Coverage of Noe coin ’scandal’ tips opinionWritten by Barbara Goodman Shovers | | firstname.lastname@example.org
This city’s paper of record is in the midst of another witch hunt. I’ve never met their target and I doubt I’d like him personally. Politically we’re at opposite ends of the spectrum. In fact, when the articles first started appearing I admit to glee at someone from “their side” getting it. But the reports have been so mean spirited and petty, their tone so vindictive, that I’m rooting now for Tom Noe to win.
This change of heart came after reading a Sunday expose, complete with unflattering graphics, which piled on such a heap of insinuation that I tipped. Tipping, as the pop-sociologist/author Malcom Gladwell writes, is what happens when a whole bunch of molehills add up to a mountain and you suddenly find yourself on the other side of it.
In this case it was the reams of unsubstantiated claims and insinuations of possible-but-not-proved that initiated my 180. This was further powered by the three-page-piece’s holier-than-thou irrelevances.
Truth be told, I know neither the financial nor legal details of the coin and contribution stories — though my gut is the news sharks covering it might not either. I’m assuming Mr. Noe has done a few things that if not illegal, are probably less than upstanding. But this is America where we wink-wink, nod-nod at white-collar corner cutting when it works in our favor. This is America where there is always a way around the system if you have the right connections.
Which is one of the accusations being hurled at the prominent GOPer: That his business benefited from his political connections. That wine-and-dining Columbus leaders and shakers — sacre bleu! — led to contracts for his company. Mr. Noe is rumored to have spent up to $19 on appetizers at a Columbus steakhouse where he left large tips. As a former waitperson that nugget alone would have softened my feelings for him.
The Blade also tries to make a connection between evil and owning pricey real estate. Golfing with “powerful” people — senators, a governor — also makes Mr. Noe suspect. But isn’t this what virtually all of America aspires to? Isn’t this the country that worships Donald Trump and vies for his apprenticeships? Why doesn’t The Blade go after real big wigs like him? I’d bet my life he’s spent up to $39 on appetizers for political fat calves. And anyone who’s shocked, just shocked, at a half million dollar condo on the Maumee hasn’t shopped Upper East Side co-ops recently.
But no. Power on a celebrity scale is sexy and unapproachable. Power when it’s yielded by somebody you can bully-or at least convict before being tried-is something else. In the case of the Blade vs. Tom Noe it reads more like a grade school slam book than a news story.
The Blade is not alone in iffy reporting. Much of the media is quick to offer a J’accuse for easy targets. (Look at both the before and after of the Newsweek Koran brouhaha.) The problem is that while allegations are often made in oversized headlines, they are retracted, if at all, in six point type. But particularly as America becomes so us versus them, Republican versus Democrat, conservative versus liberal, we generally forgive the snark — hell, we want it piled on heavier — when it’s leveled at members of the opposing tribe. But dare I suggest how easily tables turn.
In its quest to cast aspersions, The Blade article even implies that because Mr. Noe attended BGSU for only two semesters, he’s a hypocrite for attending its sporting events. And that because he was born into a Democratic family, realigning with the Republicans is similarly suspect.
Well, this left-leaner is about to spin contrarian and give him the benefit of the doubt. America’s legal system is still based on innocent until proven guilty.
And not just the appearance of guilt. Or even more, a trumped up version of it. Barbara Goodman Shovers is a Contributing Editor to Toledo Free Press. She may be contacted at email@example.com.