Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Mistakes by the Lake

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Mistakes by the Lake

Article excerpt

Cleveland mayor disgraces himself by barring 'The Plain Dealer' from public events - and shows the danger of playing favorites

As a lad, Michael R. White went to Miles Standish Elementary School. As Cleveland's mayor for the past 10 years, White now apparently thinks he owns the public school.

When White scheduled a news conference at the school the other day for the surprise announcement he wouldn't seek an unprecedented fourth term, the mayor invited the public in radio ads and alerted virtually all the news media in northeastern Ohio, except The Plain Dealer. When a reporter and photographer from Cleveland's only daily showed up anyway, White's aides turned them back -- three times in the case of politics reporter Mark Naymik. Later, the mayor's people spotted PD reporter Ebony Reed trying to get in, and barred her.

As bizarre as the mayor's impolitic -- and undoubtedly illegal -- behavior was, it probably didn't surprise E&P readers. In a cover story back on March 19, we reported that White was among the worst of a handful of big-city mayors who treat their city halls, and the public information they generate, as if they were their own tree-house clubs with one rule: Local paper, keep out.

White always has some reason for his unreasoning pique. This time, it was that the PD had not given splashy coverage to a groundbreaking ceremony for a new airport runway. This is a particularly risible excuse given the blanket coverage the paper has devoted to the airport -- and the fact that, not long ago, White pulled the same stunt of concealing from the PD his announcement of a key federal runway approval. …

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