Thursday, March 26, 2009

How A Washed Up, Hack Political Reporter Delivers The News

If you wanted an example of why you cannot rely on mainstream reporters for your news, you need look no further than WISH-TV's State House reporter, Jim Shella. Shella is the typical political reporter who becomes so cozy with the people he covers on a daily basis that he is unable to do a hard-hitting, investigative story for fear of offending one of his friends. You see, the job of a State House reporter is really easy when you report what the politicians like to hear. They'll spoon feed the news to you daily so you can make it home from work at a decent hour. Hard-hitting reporters have to dig for their stories because the politicians fear them and don't give up information to them easily. Let a group of outsiders step into the State House rotunda and watch Jim Shella come to life.

Let's take a look at Jim Shella's report yesterday on the Revolt At The Statehouse rally. Shella began his report by attacking the all-volunteer, citizen effort to have the voices of the people heard at their State House. "State House rallies usually focus on a single issue. The one today focused on several, including some state lawmakers have no control over," he lamented. Shella interviews just two people for his report, neither of which were organizers or speakers at the event. He interviewed a very nervous supporter of Ron Paul, who like anyone without a lot of experience being interviewed on camera, struggled to find her words. Next, Shella interviewed Indiana Libertarian Executive Director Chris Spangle. Spangle has radio experience and is an articulate speaker. Shella, however, chose the only moment during his interview with him where he struggled for words to make him look like less than an able spokesperson for his party. The most reprehensible, low-life act committed by Shella, though, was what he did to attorney Mark Small, one of the speakers at yesterday's rally. Small recently penned a book about pay-to-play politics. Shella employed the dirtiest trick in TV journalism. He excised a few brief words of Small's speech and aired those words out of context to make him look foolish. "Why should we fund education . . . " You can see from the video editing that his sentence was cut off deliberately to make Small look foolish. Shella then shows some quick shots of lawmakers, looking on in curiosity or otherwise appearing to avoid the rally.

There were plenty of articulate, hard-hitting and informative speeches delivered at yesterday's rally. I, for one, delivered an effective, tough speech against the bailout of the CIB to support the billionaire sports team owners. Shella's report included no clips from the many well-delivered speeches at the rally. A person standing next to Shella as I prepared to speak witnessed him directing his cameraman not to film my speech. During my speech, Shella mucked it up with Abdul Hakim-Shabazz, whose only purpose in covering the event was to try to discredit the organizers of the event because that's what his good buddy Tom John ordered him to do.

Any respectable news organization would be ashamed and embarrassed by Shella's reporting yesterday. If WISH-TV wishes for any credibility for its news program, it will force Shella to publicly apologize to the organizers of the event. I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for that to happen. I suspect Shella will go on delivering the same boring dribble the State House insiders spoon feed to him. He'll keep getting all the free tickets he wants to events. And he'll make it home at a reasonable hour without ever having to break a sweat. Who cares how useless and uninformative his stories are for the station's viewers.

17 comments:

briefs said...

I'm going to shoot straight, you and Paul and Melissa whipped this up into a frenzy and most conservatives are confused why this event was any different than the tea parties scheduled for April 15th. Your shots at Tom Johns or Abdul don't make any sense to me.

Shella may be lazy, and sure he's cozy with the elected leaders, frankly he's part of the media and they are on their way down economically.

I disagree with you on some issues Gary, but mostly I disagree with you and Melissa and Paul attacking anyone else who dares to suggest they are a conservative without toeing your specific litmus test line. Collaborate please.

Advance Indiana said...

briefs said, "disagree with you on some issues Gary, but mostly I disagree with you and Melissa and Paul attacking anyone else who dares to suggest they are a conservative without toeing your specific litmus test line."

Quite to the contrary, Paul, Melyssa and I converge not on conservatism but on our desire to achieve more accountable, honest and open government, which is neither a conservative idea nor a liberal idea. We find ourselves under attack by people who fear that most. It's funny that you mention John and Abdul. They were all on our side until Ballard won. Then they attacked us for expecting him to fulfill his campaign promises. Tom John penned some of those very press releases he and the Ballard administration will have no part of now. If Abdul were a credible journalist, he would point that out. He's hypocrisy on this shows that he's just a paid, hack political reporter. Slip some money in his pocket and he'll say whatever you want him to say. What's his line? "I'm an arms dealer."

Paul K. Ogden said...

Briefs,

When have I ever suggested there be a "litmus test" for conservativism? Given that I'm not a support of Senator Delph's immigration bill, I"m sure I'd fail that test.

In fact, I have a history of arguing exactly the opposite - that our poltical party, the Republican Party needs to be willing to accept alternative ideas and that people like the Mayor's Office, council leadership and Tom John should not demand 100%support on every issue lest Republican council members face consequences.

I totally agree that you can't expect 100% support in some sort of conservative litmus test. Most of what the Mayor Ballard is doing wrong, however, has absolutely nothing to do with conservative-liberal politics, but everything to do with cozying up to big corporate interests which dominate the two parties in Indianapolis. It's a classic elitist v. populist battle and Mayor Ballard has clearly cast his lot with elitist interests, contrary to his populist campaign in 2007..

Gary is exactly right when he says that where we come together is in our efforts to achieve a more accountable, honest and open government, which is a concept that is neither a conservative nor liberal.

Advance Indiana said...

Paul, It's interesting to compare the local news media's glowing coverage of a State House rally to support charter schools on Monday with yesterday's rally. The former was organized using the staff and resources of the State Superintendant of Education's office, which faces the area where the rally was held. School children, teachers and administrators were bussed in, again at taxpayers expense, to attend the rally. Our rally was organized and funded entirely by private citizens. Nobody used taxpayer funds to attend the rally. They came on their own time on their own dime.

Paul K. Ogden said...

I would add, Gary, that Mark Small's speech was also identified as humor. It was an extremely unfair edit. The person editing had to know that cut totally misrepresetned what Small was saying.

What I felt really bad about was the Ron Paul organizer who simply was nervous. Shella went out of her way to look foolish. She didn't deserve that.

Gary, I don't think Shella talked to you and he certainly never talked to me even though he knows who I am.

This is a good example of the situation where a reporter has in mind what story he is going to do and then goes out and finds the material to write the story. I remember several years ago, being on the street with a secretary and being asked by a TV reporter about the upcoming municipal election in Indy. They asked my secretary about the election and she said "What election." They then came to me and I told the reporter about the candidates and what I thought would happen. My interview didn't get aired because the story was the apathy about the election.

HOOSIERS FOR FAIR TAX said...

briefs...My name is MELYSSA. It is spelled with a "Y". I was not the woman political "reporter" Shella bullied.

Shella is afraid to talk to me or any of the organizers. He's afraid because he understands I have his number.

I was one of a handful of event producers. Primarily I produced the graphics, the website, and coordinated with people state wide to attend, including the table sponsors.

I worked at least 30 hours a week for the last 6 weeks(on top of my advertising sales career) to pull together my end of the project.

The event focused on state issues, not federal issues.

If you paid attention to the speaker topics that were published everywhere (including on this website and HFFT) you would know that. Or perhaps you do no understand the difference between state and federal governments?

briefs? how much volunteer work have you given to your state or country lately?

Commenting on blogs of people you don't know, doesn't count as "volunteer work".

HOOSIERS FOR FAIR TAX said...

Jim Shella could take pointers on serious journalistic standards from Indiana's regional newspapers

Here is fair and balanced reporting from Evansville Courier Journal:
http://www.courierpress.com/news/2009/mar/25/protesters-revolt-at-statehouse/

And more fair and balanced look at state issues from the Post Tribune:
http://www.post-trib.com/news/elections/1496175,ga-rally.article

Here is a political hit job by a paid hack:
http://www.topix.net/forum/source/wish/TKSJ86SHVDA5U4O78

Advance Indiana said...

A note to Jacob Perry, I didn't post your comment you submitted because you leveled charges against someone who didn't even speak at yesterday's rally and I have no idea whether the allegations you made against that person are true; however, they are defamatory if untrue.

Jacob Perry said...

Just going by the press release that stated he was a featured speaker.

Wouldn't defamatory exclude first-hand knowledge and experience?

P.S. Gary, you have my email, was it necessary to make a public comment about not posting my piece, which was fairly long and inclusive?

Advance Indiana said...

Deputy Mayor Olgen Williams is a convicted felon. That doesn't stop him from speaking out on community issues and being quoted in the local news media. And wasn't this the same man Williams told at a public meeting last weekend to stick to taking care of Crown Hill cemetary while he tended to the Southside? Has this individual been charged with the crimes of which you accuse him, Jacob? Again, I don't know the man and I think your point is completely irrelevant. He didn't speak at the rally.

Diana Vice said...

With all due respect to the armchair quarterbacks, Ogden and others, including myself, have given countless hours and money to the Republican party at all levels. We've served as precinct committeemen and delegates. We have given our time and talents to more campaign committees than we can shake a stick at. When party bosses start caring more about protecting their political turf than they do about good government, it's not something that people with principle can remain silent about. I, for one, refuse to be a political whore for the Republican party, and I admire Ogden and Welsh for declining their services as pimps for it. Here's the order of my priorities: 1) Christian 2) American 3) Republican

If the GOP expects to ever be great again, they'd better start behaving, because my naughty chair, paddle, and handcuffs are still available. In other words, discipline is a form of love and I'm not afraid to use it when necessary.

Let me put it another way. When a soldier signs up for duty, he swears an oath to his country, and he offers himself as a living sacrifice to defend his country because of his love for her. A New World Order comes along and expects that soldier to expand that oath to the men in blue helments (a.k.a. United Nations). G.I. Joe realizes that it's not what he signed up for and resists fighting for things he doesn't believe in or to salute someone he doesn't respect.

I've been an active Republican for all of my adult life, but I'll be darned if I'm going to support "Republicans" who do not adhere to the standards of the GOP. I'll certainly not remain silent about it any way, because it's MY party and I've come to take it back. I'm sorry if some of you don't approve of all of the methods being used, but we're doing our best to do our duty to our country.

Teddy Roosevelt said it best, "It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows achievement and who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know niether victory nor defeat."

The people who organized the tax rally should be commended, not second-guessed and criticized. Who cares how many rallies there are? The more, the better as far as I'm concerned!

Disclaimer: This spanking was an act of love.

guy77money said...

The Indy Star's coverage was horrible. They gave more space and coverage to the group protesting smoking in movies. You know where there bread is buttered!

Advance Indiana said...

The Star will probably have something snarky to say in its "Behind Closed Doors" column this Sunday.

Book-m-Dano said...

Gary,

Someone should start 2 new web sites. Something along the lines of "BoycottWISHTV.com" and "FireJimShella.com"! His piece was so disgusting. You can tell which side he's in bed with!

Paul K. Ogden said...

I'd just like to know what Democrats and Republicans could possibly be against the issues addressed during the speeches. I'd like to hear from Jacob Perry, Thomas Cook, Tom John, Abdul and others.

I bet you money they will never respond to the issues. They never ever do. Instead they immediately launch into personal attacks against ths people who raise the issues which are overwhelmingly popular with Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians.

Citizen Kane said...

Many, if not most, of the media are tools of the powerful used to discredit and marginalize anyone threatening the status quo. Many of them basically help spread lies, either deliberately or through negligence.

MissouriDemocrat said...

wow all this internal inspection amongs the republicans who want to do good but have the history of their party to fight. no seriously i suppose that this is the thing to do when you want to rebuild an effort that is maligned by corrupt politicians. I wish the democrats could do that but corruption is their middle initial.