CINCINNATI (TDB) -- If you read the Cincinnati Enquirer for news, you wouldn't know that Ken Blackwell's son is in a bit of a jam. The metro daily sells some 200,000 copies a day but couldn't find space for negative legal news out of the Ohio Supreme Court about the son of the 2006 GOP gubernatorial candidate, who is also the son of the Cincinnati public school system's superintendent. No reporter produced a story; no editor seems to have demanded an article. There was a press release from the court. Ignored.
The Enquirer was scooped, and scooped big. Perhaps it was dozing. Or perhaps something more sinister occurred. Has it covered up a story that some editors recognized was important, but also would embarrass some politically connected Enquirer favorites?
There was a snippet in the paper's online political blog that linked to another publication's article. But the snippet's headline didn't even hint that somebody in the Blackwell clan's conduct was under a cloud and had been questioned as unethical. The Enquirer, of course, supported Blackwell over Democrat Ted Strickland in last fall's Ohio campaign for governor. Is it so enamored of the Blackwell name that it covers up news? Especially news about tests and exams -- which might be seen as reflecting somewhat negatively on Rosa Blackwell, a school administrator responsible for tests and exams. After all, her son was ensnared in a conflict about whether he had followed the rules on his state bar exam in Ohio.
While the story was blacked out from the Cincinnati morning daily's news pages, others were reporting what was up. The Dayton Daily News -- which is some 40 miles up I-75 from downtown Cincinnati -- even came up with audio of the Ohio Supreme Court's hearing regarding Blackwell's son. That indicates the Enquirer could have produced some kind of story even if it missed the court session. It could have transcribed the tape for the details -- or printed the transcript.
The political blogs in Ohio have been all over the Blackwell story, which has now become old news. But it's not old news in the pages of the Cincinnati Enquirer, where it never became news at all.
For years, there have been suspicions that the Enquirer, a unit the Gannett Co. Inc. publishing empire, is selective about what gets published. If it likes you or supports you, then the bad stuff gets censored, buried or blacked out. That was the way Pravda did it, too. This latest incident seems to add fuel to the suspicions -- this time there was a whiff of scandal around a politically connected family, the odor got into the wind, it made the news in Ohio. But it didn't make the Enquirer's pages. Bottomline: If you want to really know what's up with Cincinnati, you may have to start reading the newspaper in Dayton.