Sunday, February 27, 2011

Salt Lake Tribune: Socrates a Fine Mascot for Utah’s GOP

"It is a good idea to follow the Creed of the Chicago News Bureau: If your mother says she loves you, check it out." - George Pyle

By Curmudgeon

There's an interesting op-ed column up over on the SL Trib website this morning [and in the dead tree edition]. It's by George Pyle, a Trib Editorial Board member, and it takes Rep. Stephen Sandstrom to task for recommending Socrates as a good role model for Utah legislators because he was an advocate of democratic government and the rule of law. [He was neither]:
It's a chewy column, well worth a read, but what caught my eye in particular was this: In evaluating Sandstrom's claims, Pyle says, "it is a good idea to follow the Creed of the Chicago News Bureau: If your mother says she loves you, check it out."

Occurred to me it might be a good idea for the SE's news editors and political reporters to put that --- "If your mother says she loves you, check it out" --- on a sticky note on their laptops and refer to it any time they're tempted to report a public official's --- any public official's --- press release or speech or claims of any sort without fact-checking them first.

Just a suggestion....


ozboy said...

Great catch Mr Curmudgeon

I read that editorial and got a big laugh out of it. I especially liked the idiocy of the Republican legislator promoting the idea that Socrates was a great example of a democratic thinker. This is so typical of the faux intellectuals that get elected to the Utah State Legislature. Most of them have no idea how utterly stupid they really are.

Also liked the line from the Chicago News about checking out the truth of anything your mother tells you! My thoughts went immediately to how awfully dismal Schwepke and the Standard are when it comes to never verifying the truth of any statement made by Godfrey and his circle of empty suits. I believe that the Standard is completely failing the citizens of Ogden by allowing the mayor to be such a serious serial liar. A great deal of the blame for the hundred million in Godfrey debt that rests on the backs of all Ogden tax payers lies squarely on the shoulders of this incompetent and dishonest Ohio cabal that owns and controls the Standard.

Curmudgeon said...

While I know we agree that the SE has not been as aggressive as it should be vetting the claims of elected officials, I think, Oz, that newspapers [sadly] do not have the kind of impact you think they do. As the editors noted, using the last election as an example, every candidate the SE endorsed with an R after his or her name won, and every candidate the SE endorsed with a D after his or her name lost. Seems clear what mattered most was party affiliation, not the paper's stand.

Fact is, most people no longer get either their news or their commentary/opinion reading from newspapers. They get it from radio, TV [increasingly cable], and the internet where they can be certain to get only information and opinion that already agrees with what they already think, if they like. And a depressing number of them do like. [On the left and on the right. A liberal who reads only Daily Kos would not be well informed, nor would a Rethuglican who watches only Glen Beck.]

So whatever we might think about the acuity of the SE's city politics coverage, I think you've assigned the paper too much responsibility for how people vote, and what policies get adopted. I suspect the SE's editors and its publisher would love to have the kind of influence you ascribe to them. But they don't.

ozboy said...

Well Mr. Curmudgeon, You are most likely right about the overall influence of the Standard on the election process.

However, my point is much simpler. I believe that if the Standard had covered Godfrey with any competence and due diligence, if they had verified his numerous claims and representations over the years and published the discrepancies therein, that Mr. Godfrey would not be mayor today. He most likely would not have squeaked out his last narrow election victory, or the one before that. In that sense I believe the Standard is partially responsible for the massive debt the citizens of Ogden are now burdened with as a result of the seemingly endless string of mayoral lies and manipulations.

constructivist said...

I must agree with Oz. It's a simple matter of fact checking claims, this is the job of a real reporter. They are supposed so seek out the truth and report it to the people. Keep the opinion on the last two pages.

I would really like to ask Godfrey why he gutted downtown and put up a bunch of poorly designed, both aesthetics and in function, junk? What was the point? Who got paid?

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