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Draw a line between Traficant support and Traficant news

By Todd Franko (Contact)


Published August 11, 2009

Youngstowner Tyler Clark writes in his blog next to mine that the “Sunday Vindicator deployed a deplorable amount of front-page ink in the recognition of ... Jim Traficant.”
Clark then proceeds to blather on about us and Traficant at a length that chews up more words than our original story did on Sunday.
He digs into seven-year-old editorials.
And he creates links to those editorials.
If the extent to which we reported is “deplorable,” then Clark’s efforts are "atrocious" or "heinous," since it is pretty easy to throw around colorful language on these blogs.
He chides us: “Front page? Seriously?”
To which I ask: “Blog? Seriously?”
When it comes to Traficant, Tyler’s like most of us in regard to the imprisoned politician: embattled.
We love to hate Jimbo.
We want to ignore him.
Yet we know others love him.
And regardless of it all, we will have to deal with him.
Clark is not alone in this.  
A new subscriber from Boardman just started his paper, and just canceled it — due to our Traficant story.
We’ve taken other calls since Sunday’s story. And we took the calls in the spring when Jimbo’s prison release clock started ticking faster.
I’m boggled that people have a hard time distinguishing our role.
We report news stories.
Some stories can be about more pleasant topics. But there are also stories we do not enjoy reporting.
It’s just our job.
We are not making a statement by what we choose to report.
But we are, certainly, making a judgment as to how relevant, how vital, how engaging a given news event is.
Traficant — like him or not — will be an engaging news situation for all the reasons people love and hate the guy.
Our job is simply to bring that to you.
We have never supported the guy for office.
We have never attacked the federal investigators who brought charges on him.
Bertram DeSouza’s columns have been as derisive toward Traficant as they’ve been to the many, many things Bertram dislikes.
I hope, as the weeks unfold, readers will see a distinction in what we report vs. what we support.
It’s one thing for a group like the Mahoning Valley Scrappers to host a Traficant-themed event.
It’s another thing for us to let you know such an event is happening.


Comments

1rae(22 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Trafficant is nothing more than another corrupt politician from the Valley. Has everyone forgotten that he is a convicted felon? Has everyone forgotten he was the laughing stock of late night c-span? Has everyone forgotten he is the primary reason the Valley received so little in federal and state dollars during his tenure? Once again, the national and regional new media has picked-up on the glorification of Jim Trafficant by his loyal and obviously not-too-bright followers. They are laughing at us for our blind stupidity and assume the majority of the Valley loves him. Tim Ryan has brought more to the Valley in the form of positive national attention and federal dollars than Jimbo ever did. Jim Trafficant is a crook - nothing more,nothing less. The more coveage the media gives him, the more his dull followers feel validated in praising him.

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2Tugboat(759 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Tyler Clark did an excellent job in researching the editorials. A portion of one stands out:

"Unfortunately, he[Traficant] was the lens through which the nation viewed the Mahoning Valley. And so today, we must suffer the consequences of having had Traficant as our congressman.
Time to close the book."

"Time to close the book" they wrote. But they haven't.

Before heading to jail, Traficant said, “When I get out I will grab a sword like Maximus Meridius Demidius and as a gladiator I will stab people in the crotch.”

Mr. Clark did just that to the Vindy staff and it must have hurt.

Mr, Franko writes: "We are not making a statement by what we CHOOSE to report....and then writes...
OUR JOB is simply to bring that to you."

That tells me that the Vindy picks and choses and has chosen to "open the book" on Traficant showing disdain for the well-being of their readers and their comfort with the status quo.

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3leaveusalone(103 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Well, Todd Franko - glad to hear you say that your job is to REPORT the news. Could we have a lot more local news and a lot fewer abridged news service stories?

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4Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

So now that we may possibly be past the HOOPLA ! What is so wrong about Jim coming back home to his wife ?

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5Attis(922 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Get a reality check. The Vindicator has been and remains totally biased against Traficant; every story and editorial about this American hero and political prisoner has been shaped with a bias against him, and therefore against the bulk of the population in the Mahoning Valley and beyond. That is one big reason why your circulation is declining.

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6jjsmith(6 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Why are the Vindy editors posting comments and writing blogs to defend their editorial choices? If you were professionally confident in these choices, you wouldn't feel the need to talk back to those who disagree with you. Franko and Sweetwood, do your jobs and let the readers have their say. That's how the professionals handle it.

So, who's going to write the next two comments, I wonder?

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7msweetwood(163 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Wow, JJ. You've got it all figured out:

Tyler can't blog about local issues because he hasn't lived here long enough and editors can't comment on our own Web site.

If people say things that can be easily defended or explained or answered, editors should and will join the chorus. If you want to set the rules, start your own Web site. But certainly if you direct comments specifically at us, you'll probably be answered.

You've got three relatively negative comments (on this account) all making roughly the same commentary about who should be allowed to say what on someone else's Web site. That's a little weird...

Mark Sweetwood
Managing Editor

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8jjsmith(6 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Predictable.

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9Tugboat(759 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Here I sit, 'drawn moth-like' to this site and see that someone else got a swift sweetwood upside the head. Personally, I appreciate the opportunity to comment and the fact that the editors take the time to read what we write here.

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10Bellhop(2 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Enough about Traficant. It's going to be Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme Bobblehead Night at the Scrappers game.

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