Ohio Media Suffers Collective Amnesia on AG Marc Dann's Party

Ohio's Old Media needs a collective medical intervention to battle Chronic Reporting Amnesia (CRA).

Ohio's Democratic Attorney General, who has been no stranger to controversy since his election in November 2006, is in major hot water over the conduct of two employees on his staff:

An attorney representing two women whose sexual harassment allegations have triggered a widening scandal at Attorney General Marc Dann’s office says his clients have abundant evidence of their claims.

..... (Attorney Rex) Elliott said Cindy Stankoski and Vanessa Stout, both 26, have text messages, e-mails and “the whole nine yards to prove exactly what they’re saying.” The two have alleged that Anthony Gutierrez, the office’s general services supervisor, engaged in inappropriate comments and touching at the office and at a Dublin apartment then shared by him, Dann and communications director Leo Jennings III.

Dann has placed both Gutierrez and Jennings on paid leave as the allegations are investigated. Jennings was not accused of harassment in the women’s complaints. Dann placed him on leave Monday based on undisclosed new information he says came out in the investigation.

From reviewing at least a dozen stories concerning events relating to this growing scandal, it's clear that Ohio's press has totally forgotten what party Dann is a member of. One paper even seems to have forgotten that Dann is the Buckeye State's AG (April 20 Update: What I believe was the Cincinnati Enquirer's first story about Dann, relaying AP's coverage, appeared on the front page of Saturday's print edition. It also appeared online at the Enquirer at 11:21 a.m. The Enquirer's search engine appears to be unable to find wire stories on its site).

The statewide spread of CRA has become serious. Strangely, the disease only appears to affect the left side of the brain, as Ohio's reporters usually have little trouble identifying the party of a scandal-plagued Republican.

The party affiliation of Dann, who at one time relished in portraying himself as Ohio's up-and-coming equivalent of Eliot Spitzer, is not mentioned in at least these Ohio press items:

  • The unbylined April 15 Toledo Blade report excerpted above ("Lawyer says Ohio workers who allege harassment have evidence").
  • An April 14 Associated Press report ("Attorney General Marc Dann puts aide on leave in harassment investigation") that appeared in the Blade.
  • A brief April 10 AP report in the Blade ("Attorney general says employee never in pajamas in his apartment").
  • An April 18 report from Dann's home area of Youngstown carried in the Vindicator and written by Cleveland Plain Dealer reporters Marc Rollenhagen and Reginald Fields ("Reports show Dann was aware of Gutierrez’s history of troubles").
  • This April 18 Cleveland Openers blog post by Fields ("Reports show Dann was aware of Gutierrez’s history of troubles").
  • This April 17 Dayton Daily News report by Laurie Bischoff ("Blackberry device inspected as part of sex harassment case").
  • This 1,000-plus word April 19 article by the Plain Dealer's and Rollenhagen and Fields containing details of one of the women's recitation of events.
  • An April 18 AP report by Julie Carr Smyth ("Sexual complaint probe at top cop's office intensifies") in the Akron Beacon Journal.
  • An April 16 My Fox Cleveland story with an ironic twist ("Dann Defends Woman Amid Own Office's Sexual Harassment Flap").

As former Democratic Governor and US Senator from Georgia Zell Miller once said in another venue, "I could go on, and on, and on, and on."

Oh, here's an exception! After failing to do so in previous articles here, here, and here, Alan Johnson of the Columbus Dispatch ("Criminal complaint filed over Dann aide") mentions Dann's party -- in the ninth and final paragraph.

Even beyond the harassment-related scandal, the Dayton Daily News's Bischoff failed to note Dann's party affiliation in a story today about a different matter that more directly involves him ("Dann authorized his driver to carry concealed weapon").

This is amazing determination on the part of Ohio's press.

Cross-posted in slightly revised form at BizzyBlog.com.

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