Sunday, May 24, 2009

Keillor: London Newspaper's Dogged Exposé the Best Show in Town

This holiday Sunday morning, maybe Keillor's column should be on the Standard-Examiner editors' reading list

By Curmudgeon

Many here [myself among them] have complained about the Standard-Examiner's curious unwillingness to report on [much less investigate or take an editorial stand on] how Envision Ogden was allowed to use the taxpayer-funded [and at the time, taxpayer owned] The Junction to stage it's "Sneak Peek" political fund-raiser [some of which funds went to support the re-election of Mayor Godfrey and some of his pet council candidates]. As one poster here put it, "who gave Envision Ogden the keys to The Junction?" Damn good question. The SE has not reported on the matter, or even so far as we know bothered to ask the Godfrey administration to produce a copy of the contract --- there must have been a contract, right? --- between Envision Ogden and Ogden City covering use of The Junction for the fund-raiser.

And the SE's editors have bemoaned [in several columns] the fate of daily newspapers and dicey future of the business, and the danger to republican government if the daily press goes under. [True enough.]

Well, the editors of the SE might want to take a look at Garrison Keillor's column this morning's SL Trib.. It's about how the London press forced the resignation of the Speaker of the House of Commons [first time in three centuries] by uncovering a financial scandal and cover-up at the House of Commons.

House members who do not live in London can be reimbursed for expenses ""wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred to enable you to stay overnight away from your main home." What London's Daily Telegraph discovered was that House members were charging the ratepayers

2,000 pounds for a 37-inch high-def plasma TV set; 1,625 pounds for a garden table, chairs and parasol; 7,000 pounds for a new kitchen; 519.31 pounds for a week at the Bide-A-Wee holiday cottage; 100 pounds to remove moles from a garden; 725 pounds for a cherrywood mirror; 600 pounds for the removal of wisteria; 2,200 pounds for the cleaning of a moat; 2,000 pounds to repair a pipe under a tennis court; 5,700 pounds for a portico; 115 pounds for a handyman to come and change light bulbs . And, Keillor continues, the paper kept after the story -- "on and on it went, day after day, a tide of savory details."

What was the result of all this, besides forcing the Speaker to step down for attempting to hide what was going on? Keillor nails it:

The other part of the story is that Telegraph sales are up by 10 percent, which is one answer to the question all newspapers are asking these days. If you print stuff that people are avid to read, they will buy your paper, and there is nothing people love more than to savor the embarrassment of the high and mighty. Which makes the Standard Examiner's curious aversion to covering the Envision Ogden "Sneek Peek" political fundraiser at the public-financed and public-owned The Junction all the more remarkable. Perhaps a paper that partook a bit more of the Progressive era "muckraking" tradition would not only serve its readers better, but count more northern Utahns among them.

The SE is on my daily reading list, first thing every day. This holiday Sunday morning, maybe Keillor's column should be on the SE editors' reading list. First thing.


Ozboy said...

Mr. Curmudgeon

I had the same reaction this morning when I read Keillor's column. I was going to copy it and send it to Handy Andy and the other Suits of Sandusky in case they had not read it already. Now I won't have to as I think there is a good chance they will read your post above and get the message.

I doubt they will see it the same way we do however. In my opinion they just don't have the guts or the integrity to tell the truth about the Lil Lord and his sycophantic minions - as some advertise in the Standard. They obviously fear the potential financial repercussions the truth will have on them because of the real estate and other business interests that are aligned with the Godfreyite movement. This will most likely play a bigger part in their thinking than a maybe circulation increase that the truth in Ogden politics policy would have.

info mole said...

"I'm low paid, but influential. Therefore, part of my pay is influence. Therefore, if I kiss up to the powers that be so they throw me treats (invitations, small bribes, flattery) that is how I'm supposed to augment my pay. Heaven forbid I would bite the hand that grafts me."

Recently found news reporter's creed, in the files of the Standard Examiner.

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