My take on First Amendment Rights story

Wonder of wonders: the Toledo Free Press supports WSPD

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I understand your position and concern that the second instance of the group of WSPD staffers being prohibited may have been staged...

but I don't understand how the first one - Kevin Milliken being banned - was staged by WSPD...

Is it just that you think they kept pushing until Carty did something 'dumb' like ban Kevin? Somehow, I don't think they expected this particular reaction...

Yeah, it's vital to realize that there were two incidents, not just one. The second one was no doubt staged, but is that bad? In the Civil Rights era of the 60s there were many staged events that were used to bring attention to bigotry and inequalities. Sometimes it is needed for a constitutional violation to be exposed to the public.

Carty has no excuse in cutting them out by saying they overly critical of him. They aren't biased against him personally, they're against his policies. WSPD was one of Carty's biggest supporters during the election. It was when he wanted to spend money on projects the community didn't want that they changed their opinion. The first big event they spoke out against was the bike path in a South Toledo community that very clearly didn't want it. Later on it was lights downtown for the All-Star Game.

The resistance Carty has received from WSPD isn't anywhere close to what President Bush has received from the New York Times, MSNBC, or CBS, but he hasn't prevented their journalists from attending press conferences.

In my opinion, Carty is in the wrong. WSPD has used some unorthodox methods of exposing him, but that doesn't make the events any less valid or the First Amendment non-binding.

protests are staged. 'Setting the stage' is a commonly used phrase. It is the response that anyone who had been shut out of a news conference would probably have had.

Shutting reporters out of a news conference because you don't like what they say is a matter for arbitration. Or to be addressed with the station management.

How else was WSPD to shine public attention on such a big issue? I think it was very effective. And they stopped short of s slapping anybody so, personally, my hat is off to them on that.

Isn't this the same Mayor who chastised the Ottowa Sheriff about governmental arrogance? C'mon!!!! Get real.......

If you're here to tell me it's my fault - you're right. I meant to do it. It was alot of fun. That's why I have this happy smile on my face.

Some could say the Blade blurs their reporting too, but Carty does not ban them or any Blade reporter. I am sure you can find some negitive reporting, poor photos of Carty, and editorials in the Blade. WTOL is now running editorials too and some could take issue with their reporting on certain issues.

The fact is, it should never have happened and that is not the WSPD's fault.

There are some other good comments in the following threads:

http://swampbubbles.com/constitution_1_finkbeiner_0

http://swampbubbles.com/hizzoner_blocks_wspd_from_press_conference

Chico the heart of the story is not WSPD or their conduct. If they want to alienate Carty supporters that's their right but they'll won't get them in their ratings book.

The problem is the voters elected Mayor Finkbeiner and his staff into their position to "get results". I seriously doubt they'd have elected him if they'd had known those results were costly court cases to decided who has more rights to the Constitution.

When the voters vote for a candidate one of the things that's generally accepted is for them to act like professionals who are representing the local populace. Not to act like children when things aren't done, as they see it, fairly.

Say what you will about Mr. Miliken's reporting no one can deny that the Mayor and his staff opened up the city to a lawsuit with the first incident. That is the story.

MikeyA

MikeyA

Besides Chico I believe your criticism of WSPD on their coverage of the riots is as unfair as Miliken's coverage of Carty.

As a news organization WSPD maintains the right to criticize the administrations handling of events. Clearly the Ford admin should have sued to have the nazi rally moved to a location to protect the common good (which eventually happened the following December). The administration did not do enough to insure the safety of it's citizens. Criticism of that is not unwarranted.

WSPD cannot directly cause a riot unless they tell people to riot which did not happen. However the mayor can prevent a riot which regretfully did not happen. Blaming WSPD is deflecting the blame from the parties who are truly responsible for it.

MikeyA

MikeyA

1. Agreed about the 15 October 2005 riot - this was driven by flyers and cell phones, not WSPD. As the crowd gathered on Stickney that morning to gawk at the goose-stepping neo-Nazis, calls made to friends and acquaintances made the crowd much bigger.

Between 10-11 AM, the crowd went from about 50 to 200, and when all hell broke loose, the crowd swelled to something like 800. If you look back at the pictures, you can see people yakking on their cell phones and - anecdotally - I heard a lot of people telling friends on the phone things like: "You have GOT to come check this shit out." In a gory, dysfunctional sense, what better entertainment can there be than watching a riot? Beats the hell out of raking leaves on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

2. Agreed completely about the sanctity of freedom of the press. There is a very good reason why it was one of the first things in the Bill of Rights.

3. As far as the "staged" nature of the event, sure. Day 2 of the lockout (with WSPD hosts showing up en masse in yellow jackets) was clearly designed and staged.

However, it was done so with an eye toward proving a constituional point as much as publicity. And - turning the question around - we can argue that Carty's decision to bar Milliken was as much staged as anything WSPD did. It was designed to send a message: "WE control what gets reported, not the media."

Regardless of your politics, do we really want the government to tell us who is "legitimate" media and who is not?

Chico, the first day Milliken was shut out; the second day was the staged "yellow jacket" day.

No question WSPD was pushing the issue on the second day, but that first day was the day I take issue with.

Michael S. Miller
Toledo Free Press

Some could say the Blade blurs their reporting too, but Carty does not ban them or any Blade reporter. I am sure you can find some negitive reporting, poor photos of Carty, and editorials in the Blade. WTOL is now running editorials too and some could take issue with their reporting on certain issues.

The fact is, it should never have happened and that is not the WSPD's fault.

There are some other good comments in the following threads:

http://swampbubbles.com/constitution_1_finkbeiner_0

http://swampbubbles.com/hizzoner_blocks_wspd_from_press_conference

Because a news organization offers editorials doesn't make them an illegitimate organization. I wonder how many press conferences Roberta de Boer have been too? What's really the issue is who is being represented at the news conference -- legitimate reporters or talk show host entertainers? WSPD had at least one reporter there. Their ability to report news was still there.

Maggie Thurber, I'm glad you asked. I think, as do others, the second incident was staged. The first incident was probably not. Perhaps I'm giving them too much credit and you're right. However, I don't think they were completely blindsighted by Carty's action. We may never know.

Hey, Hey When the discourse heats up the perspective narrows. Public comment becomes either or and this can limit our potential for solutions. I would say that a staged event by WSPD differs from a staged civil rights event in that WSPD and their staff stand to gain materially.

It would be benificial for our community to take a serious look at the veracity of anyone's statements and intent if they continually tear down their opposition. We would be less prone to manipulation.

I was not aware that anyone took an official survey to determine whether the community wanted the bike path or not. It is my observation that the discourse went from Fred saying that the people he asked were all againsted it to everyone was against it very quickly. Did he talk to 10 people? 20? 100?

MikyA, you clearly doon't understand what I am saying. I never said that WSPD doesn't have the right to freely criticize anyone, they do. I never said WSPD directly caused the riot.

What they did was: 1. Break the story (which they have the right to do) 2. Talk about it almost daily (which they have the right to do)
3. Allow callers to vent their prejudices and escalate the rhetoric (which they have the right to do) 4. Interview the party leader (which they have the right to do) 5.And when the rhetoric reached the level of militancy they distanced themselves by saying there not telling anyone to riot. (which was smart for them to do)

Do I think WSPD did all this to cause a riot. Abolutely not! They chose this path to build and maintain public interest in their station. (which they have the right to do) Does this type of public discourse benefit the community as a whole? No!

What I am saying is that because WSPD has the right to do what they do, it is up to us, the public, to avoid kneejerk reactions and proceed with wisdon. In these times of devisiveness all to often the public is manipulated, by media and/or government and we need to be aware of it.

Toledo++ - are rights vested in the media outlet or in the person? I understand your point about 'a' reporter covering the press conference on the second day.

However, if the rights are vested in the individual, then - even under your perspective - Carty was in the wrong on the first day when the only 'reporter' the station sent was Kevin...

Please clarify?

"It would be benificial for our community to take a serious look at the veracity of anyone's statements and intent if they continually tear down their opposition. We would be less prone to manipulation." Who exactly are you reffering to? The Mayor or WSPD? I'd say both are guilty of this and taking one side over the other is like trying to decide which way to kill yourself. Either way you decide you're making a bad choice.

MikeyA

MikeyA

That question is right at the heart of the matter. Personally, I believe that freedom of the press is an individual right above all else. As a result of the right of the individual, media groups are also protected.

Mad Jack
Mad Jack's Shack

MikeyA, I agree with you but with all I've read praising WSPD and dispariging Carty I felt it would be useful to try to bring a balance to the discourse.

Chico

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