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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland: Tells Bellwether He's Slandered By Lying Radio Talkers

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- An irate Gov. Ted Strickland denounced XM radio for harboring liars after a radio talker portrayed the Ohio Democrat as a racist who wants the vice presidency. The governor has considered legal action, and said he consulted a lawyer after learning of the attack.

An XM talker claims Strickland told union members recently he should become his party's vice presidential choice over someone with a black "face" -- a slur aimed at Illinois Sen. Barack Obama. Strickland told The Daily Bellwether righty talkshow host Jim Quinn's story was a "total, utter smear, it is a total, utter fabrication, it is totally, utterly untrue. I swear to God under threat of being struck by lightning that such thoughts have never been in my head or in my mouth."

Strickland raised his right hand as if he were taking an oath in a courtroom as he spoke. The governor called XM radio "unethical and dishonest" for airing the story and said he had been defamed, "Their consciences should be troubled if they have a conscience. There is something wrong with them, they don't have any character at all. They fabricate and make up stories."

Strickland added he wanted to take the radio chain to court for slander. He said he's been told by his lawyer that his chances of success as a public figure are slim because of court rulings that have given elected officials little protection against defamatory comments. "When you're a public figure it is almost impossible to protect yourself from this kind of garbage."

Strickland spoke with the Bellwether last night at a political rally for State Rep. Steve Driehaus, a Democrat who is seeking the OH-01 congressional seat.

Some rightwing and Republican bloggers have jumped on the XM radio talker's story and are using it to characterize Strickland as racist. The governor said the GOP right's allegation was launched against him because he leads a politically important state that looks to be shifting into the Democratic column. Some left leading bloggers have jumped in to accuse the Republicans of playing a race card. Strickland told Driehaus and people within earshot last night that, "When they get nervous, they get mean."

When he addressed the rally, Strickland said, "Can you imagine me saying such a thing? We are in a political climate where almost anything will be said, and done, to win elections."


  1. Thanks for this, Bill. I hope the governor takes action if he believes it's warranted.

  2. Hi Jill --

    I think he wanted to do something. He was pretty sure he couldn't get anywhere because the libel laws are stacked against aggrieved public officials.

    However, reckless disregard for the truth, I think, is actionable. Hopefully, one of the lawyers out there will jump in and explain what his legal opitions could be. I would love to see him in court against a talker who makes things up that are scurrilous. I also would like to see some Republican jump in and say such an attack as XM delivered is despicable becauss it is not based on anything but unsupported lies. I love vigorous debate and even an insult or two tossed into verbal and oral frays. I hate denigration based on falsehood. The governor had a sense or righteous indignation when we spoke -- and he was correct to have it.

  3. -posted by Matt N.

    You sound like how I imagine all plain dealer reporters sound right before they write their politically motivated, biased articles.

    What Quinn said is true- And I know you have an agenda, but just talking to Ted and having him deny it doesn't change the facts.

  4. My limited experience in speaking with Gov. Strickland and hearing him address others leads me to feel confident that if he doesn't want to say yes to something but feels that he has to stay silent, he'll either do that or he will actually SAY exactly that. I do not get the sense that he ever actually twists the truth - he outlines the conflict between two positions he may be holding at the same time and let's us see how hard they are to resolve - for example, with both Issue 3 and with the failure to sign into law but let it become law re: SB16 - now - I called that lame and I still believe he should have vetoed it. But anyone who follows this stuff knows what such a bipolar action/omission to act means - on the one hand, he doesn't support it, on the other hand, he's not going to use his veto power on this one. It's politically expedient - but I would never call him a liar for having done it.

    You know what I mean?

    Sigh - when I read Patrick Poole's piece in the Front Page and then researched Poole and the "magazine" my despair deepened because they appear to have no interest in actually talking to the people about whom they're writing. It's that kind of presentation that really damages the work you and so many others are trying to do in the blogs and online. I don't care where it comes from, left right above or below - if people are asserting second, third and fourth-hand information as the truth, without any disclaimer whatsoever, it's irresponsible. Libel, slander - not for me to decide. But for sure, it's incredible sub-par writing/reporting.

  5. Did Bill actually talk to the radio host???

  6. JILL: "I don't care where it comes from, left right above or below - if people are asserting second, third and fourth-hand information as the truth, without any disclaimer whatsoever, it's irresponsible. Libel, slander - not for me to decide. But for sure, it's incredible sub-par writing/reporting."

    ME: Have you read this guy's blog? This isn't second hand stuff he's reporting...he got the city/county to release the internal emails, he has provided 527 media citations, etc., etc., etc. It sounds to me as if Patrick Poole has done some tremendous work and if there was an investigative reporter left in this state, they'd seriously start asking some questions of some people in positions of power in Columbus...

  7. Hi Matt --

    I didn't actually talk to the radio host. However, I listened to some of what he had to say, and I read transcripts, though at the moment I can't say where I read them online. Just drawing a blank.

    I did see the governor and talked to him for a while -- maybe 15 minutes. And I heard him talk to others. I guess Jim Quinn, the radio talker who started the whole thing, could end it if he revealed more details -- who, what, where, when and how. Right now, it looks like Quinn is blowing smoke. Just like Bill Cunningham, who said Reds outfielder Adam Dunn was playing while "drunk." At least Cunningham apologized, or says he apologized.

    Matt, I love a good mixup. But I don't like below the belt hits. I think you are partisan, but have some class and ethics and standards. In effect, Strickland has called Quinn a liar in public. Now what are we going to here from Quinn? Or is he going to crawl into -- what's the phrase I'm looking for -- a spider hole? Isn't that the last refuge of swaggering cowards?

  8. Matt - I don't know which article you're talking about. I'm talking about Poole's write-up of the ODP hire/fire incident.