June 6th, 2006

[Update — 1730 — This was published on Sunday, so it has no bearing on the case of Tim Russo, but the irony is just too good to pass up.

The Akron Beacon Journal’s public editor Mike Needs calls for more transparency for reporters and editors, saying they should reveal political and religious affiliations, education background, media experience, active membership in organizations, and any involvement in causes or campaigns that could have any influence on a journalist’s news judgment.

I wonder how mike would feel about publishing the arrest records of all reporters and editors?

(I did drop a note to Mike to ask him that question. I’ll post his response when I get it.)]

[Update — 0905, 7 June — Snarkoholic’s (now the Constant Observer) Tish Grier offers some insight between transparency and getting naked.]

[Update — 0907, 7 June — Anyone aware of how this story is playing outside of NEO blogospher? Ah, yes, indeed;

Blogger Quits After Newspaper Report

Cleveland’s Tim Russo Stops Blogging: Why?]

For a second time Democracy Guy has gone dark. You can read the reasons why in the final post. I will not be removing the blog from my blogroll because I want to remember that when those in power flex their muscles, the powerless get crushed. Free speech is only a right when we as a nation protect those who offend us.

Perhaps the Pee Dee reporter thought they were following the dictum: Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. But probably not.

Bloggers are writing their own feelings on yesterday’s events. Here are the ones I’ve found so far:


PeeDee moving ahead with plan B

Peace DG, Peace.

Catching Up With the Ohio Blogosphere

Ah, yes the leftie net roots show their worth

Bob Rhubart

The Night They Tore Old DG Down

A low blow

Let me say this about that

Eulogy to Democracy Guy goes off the air by George


no appropriate title

Life in Hell: DG Chapter 666

Democracy losing a Guy?

Sixteen Words

(I’m sure there are more out there that I’m missing. Please post links in comments of any that you know of. Thank you.)

There was much that Tim Russo said that I disagree with. And much that I admire him for. I wish him well.

And confusion to his enemies.

My Soundtrack: Hi by Psapp on WOXY.


  1. Jeff:

    I posted my thoughts on my site late this afternoon. Here is the link.

    Sometimes it can be easier for others to say that someone should be strong and continue to suffer slings and arrows, but sometimes sixteen words can be the final straw.

  2. […] This has stirred a lot of reaction from NEO bloggers (see Jeff Hess’ roundup and this other one at BFD). Sure these facts would cause me to reevaluate my perception of Russo as an individual; but they really had no place in the paper, especially on an article about bloggers. […]

  3. LauraScott says:

    “I wonder how mike would feel about publishing the arrest records of all reporters and editors?”

    Most employers do background checks that would include criminal records. I highly doubt if you fail a background check you would be hired by the PD or any other respectable institution.

  4. Jeff Hess says:

    Shalom Laura,

    First, thank you for stopping in, for reading, and, most importantly, for taking the time to write a comment. It’s all about the conversation.

    So then, you subscribe to the: if you have nothing to hide, then why would you object to a warrantless search school?

    But that doesn’t address the question that Mike, and I, raise: ought all factors that might influence a reporter’s perspective be a matter of the public record for all readers to easily read?

    For instance, should reader’s be made aware that a reporter is an atheist?

    Or, should a reporter with a DUI conviction have that conviction published as a matter of course with every story they file?

    Or, should a reporter to whose house police we’re called in a domestic dispute 25 years (and three-husbands) ago have that made a matter of record for all the readers to see?

    Or, should readers be made aware that a reporter filed for bankruptcy following a divorce?

    The list goes on and on. All are matters of public records. All can be said to reflect on the reporter’s character and point of view. Ought readers be allowed to know the minutest detail of a reporter’s life so as to able to judge the credibility of the reporter?

    Should newspapers publish a credibility index next to every name it prints?

    And who should set the criteria for that index?

    Or should readers judge the reporter’s words based on the credibility of what the reporter writes?



    p.s. ah, so the pee dee is a respectable institution is it?

    p.s.s. for the record, i have had two employers run background checks on me. the first was in 1974 when the united states navy needed to know if it could trust me with nuclear weapons. the second was cleveland hebrew schools where i was, as required by ohio law, fingerprinted and had a criminal background check performed by, i believe, the secretary of state’s office. the first involved the fbi and was very thorough, as it should have been. the second involved a glance at outstanding warrants over the previous 12-months and was pretty much a joke. so, based on your criteria, laura, all of my other employers over the past 40 years weren’t respectable institutions?

  5. redhorse says:


    mine’s there, sorry for the astroturfing. the whole get-go has me tweaked.

  6. tadvent says:

    My thought is, when you are very vocal and make waves, you better be prepared for the consequences. I liked hearing Tim’s Opinion, 9 times out of 10 I thought he was wrong, but yet it is always good to listen to, reflect about and digest someone else’s view.

    Tim made his bed, now he’s sleeping in it. My dad always told me, “don’t piss off city hall. You never know when a inspector my just drop by …” Well, Tim POed someone and they inspected his property. They published it and now he’s paying the price.

    I don’t feel bad for him in the least. With a little investigation, I found the exact case on the docket of Cuyahoga County Criminal Courts. Anyone can do the same on me, or you. Believe me,I think about that before I comment on things. If someone is going to make tough statements in a public place, they better be prepaired to defend their pasts.

    By the way, I’m all for full disclosure, I think if some of the laws that cops are using to “tax” the citizenry were put in the open there would be an OUTRAGE. However, I red the code that Tim was arrested for, there is no way that code could be compared to traffic tickets or a minor infraction. I feel for him, he made a mistake, but if he wasn’t so vocal, no one would know about it, either.

  7. Jeff Hess says:

    Shalom Tad,

    It’s the “don’t piss off city hall” part that has my shorts in a bunch.

    Politicians and public officials serve at the pleasure of the electorate. They should not be in the position of using the power of their office to silence their critcs.



  8. tish grier says:

    Hi Jeff…

    recently I had a back and forth with Steve Outing regarding the difference between transparecy and being naked.

    What Mike Needs is talking about is NOT transparency. He obviously doesn’t get the concept.



  9. tadvent says:

    He should be happy he po’ed just city hall. I’d hate to see what would have happened if he went after the concrete industry in this town.

    I’m shocked people are suprized by this? When you get into a swearing match at a christmas party with a political candidate whose wife happens to be a pulitzer prize winning columnist for the only paper in town, what do you think would happen? Did you think this would stay hidden? I mean in today’s society where every week they are doing a show about the crime committed did you not think someone would eventually bring this out to slander him?

  10. Jeff Hess says:

    Shalom Tad,

    That’s true, you’re absolutely right.

    I am saddened by a society where you are selcom disappointed if you underestimate the actions of people.



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