The “tough work of Ellen Belcher” – you betcha

Straight up- I’m no fan of any members of the Dayton Daily News Editorial board (past or present). After at least 6 or 7 sessions with them (who’s counting anyways) I can tell you, I’ve faced tougher, more insightful questions from school kids.

Ellen Belcher took some of her valuable time and editorial space a few weeks ago to lament on her tough job of screening people for you- so you won’t have to engage your brain:

One task we on the editorial page take seriously is making judgments about people who run for office. Maybe that sounds arrogant. But think about it: How many people have time to make it their job to look into the qualifications and backgrounds of the individuals who decide our tax rates, make our laws and even send people to jail for life?

Do you have time to do that?

Voting requires a certain amount of homework if you’re serious about making informed choices. I’ve made decisions about whom not to vote for based on commercials. But I can’t think of a 30-second spot that has sold me on somebody.

via Ellen Belcher: Us vetting candidates might help you make choices | A Matter of Opinion.

Once again, the Dayton Daily News clearly states that they don’t think you are smart enough to think for yourself- or do the research. Of course, doing the research is incredibly hard using their attempt at “journalism” because of, well, time for the bullet list:

  • The newspaper search tool on their site makes it impossible to do any kind of research on past articles.
  • The content they now publish online and offline don’t match- so it’s really hard for you to quote their quotes- to establish positions of these candidates when push comes to shove.
  • The articles themselves have shrunk in length, and often have to include more background than actual story to make sense- so that you don’t get enough information to make a good decision.
  • Often times political coverage isn’t “Fair” or “Balanced” or even objective- often editorializing- like the accomplishments of Gary Leitzell as Mayor in his first 100 days.
  • The comments, which can often provide additional information- opinion, or insight are unreliable at best (to be valid, or to remain online) thanks to their haphazard management. The 500 word limit tied to “no html” policies limit public discourse on the matters.

As to the actual information the editorial board cares about- the main ones almost always come down to:

  1. Who is endorsing you?
  2. How much money did you raise?

Integrity or ideas be damned. We’ll never see the DDN endorse a maverick, firebrand, or someone who doesn’t color inside the lines- because the editorial board isn’t to be trusted with crayons yet. Their analysis and opinions seem to be rooted in what is safe, trusted, conservative and reads more like a call from central casting for a non-descript actor to put in a position to play a role.

Even when the election of a candidate should have zero tangible outcome on a 5 person body- they will always opt for the closest to “tried and true.” Or what worked before, should continue to work- without ever defining what “work” should “achieve.”

In fact, we ask too little of our candidates, and expect less. That a candidate can even be considered serious without an active blog or social media connection to constituents should be an automatic ding.

Accepting large donations from lobbyists from out of town- should be another- but, alas, I’m wandering now.

Here is the Dayton Grassroots Daily Show discussion- which meanders, as only Greg can, on the subject: Enjoy:

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed! If you wish to support this blog and independent journalism in Dayton, consider donating. All of the effort that goes into writing posts and creating videos comes directly out of my pocket, so any amount helps!