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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Ohiosphere Tale Of The Day (IV): RAB's Naugle Delivers A Hornswoggle

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Self-assured, fiercely partisan and way too interested in Connie Schultz's armpits. That's one way of reading the RightAngleBlog's agitated write-up about former Cleveland Plain Dealer Columbus Bureau reporter Ted Wendling. RAB has produced a duplicitous online screed whose tenor is meant to demonize a truly excellent person.

Wendling, with whom I worked for nearly 20 years at the PeeDee, is dedicated, honest, polite, intelligent and a superb human being. Every resident of this state should sleep better at night upon learning that Ted Wendling has been hired as a deputy inspector general to monitor the Ohio Department of Transportation for fraud, waste and abuse of public funds.

Wendling is a dogged investigator. He and his former partner, Dave Davis, were finalists for a Pulitzer in the mid-1990s for a series of stories that exposed covered up medical errors with radiological equipment. It was a seminal event that changed policies across the nation.

Matt Naugle, the RightAngleBlog's editor, writes posts that are interesting, engaging and occasionally enraging. (I am a fan, though I sometimes flinch over things I see there. But it is fun, and I love free speech.) Now he is labeling Wendling a hack, a Democratic hack:

"But on the bright side, at least Ted Wendling won't be a spokesman for a Democratic office holder -- I guess he was tired of being a Democrat spokesmouth via his job at the Plain Dealer, and wanted to try something new. Ted, you are a partisan hack, and I wish you much failure with your new gig."

RAB is wrong. Ted has unrivalled experience. He has character. He will serve the state well.

RAB's rap against him comes out of the last election, when Ken Blackwell, the rock upon which Matt Naugle had sought to build his hopes, was crushed. By firing unscrupulous and uninformed salvos at good people intent on public service, Naugle is still trying to salvage something from that sad wreck. Naugle is a voice who wants to show that Republicans can produce superior statecraft. But habitually engaging in duplicity won't make that case.


  1. Well said Bill. I was thinking about putting up a post as well, but believe it or not, I do try to limit my RAB-centric postings.

    Matt let's his personal disdain for Wendling and Sandy get in the way of what could be interesting political writing...that and his interest in the personal.

    There's nothing wrong with journalists going over to government (Tony Snow's a great example)...the problem is when journalists let their bias get in the way while they're still at their publishers. Matt often gets the two confused.

  2. There are plenty of examples of journalists in government in the USA -- starting with Ben Franklin, a founding father.

    Herb Klein worked for Nixon, Jim Hagerty for Eishenhower, Jerry TerHorst for Ford, replaced by the NBC guy Ron Nessen. Those were White House folks. Reagan's political strategist from Cal., the name escapes me but he was a rumpled wonderful character, was an old newsie. Charlie Luken was mayor, anchorman, then mayor. And Blackwell himself was a media figure, he owned radio stations and now is a columnist for Townhall, which means he went from media figure to elected office to punditry.

    Matt, I think, is so exuberant, so impetuous, so full of g and o and p that it gets in the way of his better judgment. Personally, I don't like the personal attack stuff. Insults are fine, I suppose, but I would prefer to see them finely crafted, with a Churchillian touch of class that pays homage to the art of delivering a zinger that puts somebody in their place while demonstrating good taste. . For example, Sir Winston would not call someone a monkey. He would say, instead, they "were hanging hairy from a branch."

  3. My real problem with Matt's post is this statement: "Ted, you are a partisan hack, and I wish you much failure with your new gig."

    I never understand when people on either side have that mentality. I can accept rooting for specific legislation to fail, but can not accept hoping someone in public service is a failure at their job. I strongly believed that Bill Clinton was a reprobate and an awful choice for president. However, once he was elected I had to hope he would be successful as his success was tied to our nation's success.

  4. Hi LargeBill --

    Matt also called Ted a "nut," which is really out of line. Bill, you are too sensible.

    I hope Matt takes back what he's said. He doesn't have to like Ted. But his insults and etc. are out of line and really are unacceptable behavior. Crass. Matt is better than that, can do better than that, and, I'm sure, will do better than that.

  5. Hi Jill --

    Re: Tony Snow anyone?

    Right you are. Someone pointed that out earlier, too. Pierre Salinger was a San Fran journalist before going to work for JFK.

    But it goes back farther than that. Alexander Hamilton founded the New York Post, which I'm pretty sure has to be one of the oldest newspapers in America. He was Secretary of the Treasury under George Washington.

    He was also killed in a duel with Aaron Burr. And Cox, who published the Dayton Daily News, ran for Veep in the 1920s. Clarence Brown, a GOP congressman from Ohio, was the Republican candidate against Democratic Gov. Dick Celeste in the 1980s. Brown owned a string of rural newspapers, which his family still runs.