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Zaltsberg fails to spin away the truth

By Scott Tibbs, July 26, 2011

Herald-Times editor Bob Zaltsberg attempted to explain away the newspaper's call for one party rule yesterday, by basically saying "we did not actually say what we said. You misinterpreted it." Of course, the H-T did call for one party rule. See the following statement.

Perhaps it's time to lay the local Republican Party to rest in Monroe County. That would at least shift the public's attention to the various factions and philosophical differences within the Democratic Party, and make room for those differences to articulate themselves.

It is unusual for the newspaper to officially respond to a letter to the editor, so my criticism must have stung last week. This is not because I did something special, of course. I merely pointed out the obvious.

Zaltsberg failed miserably in his attempt to spin the facts. A "clarification" of that editorial two weeks after the fact carries very little credibility - especially when the H-T could have easily published a clarification on the editorial page within a couple of days or posted an online editorial clarifying the position within a few hours. If the H-T is so concerned that its editorial was misinterpreted, why did they wait two and a half weeks to issue that clarification?

I'm simply not buying it, and a lot of other people have the same attitude. The Herald-Times got caught with its pants down and now Zaltsberg is trying to backpedal.

How refreshing it would be if the H-T would simply man up and admit that the editorial was an overreach. Instead of more of the same dishonest spin that is so common in politics, the H-T could have owned what they said and apologized for it. Instead, the H-T has further damaged its own credibility with more shameful dishonesty.

Yes, the Republican Party's showing in the 2011 city election is and will be pathetic. There are only three candidates on the ballot for eleven offices. The best the GOP can possibly hope for is a 6-3 Democratic majority, and that would take a miracle. But there would be five candidates if not for the incompetence of the former GOP chairman, who missed the deadline to file paperwork to place two more candidates on the ballot.

Republican struggles in the city are not new, even though this year is particularly pathetic. There is a strong chance that the city council will have a 9-0 Democratic majority in January. But as I have explained before, the city and the county are not the same. Republicans hold two seats on the county council and the county Recorder's Office. Republicans dominated Richland and Van Buren township elections in 2010. Lumping the entire county in with the city demonstrates an ignorance that is simply not acceptable, especially for the primary source for local news.

No one denies that Monroe County Republican Party is in shambles, hampered not only by incompetence and a severe lack of confidence but also by years of sabotage by a number of malcontents. There's no reason the party cannot regain its footing, especially in county elections. The 2011 city elections are a lost cause and even making an impact in 2012 may be difficult. But with the help of a motivated and active chapter of the College Republicans the GOP can be rebuilt.

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