Sunday, January 10, 2010


I believe that every form of innovation in this country should receive recognition. Music, literature, and even movies and television have all had their true artists; and far too often these worthies do not receive their just due. So it is with true humility that I recognize the Toledo Blade for expanding the use of, and attempting to perfect the concept of Repinion

"What in the world", you are probably now asking yourself, "is Repinion?" Quite simply it is a term that I have created to honor the blending of reporting and opinion that the Blade uses in such a way so as to confuse the point where one form of writing ends and the other begins. This practice, in the fast-changing world of the newspaper allows the Blade to extend the editorial process from the first page to the last (I sometimes even wonder about the Obituaries), and advance an agenda on a wide variety of subjects. 

"Now wait," you are probably saying, "the Blade certainly did not invent such practices. They have been going on in the newspaper industry for years." This is true indeed. Newspapers in this country have it seems, often been used as a way to advance an agenda. The Founding Fathers were more than once guilty of penning or having published articles in newspapers that were selective in fact and detrimental to their opponents. 

The Aaron Burr / Alexander Hamilton duel was a prime example of how, directly or indirectly, such things could lead to political defeat, and ultimately to Hamilton's death. The Spanish American War is yet another classic example of how the editorializing of journalism can seek to move public opinion enough to affect even foreign policy. The competing newspaper publishers William Randolf Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer used just such questionable methods in a purely selfish way to increase their circulation (and profits), and to what many historians agree, succeed in driving this country into war; creating the term "yellow journalism" in the process. (It was named for a character in the comic strip Hogan's Alley at the time.) 

The Blade now takes its place in newspaper history by refining the hallowed journalistic practice into a modern art form. It appears these days that the Blade is no longer capable of even recognizing the practice being carried on (or is being disingenuous about its use). Whether they are writing about the United Way constructing a building, the YMCA closing one down, or the Lucas County Republican Party attempting to hold a meeting in one; the Blade now finds itself consistently blending opinionated terminology with inefficient fact checking in order to choose sides in almost every news story that it writes. 

Now the writing of editorials is a long-standing and sacred practice in newspapers (in spite of the fact that one of them as debased itself by letting yours truly occasionally write one). No one should have any argument with the right of the owners and editors of the Blade or any other newspaper to exercise the time honored tradition of expressing an opinion, even if they disagree with it. It would be nice however, and more in keeping with current journalistic practice, if they could manage not let them bleed over into what is supposed to be the fact-based reporting sections of the newspaper. (While I'm at it, it would be nice if they could manage to sign such editorials rather than post them like anonymous comments on a blog). 

A short time ago, Dave Kushma took over at the Blade as their new editor. He appears to be a professional of good standing in his chosen field, if we can judge him by those he has previously worked for and with. It will be interesting in the light of this new blood, to see if the Blade continues to refine and perfect the art of Repinion, perhaps hoping that a prize named after one of its greatest disciples (the Pulitzer) will once more come its way, or learns once again to separate fact from opinion (if not fiction) in the dwindling circulation of their product.

1 comment:

Hooda Thunkit (Dave Zawodny) said...

Amigo Tim,

Great piece!

And while you're at it, I'd like to offer another, new and more accurate word, keeping in line with the overall flavor of the Toledo daily loco in particular.

Although I've used a few times before, I offer for your consideration:

"The PUTZlitzer Prize"

Awarded for the most consistently yellow journalistic endeavors and distortions as practiced in daily locos both here and elsewhere across this nation.

The PUTZlitzer acknowledges the blurring of fact, opinion and fiction with no regard for which section of a paper the PUTZlitzer material appears in.

(And while I'm at it, let's throw in a RAZZIE and a dozen or so rubber chickens for good measure, as a salute to those nameless/faceless chickens/cowards who routinely fail to take credit for their so-called "idiotorails. . ."