Dennis Kucinich’s Media Fight. w/poll

Via The Nation’s blog:

Ohio voters head to the polls for a primary election Tuesday, and that can mean only one thing: The Cleveland Plain Dealer is griping about Congressman Dennis Kucinich.

The blog goes on to point out that papers (and other media outlets) should be holding politicians to account. Indeed, as written, it would be a good thing to have light shed on many of our political leaders. So, the Cleveland Plain Dealer is just doing it’s job, right?

But the Plain Dealer, the uber-dominant daily newspaper in the city and its suburbs since the folding a quarter century ago of the feisty Cleveland Press, is not exactly holding the congressman to account. Rather, it is looking for every opportunity to put a former mayor, with whom it has sparred for decades, in his place.

Fascinating. The Plain Dealer is an organ of the DNC and DLC! Well…no. They’ve been after Dennis since he was mayor of Cleveland. It’s like a blood feud where only one is going to remain standing.

The Plain Dealer’s distaste for Kucinich is institutional. Since the 1970s, when he was the 31-year-old “boy mayor” of Cleveland, Kucinich has rubbed the city’s economic elites – for whom the Plain Dealer has often served as a friendly newspaper of record – wrong. Kucinich never behaved as the Plain Dealer’s editors expected a mayor to behave. He refused to bend to the demands of the downtown bankers and the corporate CEOs who had gotten used to local officials – Democrats and Republicans – making populist noises but doing as they were told when it came time to choose between the boardrooms of the city’s office towers and the ethnic neighborhoods of the city and its working-class suburbs.

Imagine that! A politician who stands for the citizens of a city gets torn apart by the major media organ of that city. I’m, as the cliche goes, shocked…shocked I tell you. You can guess that Dennis’ refusal to sell the city’s municiple electric utility was the early deal breaker. And just how did the Plain Dealer portray Dennis to it’s workers?

He was ultimately driven from office with a reputation so smeared that, when I arrived in Ohio as a young newspaper reporter in the 1980s, one of the first things I “learned” was that Kucinich was probably a bit unbalanced and certainly “finished forever” in politics.

A bit unbalanced and finished forever in politics? Dream on!

Only after meeting and interviewing the former mayor did I come to the conclusion that what the Plain Dealer and many other Ohio media outlets saw as instability was a rare commodity in that state’s stilted politics: a principled determination to stand against entrenched power, even at great political expense.

The article goes on to state that there’s much to like about the Plain Dealer. Connie Schultz is said to be a powerful journalist. And yet….

But I was always struck by the energy Ohio’s largest newspaper — and other media outlets that followed its lead – always expended when it came to going after Kucinich.

The Plain Dealer said a metaphorical ‘UGH’ about Dennis. I wonder if there are any major ‘progressive’ bloggers who’ve said the same more directly?

Kucinich, it is said in Cleveland, could walk on the waters of Lake Erie and still the Plain Dealer headline would read “Dennis Can’t Swim.” Uninspired primary challengers have still enjoyed friendly coverage – and sometimes enthusiastic endorsements — from the Plain Dealer.

It seems Dennis has a winning record against the Plain Dealer. Perhaps the paper should listen to the voters of Dennis’ district. It won’t happen, but perhaps it should.

The newspaper has not merely endorsed Kucinich’s most prominent opponent, a one-time fan of the congressman named Joe Cimperman, it has taken every opportunity to portray Kucinich – whose passion for all things Cleveland, from polka music to kielbasa to steel factories is legendary — as a flaky foreigner who neither understands nor cares about the city and its suburbs. The paper spills almost as much ink recounting actor Sean Penn’s support of Kucinich than it does on the Hollywood lefty’s movies.

Never mind that challenger Cimperman does not live in Kucinich’s 10th District – the councilman is a resident of Congresswoman Jones’ neighboring district but is Constitutionally permitted to run where he chooses – Kucinich is portrayed as the interloper. “Cimperman cannot vote for himself March 4,” the Plain Dealer admitted in a February 21 editorial that may go down in history as one of the more bizarre arguments ever made by a newspaper on behalf of its endorsed candidate. “But people in the 10th District who want real leadership can vote – for Joe Cimperman.”

Let’s see…the Plain Dealer is supporting a candidate who’s trying to move up from his current elected position. Hmmm? Dennnis ran for President and gets blasted, Joe runs for Congress and gets supported.

“It doesn’t help to have all 435 members of the House be compromisers and negotiators,” argues Applegate. Despite the Plain Dealer’s preaching, the veteran union leader says, “Dennis Kucinich has worked tirelessly for working people, and that is why labor supports him.” Conversely, it is Kucinich’s refusal to compromise that guarantees the Cleveland Plain Dealer will continue to criticize this congressman for so long as his name remains on the ballot.

If you live in OH-10, today’s the day for you to vote. If you are undecided, you can go to his campaign site to see where he stands.  If you support Dennis, you can contribute to his campaign, and you are even able to volunteer for his campaign!  Remember, should Dennis win re-nomination, the Plain Dealer and Cleveland’s establishment will be trying to defeat Dennis in November!

As always,

Go Dennis!

For those of  us on the Left, Dennis is OUR Congressman!

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1 comment

  1. Go Dennis!

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