Posts Tagged ‘The Newark Advocate’

Super Dupe-er

October 30, 2020

            10-29-20 The Los Angeles Times headlined: Pebble Mine developer promised riches, but expects $1.5-billion subsidy from Alaskans (Richard Read). The story is full of the to-be-expected tales of political intrigue, corruption and environmental concerns that Ohioans have become accustomed to, locally with Larry Householder and HB6. But there is another aspect of the LA Times article which strikes closer to the heart of what is taking place in downtown Newark, something which informs analogously. It is important to note that, before diving into the unseemly details of all the intrigue, corruption, and environmental gore, Read does lay out the facts (guileful as they may be). “The company seeking to develop Pebble Mine in the headwaters of Bristol Bay has long promised that the controversial project would bring Alaska jobs, economic growth and tax revenue. But newly released undercover videos made by an environmental advocacy group show that Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. expects a massive state subsidy for the giant mine. In the recording, Ronald Thiessen, the chief executive, tells environmental activists — who are posing as potential investors — that the company plans to raise $4 billion from investors and secure another $1.5 billion from the state. He also says that if a federal permit under the Clean Water Act is denied for the copper and gold mine, his company will try to claim hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation from the U.S. government. “In our view it’s a ‘taking,’ an expropriation,” Thiessen says. “And if it’s determined to be a taking by the courts, we expect compensation.” The recordings were released Thursday by the Environmental Investigation Agency, which made them in August and September by duping company executives.” Two days prior the LA Times article Kent Mallett, for the Advocate, headlined: NDP leaders hopeful Arcade restoration project can secure ‘critical’ tax credits (10-27-20) which was a practically verbatim article written by him and published on 6-29-20 (Arcade renovation project could cost $15 million, needs tax credits). Along with the to-be-expected falderal of Arcade history, what is being uncovered, etc., both articles include the somewhat official looking economic details of projected sources of income (apartments and store/office rental) as well as the projected cost ($15 million). Neither story provides the crucial tax payer investment – the amount of the projected tax credit, without which all the Newark Development Partners (and city) become quite anxious for the fate of the white elephant they may have forced Tom Cotton to sell. An oversight on the part of Mr. Mallett? Doubtful. It is sad that Borat style guile would be needed to reveal the amount that the NDP is anticipating. Like the Pebble Mine enterprise, the Arcade project is relying on tax payer investment in the form of tax credits (money paid to the owner/developers – NDP). Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. anticipates tax payer investment to be approximately 27+% of the total needed. The same percentage calculated on NDP’s Arcade project would yield around $4+ million. Will we ever know? Will someone need to be duped to find out? Given the ditto articles by The Advocate (almost exactly 4 months apart), is someone perhaps already being duped?

Remember The Alamo

January 6, 2020

From the 1-5-20 Newark Advocate editorial (Our view: Local news is critical for a thriving Licking County, The Advocate Editorial board):

“As The Advocate celebrates its bicentennial in 2020, we felt it was appropriate to tout the importance of having a hometown news organization. It is especially important given the state of the news business.”

“The reasons for the decline of newspapers are many and extend far beyond the borders of Licking County. For example, classified revenue was decimated by the emergence of online sites like Craigslist, Cars.com and others.”

“While probably not a shocking stance for a newspaper editorial board to make, we believe the existence of local newspapers is vital to the health of a community. Local newspapers share what is going on at your schools, your City Councils and in your neighborhoods.

At its best, journalists hold those in power accountable and give voice to the disenfranchised. While pressing community leaders is not always popular, it does serve an important purpose. As has been said for ages, “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.” If politicians knew their actions would go unreported, we believe they would be far less responsive to the electorate.

“Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it,” Thomas Jefferson wrote to John Jay in 1786.

Locally, if The Advocate didn’t dedicate so many stories to the plight of area homeless, would the community have responded in such an aggressive way to address it? If the Advocate didn’t highlight the misguided effort to raise Newark salaries after an election, would the council have later trimmed those raises?”

“For without The Advocate, who are we to go to? Social media and message boards are great for gossip, but they lack the ability to confirm facts and dispel rumors. In fact social media is increasingly being used to spread misinformation.”

Analysis finds it to be of the utmost significance that the day after the paper copy of this editorial was disseminated, the “local news” in central Ohio was the closing of the Dispatch printing facility on the west side of Columbus (with the loss of close to 200 jobs). Gannett, the owner of The Advocate and new owner of The Dispatch, has moved the operation to its facility in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Wolf family (which also owned WBNS) sold The Dispatch to Gatehouse Media which last year sold it to Gannett. Astute readers will recall that Gannett closed its Newark printing facility (next to its now “for sale” downtown Newark office building) with a substantial loss of jobs, opting to sub contract the production of the paper newspaper to the Dispatch west Columbus printing facility. At the same time, Advocate local news acquired a “lag time” which did not permit the reporting of events within 12-16 hours of their occurrence. Because of the correlation of the paper copy with the online copy, items do not appear in a timely manner. Now “Local news is critical for a thriving Licking County” will have to accommodate an even longer “lag time” as it will be printed in another state, an additional 4+ hours drive from Newark. So much for “the importance of having a hometown news organization.” “The reasons for the decline of newspapers are many and extend far beyond the borders of Licking County.” The examples given are the dumb down cliché standards. No mention is made of the corporate greed that claims monopoly ownership of the local without any commitment to that very same local, let alone investment (no physical office, no printing, fewer employees, etc.). The body of the editorial is filled with the self aggrandizing “If politicians knew their actions would go unreported, we believe they would be far less responsive to the electorate.” But what of the corporate authorities who manage the politicians? In spite of the lofty “Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it,” the “hometown news organization” feels free not to report corporate activity which is detrimental to those residing in Licking County. “Locally, if The Advocate didn’t dedicate so many stories” championing the ever growing prosperity of corporate authority then  local residents wouldn’t know they are so well off. Undercover investigative reporting? Not! (Gannett can’t afford to let its own workings be known by its customer base). “For without The Advocate, who are we to go to? Social media and message boards are great for gossip, but they lack the ability to confirm facts and dispel rumors. In fact social media is increasingly being used to spread misinformation.” And the Advocate is complicit in spreading NO Information. As of this posting, no news of Gannett’s closing of the Dispatch printing facility appears on the Advocate online news site.

Downtown Abbey

September 6, 2019

Polarity comes in many shapes and sizes. Some may be completely surprising. One such is this week’s Our View from The Advocate Editorial Board (Our view: Downtown Newark a jewel for the entire community, The Newark Advocate, 9-6-19). A teaser headline for this editorial reads “Our view: Downtown Newark a jewel to be proud of.” The editorial itself is filled with kudos for the hard work, ingenuity and resilience of the downtown business community and “civic” leaders for changing the façade of the Newark courthouse square in a matter of 10 years or so. These are substantiated by “facts” which cannot be dismissed. Analysis found the line, “No longer is downtown simply home to attorneys and government workers as restaurants, shops and even manufacturing have recently opened.” to be disarming, an attempt to “bring us together behind a winning team.” Like a family house where renovations still leave the kitchen as kitchen, bath as bath (with maybe an addition) and rec area as rec, etc., so Newark’s downtown still is focused on the government as county seat (and municipal center). Restaurants are still in the same buildings as before; ditto offices, banks and retail. The editorial hints at the “behind the scenes” SID (Special Improvement District) helping to make it possible with its tax (that it gets to use on itself) and special rent-a-cop for parking enforcement. The board’s view just skims the government money that went into the “federally mandated project to reduce stormwater overflows” but doesn’t go further behind the scenes to expose the publicly funded tax incentives, tax credits and subsidies provided to make the jewel shine. Analysis finds it not to be a case of disparagement but rather an encouragement to point out that a truly great city has a vibrant downtown AND social responsible programs for what the vibrant downtown requires. Polarity need not apply. Newark’s “civic” leaders, unfortunately, prefer the polarity of This or That, but not Both. A city of 50,000+ would have some sort of reliable, fixed schedule, accessible public transportation. Newark has opted to have none with no taxi, fixed bus route, or on demand transportation available. During the jewel’s creation, no affordable housing was ALSO created. Newark’s mayor would prefer that those without a house live outside the city limits. The health department opts to deny the material existence of narcotics addiction through a focus on law enforcement, abstinence, and prevention rather than a hands on approach of a needle exchange and recovery centers. The list continues with community centers (youth as well as seniors), food banks and recreation facilities being mostly marginalized, away from the downtown center; access to which requires some form of transportation. A truly great city is not polarized. It is proud of what it has to offer its business community AND its resident population, BOTH. Newark can do better. What The Advocate editorial board presents is like a made for TV movie, a Downton Abbey of sorts, with its unspoken tale of those who serve and make the manor jewel possible without receiving any due. But then again, a really great city would have a news source that fairly and equally covers the landlords AND the tenants, BOTH.

Knowledge, Preoccupations, And Distractions

August 6, 2019

We all know what the news headlines have been and currently are. Indeed, the saturation point on “the news” must have been reached. The news has again become “the news” (a curious twist of vulture capitalism where the system feeds upon itself!). USA Today headlined: ‘Unbelievable’: New York Times slammed for front page headline after Donald Trump speech (Jordan Culver, 8-6-19). The furor regards the headline (“Trump urges unity vs. racism.”) deceptively portraying the president’s response to tragedy without noting his own implication in the violence (“Very fine people on both sides”). Or at least that is what outrages the critics. The headline gave a synopsis of what occurred (the President’s post massacre address). Isn’t that the stuff of newspapers and the media? The critics insist on context (What implicates Donald Trump in the killings while cloaked in official immunity). The context of this news story being “the news” is likewise not given. 8-5-19 The Wall Street Journal (amongst others) reported: GateHouse Media Parent to Buy Gannett for $1.4 Billion Deal combines largest owner of U.S. newspapers by titles and the largest newspaper group by circulation (Cara Lombardo, Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg). Who’s their competition? Who’s the competition in Ohio? Gatehouse will now control just about ALL the local news services in Ohio, including Newark and Columbus (Gatehouse already owns The Dispatch while Gannett owns the Newark Advocate and papers in surrounding towns). Monopoly will dictate where we pay attention (i.e., on the NY Times’ headline). Already there is no local “office” of Newark’s only local news service. Now all editorial decisions re: content and layout will ultimately be located outside the community ostensibly covered. Benjamin Lanka may be “the editor” of The Newark Advocate. Readers can’t help but notice how many stories have his name in the byline as the reporter. Too much time on his hands? Justifying the management paycheck? Analysis finds that when it comes to big services, big news items, readers and subscribers of Gatehouse publications will be more than adequately served. As we see with the Murdoch family’s Fox News (and News Corp which includes Wall Street Journal), the product and service will be supplied with priority given to brand over content. Analysis shows the local will become fluff, filler (Newark is a top Ohio hometown, Newark is addressing what civic leaders deem to be problems, the need for more development, etc.). Just as there are no longer any local phone calls (all require an area code designation), so there will no longer be any local news, local investigative reporting, local interest stories, unless it will tie in with the corporate brand emphasis. The reporting will no longer go where the story takes us but where the brand requires us to be. Analysis finds this to further indicate the encroachment of authoritarianism in a culture with a history of democracy. Hong Kong isn’t an island of enlightenment. In a Democracy, the local authorizes the city, state or nation. In an authoritarian nation, state or city, the authorities determine the local, what it should think, believe and focus on, what it should know. News media monopolies evidence that trend.

Oh How Time Does Tell

June 7, 2019

This past week’s news witnessed the 75thanniversary commemoration of the D-Day invasion of Europe which precipitated the end of WWII. Along with the speeches by world leaders, and the interviews and stories of the dwindling number of surviving participants, were the archival records of the beach carnage and the iconic image of the landing craft overcrowded with GI’s opening its doors unto the gates of hell. Flying under the radar was the announcement by cleveland.com: New Ohio bill takes shot at employers who want workers vaccinated (Laura Hancock, 6-3-19). “House Bill 268 allows people to sue employers if their employment is affected by their lack of vaccinations. It’s the latest bill in the Ohio General Assembly that gives deference to the theories that immunizations are harmful, amidst a measles outbreak that is in part blamed on people believing misinformation about vaccinations. HB 268 is sponsored by Reps. Ron Hood, a Pickaway County Republican, and Bernadine Kennedy Kent, a Columbus Democrat. “It’s a freedom bill for people who are being coerced into having a vaccination, as a condition of employment,” Hood said. A similar bill has been introduced in the past, but it was only directed at people who refused to get the flu vaccination. HB 268 is for all vaccinations.” For context Hancock later includes: “In March, Ohio Rep. Don Manning, a Mahoning County Republican, introduced a bill that would require school districts to notify parents of how they can keep their child from receiving required vaccinations.” Buried deep in the article is the somewhat provocative, yet insightful: “A George Washington University study found Russian bots exploited the rifts in the American vaccination debate on Twitter – including sending out anti-vax misinformation, according to CBS News.” Also this week, Newark’s Gay Pride event met the authoritarian “keeper of the purse”, Larry Householder, resulting in the cancellation of one of its events by the risk-averse beneficiary of that purse – the Newark Public Library. The Newark Advocate devoted its weekly comment on this news in an editorial entitled Our view: We should be proud of PRIDE in Licking County (6-7-19). The editorial board cements its reasoning with the final lines: “Newark and Licking County should want to be viewed as a community that is welcoming to all. We want businesses to invest here and young professionals to see our area as a desirable place to live. Making it look like our community is intolerant to diversity will not help those efforts.” Excepting the existential alibi – “It was where I found myself at the time” – Analysis can’t help but wonder if those with the slightest ideological reasoning for their participation exited the landing crafts for the definitions of liberty, freedom and responsibility we employ today. Was the “freedom” they were willing to die for “a freedom bill for people who are being coerced into having a vaccination”, or one that was meant to help ensure the overall public good? Entering the gates of hell, did that diverse group of young people “want businesses to invest here and young professionals to see our area as a desirable place to live” or did they risk all because it was the right thing to do?

Faith, It’s Not Just For Old Time Religion Anymore

March 3, 2019

“Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie, and Chevrolet.” What could be more American? Marketing, for one thing. It brought you that jingle which is indelibly etched in the American psyche. Who doesn’t love America? At the recent CPAC convention Dear Leader was photographed hugging the flag on stage by none other than “the enemy of the American people,” the adversarial media. Now THAT’S marketing! The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business offers 31 different individual courses in marketing as well as a whole slew of Logistics classes (actual hands-on how-to). Those following a business calling can achieve an undergrad degree as well as masters or doctorate along with continuing ed. In a weird, obtuse kind of way it could be likened to Divinity courses and degrees offered at other schools. One thing is for sure. Marketing, as a solution offered by studied and degreed academics, does not share the same reception as the global warming research and findings offered by their academic colleagues. Non-science trumps science, at least in terms of faith based studies. Which brings us back to the CPAC conference at which Dear Leader gave a Fidel Castro style speech (Donald Trump Thrills CPAC Crowd with Record-Long Speech Lasting Over Two Hours, Breitbart, 3-2-19). Cuba’s ruling party press likewise celebrated Fidel’s lack of brevity. “Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie, and Chevrolet.” ‘Nuff said. In GOP governed Newark/Licking County, the last part of that marketing jingle is the solution to the lack of affordable, accessible and reliable public transportation. “Need to get to work? Buy a car.” Which translates into “Need money to buy a car? Go to work.” Ya gotta love marketing solutions which, like religious solutions, take a lot of faith to deal with the built-in logistical paradox. With this week’s forecast severe weather, The Advocate marketed hand wringing concern by pre-emptively revisiting the homeless “problem” with an integrated appeal to community planned solutions. The usual alibis were presented along with the equally staged marketing embrace of the need to “find a solution”; not so much create a solution as to recognize a marketing opportunity. Marketing relies on need, in the absence of which desire will suffice. In the absence of which, desire can be created. Now that’s marketing. Of course, certain needs have no redeemable value in the service of marketing. No matter their great need, the folks devastated by Hurricane Michael across the Florida panhandle are still looking for relief. Marketing fails them totally. In Licking County/Newark ditto is found with regards to public transportation, affordable housing, food scarcity, drug addiction in conjunction with public health, and other community (public) “needs.” Though the need is enormous, there is no money to be made addressing these needs (let alone desire, or need to create desire!). Along with Dear Leader’s PDA (flag hug), and “Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie, and Chevrolet.” the recent GOP CPAC convention was a superbly marketed embrace of contemporary challenges as marketing opportunities. This faith based “flag embrace” accompanies that of their Divinity school brethren. Analysis recalls W’s response shortly after 9/11, something along the lines of of “Go out and buy a Chevrolet.” Years later economists gave the alibi for the Great Recession as when consumers lose faith and stop buying, the economy falls into recession. Faith, it’s not just for old time religion anymore.

The Girl Next Door

August 5, 2018

Absent (again) from any coverage in the August 5, 2018 Newark Advocate was any news of the big event held the previous day in Genoa township (home of Newark’s former US congressman, Pat Tiberi). That evening the POTUS came to the area to hold one of his massive campaign rallies. This one was to stump for the GOP candidate anointed to fill the vacancy left by Mr. Tiberi. Multiple national media sources provided coverage. Analysis even found photos of the “faceless majority” provided by Jeremy Pelzer of cleveland.com (Here’s who we saw at Donald Trump’s Ohio rally, 8-4-18). Image perusal left one with a déjà vu all over again sensation; retro in the sense of being overwhelmed into the era and culture surrounding the origins of Hugh Hefner and the phrase “the girl next door.” Only lending credence to the creation myth was the remarkable double take of the POTUS on stage before the adulating crowd, face covered in sweat, bearing an uncanny resemblance to “The King” in his white rhinestone encrusted jumpsuit, also covered in sweat surrounded by adoring fans. Speaking of “The King,” that was likewise part of the news explosion during this same period (also not covered by Newark’s hometown media outlet). The Prez tweeted derisively about LeBron James, somewhat unexpectedly as in the past he has only had all good things to say (or tweet) about his equal, er, fellow millionaire (Donald Trump has repeatedly made it clear he has no equal). But then again, no surprise there as King James said the President was a bit divisive in a recent interview with CNN’s Don Lemon.  The Pres doubled down on his derogatory diatribe (tweet) according to one of the coverage articles of the Delaware rally by The Hill’s Morgan Gstalter (Trump: I ‘destroy’ careers of Republicans who say bad things about me, 8-4-18). Gstalter witnesses, and writes “”I only destroy their career because they said bad things about me and you fight back and they go down the tubes and that’s OK,” he [Donald Trump] added.” From the Pelzer cleveland.com article: “Philip said he and his 7-year-old son Thomas drove from Indianapolis just to attend the rally and “show support” for the president. Asked why he supports Trump, Philip said, “He says what he thinks. I mean, he’s really blunt and to the point.” Thomas chimed in: “And he’s kind of funny, too!”” James Alicie and Richard M Birchfield were pictured wearing identical “I’d rather be a Russian than Democrat” Tee shirts. “The two friends from the city of Delaware said they came out to the rally because they’ve never seen a president in person before. Asked about their shirts, Alicie (left) said he didn’t understand why Trump is getting so much criticism about Russia when Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama weren’t similarly scrutinized. Asked what he would tell Democrats, Alicie said, “To jump on board this train and give him a chance.”” Given half the chance, being OK to destroy someone because they said “bad things” is just a hop and a skip from destroying someone because they disagree with you. Gstalter shows just that by elucidating the various human detritus left in the wake of the President’s policy (after all, careers are human aspirational characteristics). Analysis finds it to be a slippery slope to eventually simply justifying the destruction of those who disagree with the central authority, who in this case happens to be the POTUS; something found in totalitarian regimes like Russia. Sigh. The imperative becomes one of only having all good things to say about “the girl next door.” Failing that, Analysis concludes the choice becomes “the girl next door,” or no girl at all.

 

Not Worthy

July 12, 2018

July 12, 2018. Not appearing as news in the Newark Advocate today would be the news about John Schnatter (a perversion of Wayne’s World “not worthy”). You remember John, founder of Papa John’s (the one time official pizza of the NFL). He stepped down as Chairman of the Board of the company he founded (and still owns majority of the stock). Eh, just another case of whiteness in America, nothing to note (“not worthy”). But wait, there was a prequel to this episode. From the 12-21-17 Washington Post business section  Marwa Eltagouri headlined: Papa John’s founder will step down as CEO after criticizing national anthem protests in the NFL. “In November, Schnatter sparked outrage by blaming sagging sales at Papa John’s — a top NFL sponsor and advertiser — on the league’s “poor leadership” in response to the demonstrations during the national anthem. He said the practice of players kneeling during the anthem to raise awareness of police brutality and social injustice hurt the NFL’s TV ratings, which in turn hurt sales of his pizza, which is advertised heavily during games. “You need to look at exactly how the ratings are going backwards,” said Schnatter, who donated $1,000 to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. “Last year the ratings for the NFL went backwards because of the elections. This year the ratings are going backwards because of the controversy. And so the controversy is polarizing the customer, polarizing the country.”” Analysis surmises The Newark Advocate doesn’t wish to get involved with polarization when it comes to its customer base, its advertisers (its readers being “not worthy”). But then again “In the days after Schnatter’s remarks, white supremacist publication the Daily Stormer dubbed Papa John’s as the official pizza of the alt-right. Papa John’s spokesman Peter Collins told the Courier-Journal that the company was caught off-guard by the endorsement and condemned “racism in all forms.”” Do tell. Obviously not an advertiser but big news just the same, the huge rally by organized labor at the Ohio statehouse was also deemed “not worthy” by The Newark Advocate. After the financial meltdown at the end of the Bush presidency, multi-employer pension funds were thrown into a tailspin. Wall street got bailed out, as did GM and Chrysler along with farmers. Now the unions, who bargained in good faith with a pension plan as part of their wages, want a fix to the mess the demise of Lehman Bros. left (you remember, John Kasich’s old employer). “Republicans on the [House and Senate Joint Select Committee on the Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans] committee oppose a bailout for the plans, which are essentially private contracts.” “”We don’t want to be bailed out, but we want a little assistance to give us a leg up,” [Dave] Kalnbach [retired ironworker from Michigan] said. “We built America. We built all these buildings.” (Multi-employer pension rally draws thousands to Ohio Statehouse, Jackie Borchardt, cleveland.com, 7-12-18). Elsewhere in the Op Ed section of the same publication Brent Larkin headlines; For Senate hopeful Jim Renacci, Ben Suarez is baggage that will not go away, nor should it (7-12-18). “Suarez was convicted of witness tampering and spent about a year in federal prison.” “A July 6 story by Dayton Daily News reporter Laura Bischoff revealed telephone logs obtained by federal investigators found Renacci and Suarez exchanged more than 40 calls between late 2010 and May 2012. Evidence in Suarez’s 2014 criminal trial showed that in 2011 Renacci wrote a letter to Gov. John Kasich complaining about an investigation into the business practices of Suarez’s company being conducted by the state of California. Renacci’s letter proved profitable.  Days later, checks from Suarez employees were headed to the congressman’s campaign treasury, eventually totaling a reported $100,000.” “Of the 40 or more telephone calls, government exhibit 802 in the Suarez trial shows:

*Eight telephone calls between Renacci and Suarez in the week before the tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions began to arrive.

*A call on the day before Renacci wrote the letter to Kasich.

*Another call within hours after the Associated Press reported on May 21, 2012 that the donations were the subject of a federal investigation.” Larkin’s finale informs The Advocate’s choice for what is news worthy: “Suarez’s sick brand of vigilante justice includes raising money to defeat Dettelbach and Brown. And he’s offering rewards to anyone providing dirt on any of these four targets. Republican David Yost, Dettelbach’s opponent in the contest for attorney general, has already denounced Suarez’s effort, tweeting, “Mr. Suarez was convicted – by a jury of his peers. Politics and retribution have no place in the criminal justice system. This nonsense needs to stop.” Contrast that exercise in honesty with this from Renacci campaign spokeswoman Leslie Shedd: “Both the Obama Justice Department and the FBI conducted a thorough investigation and repeatedly made clear neither Jim Renacci nor his campaign engaged in any improper conduct. This is just another embarrassingly desperate attempt by Sherrod Brown to deceive voters and deflect from his liberal record in Washington.” That’s the new Republican way. When cornered, always obfuscate, mislead, change the subject. And make sure you include at least one mention of Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president.” When the reader is the product and the customer is the advertiser, then, during election years, such news is definitely “not worthy.”

Non News News

June 1, 2018

The end of May saw news affecting the residents of The Newark Advocate’s coverage area. And news not included in this area. The Advocate chose the latter, not bothering with the former at all. Has The Newark Advocate branched out into the business of cultivating mushrooms? The online 6-1-18 Advocate runs a story on “9 new stores to check out at Easton Town Center.” Old timers will recall that at the time of Easton Town Center’s opening, most area business proprietors predicted the decline of the local crown jewel for shopping in Newark/Heath/Granville – Indian Mound Mall. The reader can judge the outcome over the years. The Newark Advocate’s customers are its advertisers. A story on something outside the “news” source’s present coverage area makes excellent business sense. By expanding its coverage area, it can grow its potential customer base. Within the “heirloom” coverage of The Advocate, the Zanesville half marathon received reporting space. Not covered, though encompassing all of The Advocate’s coverage area, was the news that Melanie Leneghan has requested a recount of the May GOP primary results where Troy Balderson (from Zanesville) squeaked out a win by just more than 600 votes (for Pat Tiberi’s 12th congressional seat). The Advocate is quickly becoming like syndicated radio stations pre-programmed to give ostensibly “local news” (the local sports coverage or a local resident’s obituary) while grinding out infomercials 24/7 – all the non news news that’s fit to report (digitally or otherwise).

Subtle Creep

May 2, 2018

In these recent years one often encounters articles and essays suggesting that democracy is on the decline. Could democracy have reached its end? With the various “revolutions” (velvet, orange, etc.) as well as the various “springs” (the Arab spring, etc.), great promise was forecast on behalf of democracy around the world. That all changed with the recent elections, in America and elsewhere. Head scratchers have attributed this to divisive power structures, social media, global technologies, etc. ‘Nuff said. Democracy is suspected of being under siege or threat locally as well as globally. Ever since the collapse of the Berlin Wall in the late 80’s, begrudging accolades have been festooned on the triumph of, not democracy, but capitalism. It has literally become the only game in town. Formally communist or socialist regimes have divested themselves of strict adherence to ideology and become, well, capitalist. Few holdouts remain in the world. “Communist” China is actually a state capitalism. Karl Marx (remember him?) couched much of his prognostication within the logic of dialectic. The online dictionary gives one definition as “inquiry into metaphysical contradictions and their solutions. • the existence or action of opposing social forces, concepts, etc.” It informs this with several examples, one of which is “Hegel applied the term to the process of thought by which apparent contradictions (which he termed thesis and antithesis) are seen to be part of a higher truth (synthesis).” Marx was much taken with Hegel and formulated most of his thought along Hegel’s dialectic. Put crassly, Marx’s dialectic follows the simplistic interpretation that as one aspect increases or grows, another diminishes and dies. This happens at one and the same time. Few who bemoan the demise of democracy, as well as those celebrating the success of capitalism, link the two. After all, western European democracy (which includes the U S) was established by avowed capitalists to function as democracy. So one would think the two would thrive together and be mutually compatible. Wrong. As capitalism succeeds world wide, democracy disappears. The antithesis of capitalism is not communism, but democracy. Case in point would be the recent courthouse lighting for the first Pride event in downtown Newark, Ohio. The back story is that 3 GOP commissioners, Duane Flowers, Rick Black, and forever commissioner Tim Bubb, formulated a strict ideological courthouse lighting policy after receiving a written petition to light the courthouse in rainbow colors for the first Pride event. The policy stipulates 19 colorations with no exception except if the commissioners decide to make exception (outside input excepted). Tim Bubb’s newly renovated courthouse, which includes fully computerized lighting, is now an issue of contention within the county seat. Analysis calls the reader’s attention to the 4-29-18 Newark Advocate Our View, submitted by the “editorial board” (they all sat together in one room and collaborated on the essay? Who wrote it? The reader is to believe that this is “the view” of the corporate entity): “But more importantly, the policy adopted is wrong for the community. The county should have an inclusive policy that allows outside civic organizations and events to petition for the courthouse to be lit in their colors. Such petitions should require those groups to cover the entire cost of programming and operating the lights, whether that’s $100, $1,000 or more.” This resembles a “reasonable” resolution until one does the math – the computerized lighting is already installed and paid for, there are 365 days in the year (not 19), and any teenager who has a smart phone where their hand ought to be could program the lights in less than half an hour. The Advocate’s resolution of this contentious issue embraces the SCOTUS Citizens United ruling whereby corporations are deemed “persons” and money is speech. What else would one expect from Our View’s corporate speak? No, it is a dialectical matter. As the purchase of elected officials and policies becomes more “natural” (capitalism) so the self-governance of the actual living inhabitants by the actual living inhabitants diminishes and dies (democracy).