Thursday, October 05, 2006

Would The Star Please Start Covering The Candidates And Issues In District 7

I don't know about the rest of you folks, but I've just about had it with the complete lack of coverage by the Star of the candidates in the 7th District congressional race discussing where the candidates stand on the issues. Almost every day the newspaper has a story about the candidates and the issues in the 8th District and 9th Districts in southern Indiana, or the 2nd District in extreme northern Indiana.

The Star has not had one substantive article since the primary where it discussed Rep. Julia Carson's and Republican Eric Dickerson's positions on the issues. They've had all kinds of stories about debates happening in these other districts, but where are they in calling for a debate right here in Indianapolis where most of its readers are in the 7th District race.

This past Tuesday, an event sponsored by the Indiana Coalitition for Open Government featured the Republican Eric Dickerson facing off with a panel of local bloggers, including the Star's RiShawn Biddle. Yet the Star had absolutely zero reporting on the event. When Rep. Carson shamelessly dumped a 15-year-old police record on its editorial staff about her opponent, the newspaper couldn't wait to rush to print with an article dumping on Dickerson.

Isn't it about time the Star gave its readers a chance to learn where these two candidates stand on the issues. Or is it afraid that a discussion of the issues might help voters choose one candidate over the other?

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

They were noticeably absent before the Primary, too, Gary.

The paper's chief political columnist took vacation three weeks before the primary, and he recently got back from another vacation, as he reported in his blog. Nobody subbed for him while he was gone...nothing.

I was no fan of the Pulliams. They were hateful and mean-spirited, far-right and out of touch. But under their reign, no political columnist (think Ed Ziegner) would have dared ask for a vacation from March-June or Sept-Nov in an election year. The fact he went away demonstrates the paper's devotion to actually covering Indiana politics, instead of sniping at it lazily from a desk once or twice a week. The columnist would undoubtedly loudly defend his "right to take a vacation," and I wouldn't deny anyone the right to rest once in a while. But the timing is ridiculous for that position. Add up the column inches of locally-written Indy-area politics in the news columns since the first of the year. It's shameful. Pace yourself, Matt...surely you can handle the workload. Hint: people actually pay attention six to eight weeks before an election.

It's one of the biggest reasons blogs have grown in popularity. People are hungry for true political news. The Star has just shirked its responsibility. You can't really say it any plainer.

You and I aren't going to change their minds. They think they're doing a good job. Mirror mirror on the wall...the news void continues.

Blog on.

Anonymous said...

The Star *wants* the city to go downhill and have more crime. Gives them more to write about and sell more papers... what makes better headlines? "Another slow shift for IMPD" or "BLOODY NIGHT! 15 MURDERS IN 6 HOURS!" [sarcasm]

The former 10th seat was such a gimme for the Dems that there was no need. Now that the 7th borders have expanded to the townships and a threat to the the status quo has emerged in Eric Dickerson it's obvious the Star doesn't want to tip the boat and upset the socialist elites in this town.

Wilson46201 said...

Why doesn't Eric Dickerson mortgage Maggie Moos and buy some advertising in the Star detailing his positions on the issues?

Wilson46201 said...

AI, like Eric Dickerson, seems to be blithely unaware that Indianapolis is covered by three Congressional Districts - the 4th, 5th and 7th. I hear no hollering about the lack of coverage of the 4th and 5th CD races - where's the outrage?

Of course, 2 of those GOP incumbents are homophobic warhawks from Bush's Republican Rubber-Stamp Congress ...

Anonymous said...

I think it is obvious why The Indianapolis Star doesn't cover some races. Because it appears those races are over. There has been no indication that Dickerson has a chance. Which hurts Dickerson because he can't get earned media.

My issue is why did the paper of record stop covering the important stuff?

It's truly a shame because I think that Carson is really having health issues.

Anonymous said...

Wilsons rants notwithstanding, over 93% of Indianapolis' population lives in the 7th CD. Smatterings of residents live in two other districts.

No excuse for the piis poor coverage. In May, or now.

Of, for the days of Ed Ziegner and Ben Cole, Dick Cady, et al...

To some degree, Miss Carson is allowed to run a fairly stealth campaign precisely because the media here, led by The Star, are not exactly aggressive. It's long been known, if you want a story to "ride" all weekend, park it on Friday afternoon. The electronic media assignment editors, as well as the print media, will re-run it over and over verbatim.

(Yawn) Time for a nap.

Anonymous said...

Yes - lets ignore the 200,000+ people who atleast came out and voted 2 years ago in the 7th district.

Anonymous said...

it's 1:15PM and Where is Wilson? Oh yes playing the "homophobia" card. Since Bill Mays already used the race card out of that deck this morning.

There are no issues with the 4th or 5th, except in the mind of one Wilson Allen. As far as your warhawks remark goes you do remember they struck us? The USS Cole, WTC 1993 and September 11th remember those? You remember over 3000 died on September 11th alone, people of all walks of life including - imagine this - some gay liberals like you. We're fighting this war for everyone. It's only people like YOU that don't appreciate the efforts our armed servicemen put forward.

Anonymous said...

They could cover some state legislative races as well... I'm not sure how things get "on the radar" over at McStar, but other than the SD 41 race with the "Flogger" nothing has made it yet...
If it wasn't for the Prosecutor's race, you'd hardly even know it was an Election Year in Marion County by reading the McStar...

Jen said...

It's nearly impossible for any candidate or campaign to get earned media in Marion County.

Why do you think so many of them focus so much effort on fundraising?

You might get a blip on the nightly news or a short brief in the paper, but in order to get substantive coverage, you have to do something huge. And most likely bad.

That's the way today's media cookie crumbles.

RiShawn Biddle said...

When Rep. Carson shamelessly dumped a 15-year-old police record on its editorial staff about her opponent, the newspaper couldn't wait to rush to print with an article dumping on Dickerson."

One wishes you would actually have given a call to this editorial page before recycling this bit of urban legend. If you did, you would have learned that neither one of the editorial board members at the meeting with Rep. Carson, especially yours truly, received a copy of the police report from her or from her staff. The report was tracked down by the news staff the next day.

It is your right to be dissatisfied with the coverage, Gary, but you shouldn't simply toss around urban legend.

Advance Indiana said...

RiShawn, you need to go back and read Schneider's story. She reported the Star got the police report from a Carson volunteer. It was not until later that she discovered there was still a file in the prosecutor's office.

RiShawn Biddle said...

And Gary, I know exactly what happened, especially since I've also discussed the matter with the editorial page editor, who was also at the meeting. While Carson offered to give us a report, this was not received by the editorial page staff.

In short, it's an urban legend.

Anonymous said...

OK - Technically the editorial staff did not get the report - Was the report recieved by any other STAR Staff ( such as the news staff ) by Carson or her staff ?

What I find interesting is that if the STAR did not already have that info and if Carson had not told them about it - would the STAR have even looked into Dickerson's background that far back anyway between now and election day ?

Or did the STAR already have the info and decided it was not worth printing until Carson brought it up ?

---

And how does the reader reconcile what was reported by Schneider ?

Advance Indiana said...

Okay, let's get this straight RiShawn. Julia told the editorial staff about the police report. She had a Carson volunteer hand a copy of the police report it to Schneider after the meeting with the editorial staff. It's a distinction, but it makes no practical difference in the effect of what happened.

RiShawn Biddle said...

Again, that's not so. As Schneider clearly mentions in her story, posted below this message, she actually got the report from the Marion County Prosecutor. It also clearly states that a Carson volunteer obtained the copy -- and didn't give it to the Star.

Sorry Gary, but the record speaks for itself. Have a nice day.
----------------------------
Carson and Dickerson at odds over abuse report

Incumbent angers Republican challenger by releasing information about his 1991 arrest

BY VIC RYCKAERT, MARY BETH SCHNEIDER AND TIM EVANS mary.beth.schneider@indystar.com

Congressional candidate Eric Dickerson is accusing incumbent U.S. Rep. Julia Carson of negative campaigning after she released information to reporters about his arrest in a domestic abuse case in 1991.

Dickerson faced preliminary charges of battery and disorderly conduct based on allegations that he beat his wife and bit his teenage daughter.

But the case was dismissed after his wife and daughter declined to testify, according to court documents found in storage by the Marion County prosecutor's office and released Wednesday.

Carson disclosed the arrest during a meeting with the Indianapolis Star editorial board Monday, saying Dickerson has "been running as Mr. Righteous, Mr. Righteous, when in fact, he beat his wife up to a pulp."

In checking out the claim, a Star reporter called Dickerson on Monday to ask about the accusation.

"That's not true," said Dickerson. He then went on local radio shows Tuesday to complain about Carson's tactics.

Dickerson supporters quickly cried foul, maintaining Carson was trying to deflect attention from her own record and put the Indianapolis businessman on the defensive. The two are running in Indiana's 7th Congressional District, which includes most of Marion County.

Dickerson, a Republican, said the only thing that happened 15 years ago was a loud argument after his son crashed his Corvette. He said that shouting scared his then-teenage daughter into calling police.

"No hitting ever took place," he said, contradicting the police report taken Aug. 23, 1991.

In a letter later that month to prosecutors asking them to drop the case, his wife insisted she was safe.

"I am not a battered woman," Paula Dickerson wrote in the Aug. 31, 1991, letter obtained Wednesday from the Marion County prosecutor's office by The Star. "I am not going to testify as a state's witness against my husband for him touching me while angry."

Dickerson said an arrest report alone doesn't prove anything and that ultimately, prosecutors chose not to pursue the case.

"There was an investigation by the Marion County prosecutor, and a judge looked at it, as well, and it went no further," Dickerson said Wednesday. "If you don't believe me, I can't change that. . . . I'm not going to keep talking about this."

The Dickersons have been separated for several years. Paula Dickerson accompanied him to talk-radio interviews Wednesday, but he declined a Star request for an interview with her.

"Everywhere I go I've been ambushed by the media, and so has my family," Eric Dickerson said.

A Carson campaign volunteer obtained the arrest report from the Indianapolis Police Department. The Star obtained its own copy from the prosecutor's office.

In the report, police say the daughter, Aisha, who had gone to a neighbor's home, told them her father had bitten her and was attacking her mother. When they went to the Dickersons' home, they heard the couple arguing, and the living room was in disarray.

Paula Dickerson ran out of the house "crying and bleeding," the report said, while Eric Dickerson ran upstairs.

"She stated that he was trying to kill her and she was terrified," the report said.

Police say in the report that Paula Dickerson had bruises, swelling and red marks on her neck, along with cuts and scrapes on her arms, elbows and legs, and that the daughter had bite marks on her forearm. Mother and daughter said they would go to the hospital, the report states.

Dickerson said he did not hurt anyone.

"I wasn't grabbing anybody. I wasn't choking anybody. I wasn't trying to punch out anybody's eyes."

Asked about biting his daughter, Dickerson said: "I have no clue what you're talking about. . . . There isn't any shocker in Dickerson's closet."

The report said photographs were taken of the injuries, but when checked this week, the case file contained no photos.

"Every husband and wife"

A week after the incident, Dickerson's wife asked the Marion County prosecutor's office to drop the charges.

"One incident has taken place last weekend that has catapulted our whole family into a category where legally we do not fit or belong," she wrote. "I have been told that an angry touch constitutes not only battery, but abuse.

"Be for real! If that were the case, every husband and wife would be behind bars at one time or another."

In another letter dated Jan. 31, 1992, Paula Dickerson again told prosecutors that she and her daughter would not testify against Eric Dickerson, "and without us, you have no case."

Dickerson said Carson revealed the incident because she "knows her campaign is in trouble."

He said he has "no intention of going negative. People send me things (about Carson) all the time. I ball them up, and I throw them away."

The Indiana Democratic Party declined to comment.

Robert Vane, spokesman for the Indiana Republican Party, said: "Eric Dickerson has expressed sincere regret about an event that happened 15 years ago. We take him at his word and look forward to his defeat of Julia Carson this November."

Call Star reporter Mary Beth Schneider at (317) 444-2772.

Hear Eric Dickerson's interview with The Star Editorial Board on Rep. Julia Carson's charges.

_________________________

Paula Dickerson's letter to prosecutors

The following handwritten letter was submitted to prosecutors by Paula H. Dickerson, wife of congressional candidate Eric Dickerson, in 1991, eight days after police were called to their home during a domestic disturbance.

The Marion County prosecutor's office released the letter Wednesday.

To: The Office of the Prosecutor

Saturday, Aug. 31, 1991

To Whom It May Concern:

During this past week I have spoken with various people both in your office and with the police department who have claimed that I am "a battered woman living in a violent situation."

I appreciate laws that have been legislated to protect women who are being abused. However, these laws are instituted to help women, not to destroy marriages or the family structure.

This past weekend my husband, Eric Dickerson, was arrested. I have been read the police report over the phone and have found instances of assumption made on the police officer's part who filed the report.

I am not a battered woman; I am not living in an abusive environment; nor are any of my children neglected or abused.

One incident has taken place last weekend that has catapulted our whole family into a category where legally we do not fit or belong.

I have been told that "an angry touch" constitutes not only battery, but abuse.

Be for real! If that were the case, every husband and wife would be behind bars at one time or another. And not only that, but the public school systems would be closed down due to gross amounts of profanity and abusive behavior directed against students and teachers alike.

This is a sick society that we are living in and it becomes nauseating when a woman is told that she is "state's witness" or "state's victim" for the prosecution against her husband of 20 years who is a good husband to her and good father unto their children.

I am writing this letter to let you know that I am not a battered wife and am not going to promote you or any police officer who was called to the scene, not by myself, because a situation that got out of hand and because angry words were spoken between my husband and myself. Neither am I going to testify as "state's witness" against my husband for him "touching me" while angry.

Both I and Eric will be showing up in Municipal Court Room 16, Sept. 16, 1991 at 9:00 a.m. as husband and wife and we both will be leaving as husband and wife.

________________________

What's next

The petitioners go before the Marion County board of the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, seeking approval of the liquor license transfer. The meeting will be Oct. 16 in the City-County Building, Room 260.

Advance Indiana said...

RiShawn, That's what her final version said. When Schneider posted her story up on indystar.com that afternoon, she reported that the report was obtained from a Carson volunteer; there was no mention of a prosecutor's file. In fact, she said the rest of the file had been pursged. The Star yanked that down and then ran the story you now are presenting in the following day's newspaper. So I suppose she just got it wrong in her original online report. Why the hell are you covering up the source of that police report. For God's sakes RiShawn, just admit it. The Star got it from a Carson volunteer as Schneider originally reported. End of case.

RiShawn Biddle said...

Once again Gary, you have lost your ability to reason. There is no coverup; the fact is that there was no police report handed to either The Star editorial or news staffs by Carson or her staff. Given that I was in the room when the bombshell was dropped, I am an authority on those particulars. Simple as that. This conspiracy and coverup theory of yours is both laughable and beneath you.

When you're ready to be reasonable, we can have a conversation. Actually, you should be busy revising your claim. At this moment, however, discussing this matter with you is like talking to Jim Jones while he's drinking the Flavr-Aid.

Advance Indiana said...

RiShawn, when your newspaper posts an online story and attributes the police report to a Carson volunteer--I expect the newspaper to be telling us the truth. If you're saying--oh, she didn't really mean that, then just say it. Don't pretend it never happened. We're not fools out here in the blogosphere.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Gary. Why did the Star pull down its original story RiShawn? The link is broken when you try to access it now. It was revised considerably the following day. It did say the report came from a Carson volunteer and the file had been purged.

RiShawn Biddle said...

Ever heard of an initial report being wrong. That happens. It happened in this case and it happens quite often in breaking stories: Details get revised once it's known that there are errors in a piece.

This answer may not satisfy you, but it is what it is. I would never call you a fool nor would I say that about the blogosphere. But the evidence of you acting like a fool speaks for itself.

Joelyn-Tandy Adande said...

Advance Indiana:

The Dennis Ryerson, managing editor has assured me that there will be coverage of the 7th district race closer to the election. He sent me an email last month in response to my inquiry.

The Star recognizes the 8th and 9th districts have drawn national attention early with the high hitters from both Parties raising money for the candidates.

There will be coverage soon.

Advance Indiana said...

Thanks RiShawn, I'll accept that as a confirmation of the fact that Schneider first reported the Star obtained the police report from a Carson volunteer. She just made a mistake about where the report came from. That will do. Heehee.

Wilson46201 said...

fwiw, it was the actual Domestic Violence Court documents that had been purged from the Clerks archive. All that remained was the skeletal computerized Case Summary File.

IPD kept the mugshot and the gruesome arrest record.

The Prosecutor had also kept a minimal file including the refusals to testify as well as the horrendous police arrest report.

indyernie said...

If anyone would know it's Wilson, aka JC's rabid Chihuahua.
I bet he had a hand in digging through all that trash to find a piece of paper from 15 years ago.

Anonymous said...

Interesting journey along the blog path.

I read Mary Beth's original post, too. The distinction between Ms. Carson telling the Star staff about the arrest, and who delivered whatever report when...

I am still disgusted at the Congresswoman's actions.

Thanks for the interesting ride, RiShawn and Gary.

Now, back to the original question:

Who do we have to rob around here to get some decent political coverage? By random purusing today, the paper was about 60% wire copy and filler.

There's room for great writing by RiShawn, Mary Beth, and others.

Tick...tock....

RiShawn Biddle said...

As far as I'm concerned, Gary, your conspiracy-theorizing on this matter -- and unwillingness to accept the facts as they are -- say plenty about your blog and yourself. None of them kind. That is all.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for holding the Star's feet to the fire Gary. Your exchange with RiShawn is very revealing to this reader. I'm glad we have bloggers like you to turn to get the "rest of the story" as Paul Harvey says. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

I wish RiShawn and others at Indy News would spend at least half the time they spend on this blob complaining to investigate stories and report on both sides.