Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Pure poppycock, Ostrich style

We don’t know if we’re watching the collapse of The Ostrich or not, but we certainly are getting a lesson in the self-deception that both it’s readers and the editors have practiced for years.

The tributes have been ‘pouring in’ for Jim McCarthy, the now departed former managing editor and more recently, opinion editor.

On Friday, John Rensenbrink, retired Bowdoin Prof, and founder, I believe, of the Maine Green Independent Party, offered his praises of McCarthy:

As a reporter, as managing editor, and as the editor of the editorial page, he has shown himself to be a person of great integrity, kindness, patience and insight. Jim has an intuitive feeling for justice and truth, and for relating to people in a manner that respects who they are.

No one will be surprised to hear that John and Jim are on the same wavelength, more or less, which is not in the same frequency spectrum as mine.  That said, there are some statements that should not be left unchallenged, and this is one of them.

We have written in recent months about McCarthy’s publishing of patently obvious wild claims in reader offerings, most likely because they agreed with his ideological bent.  We further reported how we caught him lying to us on having vetted the material.  It’s obvious to this writer that McCarthy only pulled out the wire brush when it was needed to challenge a position he didn’t care for.  Like some of ours.

This hardly speaks to integrity, if you’ll pardon the notion.

But that’s nothing new for The Ostrich.  Not too many years ago, a prior opinion editor accepted an award for an opinion piece she didn’t write, and when we called her on it, she accused us of nit-picking an award winning newspaper, in so many words.

So we say poppycock to you, Professor!

Moving on, how many times have you watched a professional sports team owner make a public appearance to claim that Joe Schlepp is our coach through thick or thin, only to fire the guy before the week is out?

I was reminded of that phenomenon when I read another piece in Friday’s edition, entitled “Hard truth.”  In it, Ostrich editors (or the publisher??) come clean, at least as they see it.

They are truly ashamed for being delinquent on their property taxes, as this humble apology shows:

While we might be slow about it,  The Times Record pays tens of thousands of dollars in property and business taxes annually to support local government. No other  newspaper or media entity does so.

As good journalists know, you should always be sincere, whether you mean it or not.  And a little pride in your humility only adds to the luster.

Overall, the item combines the obvious realities with a good measure of chest beating about their undamaged self-esteem.  I particularly liked the closing lines:

We’re in this together. We remain committed to serving the Mid-coast region to the full extent of our resources and abilities.

Memo to Ostrich editors: we take exception to the notion that ‘we’ are in this together.  You declined to extend our subscription without timely payment, even though as taxpayers we continued your full slate of municipal services without timely payment of your taxes.

The sentence following that is a case study in self-serving double-speak and ambiguity.

Well as they say, consider the source.

And poppycock again.


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