On April 1, The [Toledo] Blade asked the four candidates in the city's mayor's race to sign a clean campaign pledge produced by the Institute for Global Ethics in Rockland, Maine. Yet the newspaper itself frequently has violated fundamental ethics rules established by the Society of Professional Journalists. This is the first in a series of articles detailing the more serious infractions.
"Having been the ombudsman for this paper for almost a decade...I have never seen anyone trying to distort the news at all." Jack Lessenberry, The Blade, Jan. 27, 2008
TOLEDO, Ohio - During the week before the November, 2004 election, editors at The Blade met for their daily news meeting in the third-floor conference room at the newspaper's
When the discussion turned to a ballot initiative hopeful of diluting the city's recently-passed smoking ban - a ban The Blade championed - an editor had a question for Kurt Franck, the paper's managing editor.
When was the paper going to publish the results of a poll revealing voter opinion on the anti-smoking ban issue?
The editor, who has requested anonymity for fear of being fired, said the question was asked because The Blade had been running daily polls on nearly every key race and issue - polls the paper had commissioned and paid for - yet nothing on the much-anticipated anti-smoking ban initiative poll.
Franck had some startling news: The Blade would not run the poll story. No explanation was given. End of subject, Franck told the editor.
The implication of Franck's news, however, was clear to everyone aware of the poll: The Blade's side on the issue was losing.