Good news-bad news Cleveland Plain Dealer headlines

By Chad D. Baus

Over the past weekend, the Cleveland Plain Dealer published two headlines that should catch the attention of pro-gun Ohioans. One offers good news, and the other offers equally bad news.

First, the good news:

Plain Dealer editor [Doug Clifton' retiring; led paper to Pulitzer in '05

    Douglas C. Clifton, editor of The Plain Dealer for nearly eight years and the man credited with elevating its news coverage, ended months of speculation Thursday morning by announcing his retirement.

    He will leave the paper June 1.

    "I've decided to let the cat out of the bag now," he told about 130 staff members who gathered in the newsroom for the 10 a.m. announcement. "I can't tolerate this telling of little white lies."

These are ironic words, coming from the editor of a newspaper that has made regular habit of telling little white lies about law-abiding gun owners, about pending pro-gun legislation, etc.

    Clifton went on to say that his decision had nothing to do with recent buyouts, which left the paper with 64 fewer newsroom employees; the financial challenges facing the business; or the hiring of Publisher Terrance C.Z. Egger, who came to The Plain Dealer in May.

After years of biased, inaccurate, anti-gun reporting under the tutelage of editors like Clifton, the Plain Dealer is far from the only newspaper in the nation facing financial challenges.

Egger is quoted as saying he will choose a successor in the months ahead, searching within and outside the newsroom. His obligation, he says, is to hire the finest successor he can find. "I want to make sure we have the best."

Perhaps Egger could start with finding someone without an anti-gun (or any other) axe to grind. Thanks to new forms of communication, the public no longer has to pay for and stomach biased news reporting in order to find out what is going on in the world. Egger should make plans to ask every applicant he interviews whether they would be more focused on making the newspaper a profitable business, or on promoting personal crusades.

Click 'Read More' for the bad news PD headline...

And now for the bad news:

[Connie] Schultz returning to The Plain Dealer

    Connie Schultz is ready for life to return to normal, whatever that is.

    Not only is she an author and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, she's the wife of the new Democratic senator from Ohio, Sherrod Brown. Combining the two roles could be complicated.

    The task begins today, as Schultz returns to her desk in The Plain Dealer's newsroom, from which she took a leave of absence in February to devote herself to Brown's campaign.

    ...Schultz is not by definition a political writer. She writes a lifestyle column. But there is a gray area where policy and personal problems collide and legislation becomes the stuff of day-to-day living. This has always been Schultz's turf. She encapsulates headline issues of war, poverty and social injustice in 775-word vignettes that provide a microscopic view of how such things affect the most ordinary among us.

    Will she have to pull punches now?

    "There's no party line I have to toe, no pressure from Sherrod" she insisted. "He's never asked me not to write about something and he never would."

Regular readers of this website will recall that Schultz, who had been accused by some Cleveland newspapers of being a mouthpiece for her anti-gun husband long before he became a U.S. Senator, was awarded a Pulitzer prize for, in part, commentary bashing Ohio's Concealed Handgun Licensure law.

Schultz wrote the following commentary just days after Ohio concealed carry became law:

    It seems to me the ones who need protecting aren't the folks who tuck a Glock under their armpit every time they step out to walk the dog or buy a quart of milk. I hate to make assumptions here, but I can't help thinking that folks who carry concealed weapons aren't the ones quoting Gandhi. And if I'm in a store that's about to be robbed, the last place I want to be is between a robber and the Dirty Harry wannabe who's decided to take the perp down.

She's baaaack. And of course she's still wrong. I quite enjoy quoting Gandhi:

'Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest.' Gandhi, in his autobiography, My Experiments with Truth.

Related Stories:
Associated Press awards Cleveland Plain Dealer for anti-CCW reporting

LTE: Pulitzer judges were journalism's second string

More evidence of an ailing Cleveland Plain Dealer

Cleveland Editor Takes Heat for Publishing Gun List

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