Follow-up: Toledo Blade Portrays Mayor Who Turned Back Marines as Victim

On Saturday, Toledo-area blogger Maggie Thurber, yours truly (NewsBusters; BizzyBlog), and many others dealt with the now-national story of how Glass City Mayor Carty Finkbeiner had turned away Marine Corps Reservists who had been given prior clearance to conduct weekend urban warfare exercises in the city.

The Toledo Blade's Sunday and Monday coverage of the story clearly showed sympathy towards the still-unrepentant mayor, while taking a "what's the big deal?" attitude towards those who don't appreciate what he did.

Sunday's report by JC Reindl started its defense in its headlines ("Finkbeiner taking flak over Marines; Mayor defends his decision to cancel urban war games"; bolds are mine throughout), and continued into its text:

They were gone but not forgotten.

A day after Mayor Carty Finkbeiner ordered 200 Marine Corps Reservists out of downtown Toledo, residents here and elsewhere expressed disappointment, disbelief, and even outrage.

"Even outrage." Imagine that.

In response to his critics, Mayor Finkbeiner declared his absolute support for the Marines Corps as well as all of the nation's armed forces - yet still defended his decision to send the Marines packing.

"No matter how much I respect, love, and appreciate the military, there are better places to conduct military planning and staging sessions than the central business district," Mayor Finkbeiner told The Blade. "I think the military brass would understand and appreciate that."

..... Mayor Finkbeiner, a Democrat, said yesterday that he ordered the Marines out because he did not want a repeat of the last time the Marines' battalion trained downtown in May, 2006.

"I saw the military with guns drawn emulating warfare, and I observed the expressions of citizens who happened to just be coming down the sidewalk that particular Saturday noon in wonderment, asking, 'What have I found myself in the middle of?'" the mayor said. "There was a look of wonderment on some people's faces, and there was a look of fear on other people's faces."

..... Mayor Finkbeiner said if there is one major regret of this ordeal, it is the lack of communication to his office.

In other words: "It's somebody else's fault."

As was the case in its initial report Friday, the Blade "somehow" failed to ask Finkbeiner why, if he was so troubled by what he saw in 2006, he engaged in no "communication" with the Marines for 21 months -- instead, waiting until the last minute to stop them and, according to Friday's Blade story, costing the Marines an estimated $10,000.

Today's Blade story by Ignazio Messina ("Calls mount for mayor to apologize as order to cancel training draws fire across nation") makes one wonder how the Mayor would have any idea what the "military brass ..... understand and appreciate":

Brian Schwartz, spokesman for Mr. Finkbeiner, acknowledged that Major Brooks asked to see the mayor Friday, soon after the battalion was ordered to leave, but was denied a meeting.

"The mayor was in another meeting," Mr. Schwartz said.

Thurber, in a post earlier today, makes an important follow-up point today:

 

The Mayor could have met and tried to find another way for the Company to complete their scheduled training, especially in light of his public statements that he wasn't opposed to the Marines, but to the training location they'd selected.

It appears that the Blade's "professional" reporters, as usual, didn't think to ask the mayor or spokesman Schwartz about such an obvious inconsistency -- one that a "mere" blogger noted quite easily.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.