That Editorial Part 3 – Why did “The Thumb” return with such a vengeance?

Why did the Tribune’s editors give the superlative Alanna Oswald such short shrift?

Three answers come readily to mind. 1. To teach me a lesson for getting under Chuck Frederick’s skin. 2. Guilt by association with Art Johnston 3. Fears raised by the school Administration that Alanna could make things worse than our current school board has already made them. (Yes. I find that funny too.)

About number 1, the last post explained why payback was such an obvious possibility. A few weeks back I got an excited email from Chuck Frederick claiming that I had defamed the Tribune when I wondered in my blog whether Anti-Art Johnston letter writers had an easier time getting their letters in the paper than his supporters. When I wrote about our email exchange in my blog Chuck was subjected to the ridicule of one of my readers. I’d hate to think Chuck is thin skinned and believes that, as a journalist, only he has the prerogative to pass judgment on others while being immune from public scrutiny himself.

Even before these testy blog posts Loren Martell predicted this breach between Chuck and me. He speculated that Chuck was bitter because he felt betrayed after having endorsed me for the Board in 2013.

About number 2, Alanna told me after her interview that another candidate, Jane Hoffman, told the editors that she had met Art through Alanna. This was not accurate and Alanna was sure that Hoffman’s comment had ruined her chances of the endorsement. I don’t think so. It might have confirmed guilt by association in Chuck’s eyes but I think the fix was in to snub Alanna even before she was interviewed. After all they told her they were only going to endorse a single candidate before the Interviews took place.

Thirdly, its possible that school board members and/or administrators made a case against Alanna to the Editors. Such lobbying has happened in the past but rarely with happy results. A few years ago after one such visit the editors crowed that the District would soon get to spend $32 million in Red Plan savings. The Trib is still picking egg off its face over that miscall. Then after the Judge stymied the Board’s attempt to remove Art a delegation trooped over to tell the Editors that Art hadn’t been victorious. That’s just what incredulous readers saw in the next day’s editorial. Of course, it’s also possible that Chuck concluded on his own that the best means to a peaceful school board is to make sure that Rosie and Judy Seliga-Punyko’s heirs carry on their battle with us for the next two years.

There is one more plausible explanation for Chuck’s heavy thumbprint. Mr. Frederick really believes what he wrote about Alanna. To wit:

“[Oswald’s involvement] can leave voters concerned about adding another member to the School Board concerned with exploiting problems rather than solving them and with being divisive rather than cooperative.”

This is so ridiculous it leaves me to wonder whether the Editorial Board reads its own paper. Alanna Oswald was the spark behind one of the most important and positive school related stories in the Tribune last year. It demonstrates Alanna’s claim to be a “problem solver.” It was a big problem ten years in the making not that our school Administration ever thanked her for its being solved. Quite the contrary.

That’s coming up next.

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