Editorials from around Ohio

May 14, 2018

Excerpts of recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:

The Columbus Dispatch, May 12

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump May 9:

The Fake News is working overtime. Just reported that, despite the tremendous success we are having with the economy & all things else, 91% of the Network News about me is negative (Fake). Why do we work so hard in working with the media when it is corrupt? Take away credentials?

It’s hard to hear the incessant cries of “Fake news!” from President Donald Trump without being reminded of the playground taunts, “It takes one to know one!” or “I know you are, but what am I?”

Now there is new evidence that suggests some truth to the long-festering allegation that Trump benefited from actual fake news in his 2016 election over former Secretary of State and first lady Hillary Clinton.

Three Ohio State University professors have released findings of research exploring why a significant portion of voters who had backed Democrat Barack Obama in 2012 did not support the party’s candidate, Clinton, four years later.

The trio — Paul Beck and Richard Gunther, political science professors emeritus, with Erik Nisbet, associate professor — polled 1,600 voters, including about 600 Obama supporters, asking 281 questions in an internet survey from Dec. 5, 2016, through Jan. 6, 2017.

The breadth of the survey allowed the researchers to analyze various impacts on the respondents’ 2016 votes for president. First, they learned that 23 percent of the former Obama supporters did not vote for Clinton, with about 10 percent casting Trump votes. Then they were able to compare and contrast factors such as voters’ gender, age, race, education, ideology and political tendencies in what’s known as multiple regression analysis.

Respondents were asked about three specific false statements — two negative about Clinton and one positive about Trump — that were disseminated primarily through social media and some broadcast news outlets, not reported by major networks or newspapers.

After accounting for other influences, the researchers found 89 percent of those who didn’t believe any of the three statements supported Clinton, while just 17 percent of those who believed two or all three of the statements stayed with Clinton. Given close results in battleground states, that kind of impact could have contributed to Clinton’s loss in Electoral College results, the researchers conclude.

Here’s what we conclude:

? Actual fake news comes from fake sources with agendas. Newspapers like this one follow high journalistic standards for pursuing objective, verifiable facts. And if mistakes are made by legitimate news outlets, they are quickly corrected.

? Relying on and sharing fake news is a dangerous practice, especially if it makes a difference in how voters decide between candidates.

? Being unable to distinguish legitimate journalism from fake news is even more dangerous. If you can’t tell how a story was sourced and verified, it’s probably not true.

? Purveyors of fake news are quick to accuse others of the practice. ...

Online: https://bit.ly/2rFPTEz


The Blade, May 12

The nomination of Gina Haspel to lead the CIA has yielded an important public benefit: Another reckoning with our government’s shameful practice of torture — and a renewed declaration that torture is is a gross violation of American values.

Torture is also an ineffective way to extract information from a captured terrorist.

Ms. Haspel, a 33-year veteran of the agency, has spent much of her career in clandestine service. Critics have pointed to her role overseeing a CIA secret prison in Thailand in late 2002. Before she arrived, a high-value al-Qaida member was tortured extensively at the black site, by waterboarding and other methods. Waterboarding continued during her time in charge. Moreover, she was responsible for the destruction of videotapes of torture sessions.

The details of these incidents may never be fully known to the public.

Movies and TV shows exaggerate the idea that a committed jihadist will break under the pressure and reveal the secret plans for an imminent attack. And some CIA officials, such as Ms. Haspel’s former boss Jose Rodriguez, have contended that “enhanced interrogation techniques” yielded worthwhile information that “saved American lives.”

But the prevailing view among seasoned professionals and top military officers is best expressed by James Mattis, the former Marine general who serves as secretary of defense: “Give me a pack of cigarettes and a couple of beers. ... I do better with that than I do with torture.” It’s a folksy way to make a good point: Why should we shame and diminish ourselves as Americans for something that does not work?

Whether or not she becomes CIA director, Ms. Haspel’s record on torture has lastingly compromised her, just as the practice of torture has lastingly tainted the ideals of our great nation.

Online: https://bit.ly/2wKE0TE


Sandusky Register, May 11

Once upon a time, Cedar Point was a destination for locals. Parents took their kids once a year. Most local teens had season passes, which cost a whopping $20. Visitors came from as far away as Willard or, even, Tiffin. Many ride operators and games tenders were a little worse for wear, ready to move on to the traveling carnival circuit during the off-season here.

In the early ’60s, CP owners decided to upgrade their image, expand their attractions and become a destination for people from all over. Taking a cue from California’s Disneyland, CP brought in transformation experts who recommended establishing a dress code and hospitality training for a largely teen or young adult workforce.

Through the years the park has grown, but its squeaky clean image has stayed the same. CP will continue to project a wholesome image in its workers, though what is an acceptable look has evolved with the times.

Take, for instance, the stand on body art, once the exclusive mark of sailors, hooligans and floozies (descriptions a reader used in a letter to the editor when tattoo parlors were springing up all over the area). We now have here as many body art emporiums as mattress stores.

Tattoos are the new norm for people ages 18-35 and beyond. Other popular looks are hair colors never found in nature, beards and multiple piercings.

Cedar Point hires hundreds of young people to help thousands of visitors have a great day at the park. To limit the workforce to those who comply to the norm of 1965 eliminates many fine hopefuls seeking seasonal work. Realizing that, the park has lightened up its accepted appearance guidelines. Beards, tattoos and piercings are no longer automatic red flags for job hopefuls. ...

... Other businesses should follow CP’s lead and open hiring to those willing and able to do the needed tasks rather than those who comply to a cookie cutter “norm.”

Adapt and survive.

Online: https://bit.ly/2KkEpOq


The (Ashtabula) Star-Beacon, May 13

The village of Jefferson made a serious mistake that could result in the end for Opal House and officials must take steps to make it right sooner rather than later.

Opal House, an accredited transitional home for women recovering from addiction in Jefferson, is run by Cheryle McCourt. Seeing a big hole in the recovery services in Ashtabula County, McCourt stepped up and started Opal House, which has helped many former addicts during the difficult time after rehab but before they are fully back on their feet and reintegrated in society. With the help of a state grant, McCourt was going to expand those services by purchasing a second home in Jefferson that would serve men.

However, though she checked with the village Zoning Inspector Terry Finger to ensure the new location, the former Westfall Manor at 228 N. Chestnut St., was properly zoned, after she closed on the home she was told it was not. In fact, Westfall Manor had been improperly operating. The village is divided into two different zoning categories, B1 and B2, and while a B1 district allows for bed and breakfast-style facilities or multi-resident boarding houses — likely how the new men’s home would be defined — the location is actually zoned a B2.

Village officials said Monday that the process to resolve the situation could take three to six months. But McCourt cannot be reimbursed by the state for the purchase until the situation is resolved, and mortgage payments are $1,500 per month — putting the future of both the men’s home expansion and the original Opal House in jeopardy if the process drags on that long.

We believe Opal House is an essential and beneficial service. To say, as some critics have, that Opal House attracts addicts is not only wrong, it misses the point. Addiction is in our communities, and it will only continue to grow and get worse without recovery services like Opal House.

We recognize officials must proceed with caution, as zoning rules and regulations — and the precedent exceptions can set — are in place for a reason. That being said, McCourt did her due diligence and spoke with village officials about the zoning and was given incorrect information. The official made an honest mistake, but now the village has a responsibility to set things right.

That does not necessarily mean changing the zoning — either making the location a B1 or altering the uses allowed under B2 — because spot zoning can open a Pandora’s box that causes more problems than it solves. However, we expect the zoning board to take a serious look at whether the distinction continues to make sense and if the long-term needs of the village would be served with a change.

Even if that is not the case, the village cannot and should not allow McCourt to go bankrupt over their mistake. One potential to immediately alleviate the issue while allowing time for the zoning process to play out would be for the village to work out an agreement to relieve McCourt of the mortgage payments pending resolution of the zoning issue. If it’s resolved, and she gets the state grant then the village will be reimbursed. ...

Online: https://bit.ly/2KlmsPD