Sunday, June 27, 2010

Standard-Examiner Editorial: Our View: Don't Waste $50,000

A good example of how a newspaper can editorially dissemble in the service of office-holders

By Curmudgeon

The Standard Examiner has up an editorial this morning morning that provides a good example of how, by carefully applied vagueness, a paper can editorially dissemble in the service of office-holders --- in this case, Mayor Matthew Godfrey:
Our View: Don't Waste $50,000
The editorial opposes Ogden City spending $50K to study winter sports in Mt. Ogden Park. And whose idea was that foolish idea which the SE sensibly opposes? The Editorial Board doesn't want to tell us. From the editorial:
"Spending $50,000, or a similar sum, to study how to bring winter sports activities to the Ogden course is wasteful idea.
We don't blame brainstormers for wondering if winter activities there could bring in money but don't spend large amounts of money to determine what's already obvious after a little thought....

We appreciate the work the mayor, city council and others have done to try to find ways to make Mount Ogden Golf Course less disastrous to city finances.

We encourage officials to keep working on ideas that have a reasonable chance of success."
So, who came up with the idea? The editorial speaks only vaguely of "brainstormers" and "officials." True, once it lauds "the mayor, the city council and others" for work they've already done to improve the course's finances. But no hint for readers of where the $50K study nonsense came from.

Unless of course those readers happen to recall a story the SE did on this by Scott Schwebke which made no bones about whose idea it was. Here's the headline and lead on that story, which the SE ran on 16 June, only ten days ago:
Ogden mayor proposes $50,000 study of golf course ---OGDEN -- Mayor Matthew Godfrey is proposing to spend up to $50,000 to study the implementation of winter sports activities at financially troubled Mount Ogden Golf Course.
Not anonymous "brainstormers" or anonymous "officials." Not "the mayor and city council and others." The Mayor. Period.

Don't the members of the SE's editorial board read their own newspaper? And if they do, why the mincing editorial tip-toeing around what their own paper reported prominently just ten days ago: this turkey of an idea was the Mayor's.

Nor will readers learn from the editorial that the City Council cut the Mayor's suggestion from the City's budget just last week. How do I know? Why, I read it in the Standard Examiner one week ago:
Although Godfrey got what he wanted regarding the garages, his requests for $1 million in future capital improvement funds for construction of a velodrome and field house along with $50,000 in BDO lease revenues for a winter activities study at Mount Ogden Golf Course aren't included in the city council's proposed budget.
So while we can all approve the good sense of the SE Editorial Board in recognizing the foolishness of spending $50K to study sledding in Mt. Ogden Park, I can't help wondering why the Editorial Board went to such lengths to conceal the facts reported in its own paper: (a) the proposal was the Mayor's, and (b) the City Council wanted nothing to do with it and sensibly excluded it from the budget it passed last week. The dissembling turned what could have been, should have been, a hard-hitting editorial about wasteful spending, targeting the elected official who proposed it, into mush wrapped in cotton wool criticizing only un-named "officials," "brainstormers" and "others."

Wimpy work, guys. Wimpy work.

9 comments:

OgdenLover said...

Once again, the SE parrots the Mayor's contention that MOGC loses $300K/year. Say a lie often enough and people accept it as fact.

Smudge said...

My best guess is the author did not want to directly criticize the mayor because the mayor has a reputation for going after the people who oppose him or publicly humiliate him. Mayor Godfrey will vindicate blows to his ego any way he can if the injury is deep enough.

Hindman said...

Does anyone know exactly how I can go about obtaining a true financial accounting of the MOGC since Godfrey became mayor?

ozboy said...

Ogden Lover

The phenomena you describe was articulated in 1925 by none other than Adolph Hitler in his book "Mein Kampf". He called it the "Big Lie"

Although the concept was originally directed at the Jewish populations, the propaganda minister of the Third Reich - Joseph Goebbels - put to big use by the Nazi gang in their vilification of the Jews and the conquest of Europe.

Matt Godfrey has also become a master of the technique.

Dan S. said...

Excellent analysis, Curm.

Meanwhile, I wonder when the editors will take a position on the velodrome. It's common for them to take positions on little stuff while remaining silent on the big issues.

Wimps indeed.

David S said...

I raised the issue of the road at the top of 27th being blocked.

According to city engineering, they are doing work in the area related to water.

This is the reason I was given.

If the goal is to block access to Taylor Canyon, they are not disclosing. The engineer told me I could park and walk around the road closed signs.

Curmudgeon said...

Comment bumped to front page

donk said...

Curm, as the Journalism Guru for WCF you have once again hit the nail on the head. Certainly, the Standard leaves much to be desired but this is one of those occasions when we might cut them a little slack. As Smudge put it, crossing the Mayor is an editorial no no and rarely productive. Sure, they could have named the Mayor and in fact did so in an earlier article. The Mayor knows, the editor knows and we know who was fronting another wasted $50K of public money. Nuff said, but hang in there Curm you're wearing the buggers down.

donk said...

Hindman asked.....

Does anyone know how I can go about obtaining a true financial accounting of the MOGC since Godfrey became mayor?

I don't have a clue and I've wondered many times about the same thing. No question, this should be public knowledge but won't happen with the little dick tatter in power.

If anyone has a right and a need for this information it is the City Council. The Council has set goals for correcting MO's financial problems and the first priority should be an audit of the books.

If any of Godfreys numbers are correct I'll be surprised. How about an email writing campaign suggesting to the Council that it would make sense to know the facts before they tackle a fix.

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