Yesterday morning’s paper carried an op ed item presented by a gentleman identified as a professor of communication at DePauw University. His column is titled "Media’s tough battle."
Most of the text of the article concerns lack of trust in the media by the general public, with a general feeling that the media is in some way a victim of mis-information or public ignorance. But one specific paragraph roused our interest.
"The public’s lack of respect for the news media has broad consequences for America’s system of government. Citizens have to know what’s happening if they are to effectively elect and hold their government leaders accountable." (Our emphasis.)
Amen! Amen! We could not possibly agree more!!!
However...on the morning of October 10, the local daily paper carried an extensive story about the new contract between TV sponsors (networks) and the National Basketball League. The thrust of the story was about the fairly massive increase in revenue which would accrue to the Pacers.
With reference to the recent commitment of a $160 million taxpayer subsidy to the team, both the CIB (the donor - with tax dollars) and the team denied that there is any reason to reconsider that transaction.
The man newly appointed to the presidency of the Pacers was quoted as saying, "We don’t go into a lot of detail, especially with the media, in terms of what the financials are." (Our emphasis.)
The next morning the weekly business paper hit our mailbox with an extensive puff piece about that new president and what a great job he will undoubtedly do for the Pacers.
Maybe they were a victim of timing. Maybe that story was already "in print." But this week’s paper carries another extensive story about how well the Pacers are doing with attendance and finances. Neither makes any reference to what we consider an outrageously arrogant statement about secret use of public funds.
This leaves us in the position of the daily paper having run the original statement of the Pacers president without comment, and with no further reference, and no reference at all in the weekly paper.
We now refer back to our third paragraph, and the stated "Citizens have to know...." When the recipient of public funds says very directly that it is not his practice to tell the media about "financials," and there is no question from the media itself about that statement, then an important question certainly turns back on the media itself. Why the hell not?
We suggest to the professor that, for years print news stories in Indianapolis about professional sports, and many so-called "economic development" projects, have read like material wholly prepared and presented by the people on the receiving end of the deluge of taxpayer dollars.
Surely some research and study of press releases, beyond punctuation and spelling, would reveal at least a few important substantive questions!!!