Sunday, November 13, 2005

Lassek Claims of Quashing Are Questionable

P. J. Lassek and her headline editors are at it again. As always, they're hoping that more people read their accounts of Council meetings and do not watch TGOV than do watch TGOV.

In another Sunday story designed to discredit moi, Ms. Lassek structures the first several words to make it sound like more happened conclusively at Tuesday's Public Works meeting than actually happened. Let's examine her artistry.

The primary headline says that "officials" dispute my "claims." Officials makes it sound like it was individuals without a political stake in the game. Not so. Even John Scott, who recently got the news that half of his job is going away in 18 months has a vested interest in keeping the current administration happy.

There's nothing wrong with saying they're disputing my claims, since disputes are issues that are still...well...disputed. As for my "claims," I was primarily asking questions in the meeting to get to the bottom of other people's claims...most notably, P.J. Lassek's. After all, it was the discrepencies in the arena and convention center numbers that she reported in two different stories (without a story in between listing when and why a change occurred) that I was asking about.

Then there's the sub-head, where my "claims" have been rephrased more accurately as questions. Or are they saying I have questionable claims? Or maybe, I'm asking questions to infer claims? Hmmm....

Then we move to the lead paragraph. Believe me, nobody knows better than the writers, editors and publishers of a daily newspaper, the fact that the vast majority of readers won't get past the unflattering picture (I look like a congested mouth-breather) the headline, the sub-headline and maybe one or two paragraphs. So they finish the deal with the lead paragraph that said:

Officials quashed City Councilor Chris Medlock’s notion that voters were getting fewer improvements to the Maxwell Convention Center because cost estimates had changed.
How humiliated I must have felt. I mean, my notion had been quashed...and on live television no less!

Folks, if you haven't seen the meeting on TGOV, then let me make a "claim" here on my web log. My "notion" was questioned by employees of the mayor, but nothing was quashed (except for the notion that Clay Bird and the administration might ever answer a direct "question" about the arena with some notion of a direct answer).

Mr. Bird and Mr. Charles Hardt didn't deny that the amounts of money that might be spent on the arena as opposed to the convention center, have changed since the "question" was put before the voters in September, 2003. In fact, the story's second paragraph admits that the dollar figures have been fluid for the past two years. They just refused to give any details as to whether or not the quality of the end product the tax payers will see for their hard earned dollars might be declining in one, or both, of the projects.

I couldn't even get a straight answer as to what the process is for determining which, if any, of the projects will get short shrift, should the expected cost over runs materialize. After all, it is more than a personal "notion" that there has been a substantial spike in the costs of building materials over the past two years.

One thing that is more than a notion (in fact, it's unquestionable) is this; currently Bill LaFortune and his administration only have $183 million to build an iconic arena and to upgrade a convention center that is still in debt until 2013 due to its LAST upgrade in 1983.

If we're going to see cost over runs, due to higher material (and even labor) costs, and we're going to build an iconic arena as promised to the voters, then one of two things must be true. We're going to either get less convention center, or we're going to have to come back for more tax dollars.

Only time will tell who had a questionable notion and who had questionable motives for deceiving the public. The administration of course, is hoping that the true cost of the arena won't come to light until after LaFortune is re-elected (or more likely, it is someone else's burden to shoulder).

What is unquestionable is that the newspaper continues to skew reality to score political points. Heck, they even went to great pains (as opposed to Great Plains) to note that the meeting was yet again, "contentious). Trying to score political points using newsprint and ink isn't a questionable notion if it is constrained to the editorial pages. However, to do so in a news story is unquestionably unprofessional.

At least, that's a notion I'm comfortable in claiming.


bamlock said...

Yep let's just keep quiet and not show n tell the other side. We don't need the real truth out there , let's keep the one sided world that so many want us to live in...

If a candidate isn't welling to stick up for himself then why would I think he would stand up for the ordinary citizen?

bamlock said...

Check my blog by 10:30 tonight and I'll show another example of PJ writing a comment without the full truth to it. You know leaving out a part so it makes their person look better.