Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Plain Dealer Probes Missing Clues, Then Misses Some More

Posted by on Tue, Dec 7, 2010 at 9:28 AM

jimmy-dimora.jpg

As Cuyahoga County’s longtime network of corruption gives way in January to an innovative new network of corruption, The Plain Dealer paused for reflection recently on the scope of its coverage before and during the federal probe of Jimmy Dimora, Frank Russo, and pals.

Ombudsman Ted Diadiun explained how now-departed Editor Susan Goldberg dispatched him to shake the cubicles in search of opinions from writers and editors past and present. And exactly how did The PD overlook years of systemic corruption perpetrated by the figures it covered on a daily basis? Diadiun’s exclusive answer: We dunno, but we’re pretty sure it’s not our fault.

On the same day, the paper prominently featured a long story reprinted from the Akron Beacon Journal about the future of the 101-mile Towpath Trail, as final construction brings it through Cleveland’s Flats toward Lake Erie. Conspicuously absent was any mention of the dubious deals made to clear the land for the path, which were outlined in the October Scene article “The Towpath’s Hidden Trail.”

The PD story featured a long and cheerful interview with Tim Donovan, head of Ohio Canal Corridor, the group behind the Cuyahoga County portion of the trail. It also noted the $3.1 million grant the group received for purchasing property. It overlooked, however, the parts about how the land in question is a New Jersey-grade slum and that the appraisals were bogus. Any mention of how those appraisals were called into question by other state agencies? Not so much. But you can count on The PD to look into this just as soon as the whole thing blows over. — Kyle Swenson

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