there appeared an article written by a him - by a man who never set foot in the meeting.

Professional journalist? Professional anything? Or just a guy who works for people who buy ink by the barrel.

As far as what he thinks of people who question (not bash, question) Godfrey, here's what he said to me.

"Really, surrounded by people like all of you, we can't win."It's the first time in my life somebody has said that I was someone with whom we can't win.

I have to say, I don't think he's correct. But I do feel the paper needs to find another reporter - one with some curiosity, humility, and work ethic relating to his job.

His last sentence was,

"Give it up, OK?"Now you know what he really thinks. OK Charles. Will do.

Marion said...


I had the same impression with Mr. Trentelman a couple of years ago when I encountered him at a civic function. Very full of himself and not much interested in anything anyone else said that might not dove tail with what he was already thinking. A real prima donna and legend in his own mind. My over all impression was of a big fish in a small pond. He does however have some story telling talent, especially when compared to the other reporters at the Standard that are for the most part lacking in that department. My companion for the evening, who knows Mr. Trentelman, said a sure way to get rich would be to buy him for what he is worth and sell him for what he thinks he is worth! As the evening wore on I came to realize the truth in that joke.

blackrulon said...

It seems that it is not necessary to be curious to have a reporters job at the S-E. Relying on official statements and self serving press handouts now passes for real reporting. The newspaper has vecome another arm of the city governments public affairs office. The only reporting follows information that has been obtained from another source, the SL tribune or the WCF forum. This community deserves better from our local paper. Come on, take a chance on finding out the real stories that impact the community.Serve the interests of all, not just the powererful and well connected.

drewmeister said...

Is anyone really surprised? The S-E has always been godfrey's propaganda machine.
It's a shame there isn't some real print competition to the Gondola Examiner. But there never will be. Even our new "indie" paper is run by city elites with the advice of Don Porter, S-E's most recent mayoral fan-boy. All we can do is wait and pray that 200 morons won't give us a 4th term from this fool.

When the mayor has spoken, the thinking has been done.

Sure, my tapwater might taste like fish, and my water bill has tripled, but we'll soon have a velodrome!

what would jesus say said...

Hell Rudi, It looks like the crooked Utah Real estate center BlogUtah Real estate center Blog has been pilfering stories from your Blog. Word for word. Hmm

RudiZink said...

Plagiarism is the most sincere form of flattery, I guess, to mangle an old folk ax...

what would jesus say said...

Speaking of struggling newspapers. Here is an on line article of some possibilities coming down the road to help save them.

dan s. said...

Geez, where's Curmudgeon when we need him?

Folks, the Standard-Examiner has not yet fallen to the level of a mere advertising circular, nor is it directly controlled by the Godfrey machine. The situation is a lot more complicated than that.

Have you already forgotten the April 5 article in which Schwebke interviewed several Envision Ogden contributors and reported that they'd had no clue that EO was a political organization raising money for candidates? That was good, original news gathering and reporting.

Trouble is, that article got our hopes up, and many of us figured the next article would focus on the big part of the story they hadn't yet covered: The role of the mayor and his administration in helping Envision Ogden raise its money. Then four follow-up articles appeared and none even touched on this angle; all instead dealt with more peripheral tidbits.

At this point I went so far as to use the word "suppress" for what the S-E is doing to the Godfrey-involvement angle. Maybe that's too strong a word; Trentelman and Howell have certainly read more into it than I intended. Howell prefers the term "news judgment". I don't want to argue semantics, but I continue to believe that someone's biases have pushed their coverage away from Godfrey--and that those biases are influenced by the political and business pressures that the S-E is constantly subjected to.

I hasten to add that I have no direct knowledge of how these detailed news coverage decisions get made. My conclusions are vague and inferential. (Ordinarily in a situation like this I'd call the reporter and ask him to explain--but Schwebke has made it abundantly clear, over the years, that he does not welcome my phone calls or share such information.)

The most important point, though, is this: We shouldn't just dismiss the Standard-Examiner and give up on them. These are basically honest people who just happen to be human and fallible like the rest of us. Their weaknesses are not the result of overt conspiracy and cast-in-stone policy. Even a small new development could prompt them to reevaluate their decisions and suddenly start writing about something they didn't consider newsworthy before.

dan s. said...

By the way, I can't help but wonder what the Standard-Examiner would have done in December 2007 if I and others hadn't more or less given up on them.

Now, with 20/20 hindsight, I realize that I should have pushed them to look into the mysterious FNURE contributions that had just appeared on the disclosure statements filed by Johnson and Eccles. At the time, though, I was so disgusted with their election coverage, and their refusal to look into Envision Ogden, that I assumed they would have zero interest in FNURE.

Maybe I was right, but I'm not at all sure and it would have been worth a try.

Moroni McConkie said...

I'm no fan of the S-E's insipid Godfrey-worship editorial policy, but I admire Trentelman for what I saw, at least, as his leading the charge on the new veterans home.

A couple of years ago when the double-crossing state legislature backed out at the last moment on the vets' home in favor of a cash-guzzling soccer stadium, Trentelman's inspiration to have the veterans play soccer was IMHO brilliant.

Like any good reporter, Trentelman has made everyone mad at one time or another, but then you'll read his next column a few days later and you have to applaud and be grateful for his advocacy on one public issue or another. As for the ego, name any sports hero or elders quorum president who isn't worse.

ozboy said...


Enough of this sports and MoMo bashing!

I can name you many individuals who are both sports stars and elders club president who are ego free:

Try Thurl Bailey and Matt Godfrey just for starters. Ain't an arrogant bone in either one!

Arlene said...


You may be right on Bailey, but I think you miss the mark on Godfrey. From what I have seen the mayor is pretty full of hubris, and just what sport do you think he is a star of?

Andy Howell should resign! said...

Andy Howell should resign from the Standard Examiner.

When corruption is more than exposed the Standard Examiner has a duty to be a check and balance on the government.

But then again who am I kidding. He is one of the republicans that is part of the culture of corruption.

ozboy said...


I will have you know that the Lil Lord is a world class "athlete" in several fields. For starters he is an Olympic class liar, international star in smoke screen setting, and nationally famous for his incredible incompetence.

I hope that satisfies your natural nay sayer tendencies.

Curmudgeon said...


You wrote: Geez, where's Curmudgeon when we need him? Off at the Seat of Government, Serving The Public. [Geez, I go out of town for three lousy days, and things get way out of hand....]

Since we seem to be on the general topic of what the SE needs, let me put in my two cents worth: What the SE needs is a Paul Rolly. It's Rolly who often asks the pointed snide but biting little questions of officeholders that, perhaps, absent substantial supporting evidence, the main paper could not directly ask itself. If we had a Paul Rolly on the SE, I can't believe he wouldn't have written, shortly after Sneek Peek, something like this: "The City of Odgen opened the city's mega million dollar playground, the Junction, to a private group for a fund raiser last weekend. [Rumor has it the funds will be used to elect Mayor Friendly council members in the coming election.] And yet, when asked, Ogden City officials would not --- or could not --- produce the contract between Envision Ogden and Ogden City for the event. Surely the City wasn't carrying the liability for the fund raiser, was it? So, Mr. Mayor, where's the contract? It's a public document, so why hasn't it been produced? Inquiring minds want to know...." But we have no Paul Rolly on the SE. We should. [I like Rolly... but then being a Yellow Dog Democrat I would. He and Robert Kirby are two of the reasons I read the Trib. But it was a better column when Rolly wrote half of it and the other half was written by his Republican co-columnist [I forget her name] who specialized in asking similarly pointed, and sometimes embarrassing, questions of Democratic officials.]

ozboy said...

Mr. Curmudgeon

I agree completely on your evaluation of what the Standard needs. If I had a suit, and was from Sandusky, I would be beating a path to your door with an offer to take the position. Don't be holding your finger in your butt till that happens however cause it just might grow there. Neither the Suits or handy Andy seem to fully grasp the Ogden scene and just what they need to succeed here. They appear to be just hanging on as they slowly drift toward full on advertising circular status. Tomato's, Avocado's, ripe Banana's anyone?

By the way, Rolley's past foil's name is JoAnn Jacobsen Wells. Very perky and talented writer. Twas a shame the Trib lost her. As I recall, she always included her maiden name "Jacobsen" as a tribute to her father who was a WWII hero. I think he may have been in the Bataan Death march, but not sure on that.

Curmudgeon said...


Rolly & Wells. Of course. Thanks.

And for the compliment, but Oz, I am not now, nor have I ever been a columnist or [since college anyway, and the paper we put out used a hot-lead Lynotype setter, which should give you an idea of how long ago that was] a newspaper man. They need a pro.

Wonder what Holly Mullen is doing these days....

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