Monday, June 2, 2014

IndyStar Fails Journalistic Ethics Test

In two days, the Metropolitan Development Commission will vote on a $3 Million bond to enrich the Indianapolis Star owners by improving the existing Star building, thereby increasing its sales price.  Resolution 2014-B-002 bundles the "Pulliam Square" and the "Millikan-On-Mass" projects for a total of $5.5 Million in taxpayer dollars.  The project has already been through the MDC's Economic Development Committee and has been discussed at its Pre-Meeting.

The $3 Million gift from Mayor Greg Ballard to the Indianapolis Star has been in the works literally for months.  When approached by the Ballard folks about the gift, the Star could have said, "No thank you.  Such a handout would cloud the credibility we have built with our readers, and set up the perception of a conflict of interest."

But, they did not.

They also failed to alert readers of the many editorials and opinion pieces penned during these months, that supported Ballard or scolded those who did not agree with the Administration's policies, of Ballard's gift. 

The readers had an absolute right to know, and the Star had an absolute obligation to inform them, that they were awaiting $3 Million of taxpayer money.  Each reader had the right to decide for themselves if Ballard's gift was irrelevant to a Star position, slanted an editorial stance, or outright bought and paid for the Star employee's praise.  Each reader has the right to decide for themselves if this is an advance payment for another endorsement of candidate Greg Ballard in next year's run for re-election.

The Indianapolis Star failed its readers.  They also failed this fundamental test of its Journalistic Ethics.


Gary R. Welsh said...

What we also don't know were the details behind the Star's move into the publicly-subsidized Circle Center Mall in which Gannett has a financial interest based on the investment of the Star's previous owner. The Star supports all of the public giveaways for downtown projects. Is it now getting its share for lending the support of its news and editorial pages all of these years?

Had Enough Indy? said...

While the part of the Mall that the IndyStar intends to occupy belongs to Nordstrums, one cannot help but suspect that the City had to sign off on turning the prime Mall anchor spot into just another office building.

Its obvious, though, that the taxpayers are dishing it out for the Star in both places.

Anonymous said...

I'm shocked, shocked.

Had Enough Indy? said...

Me, too !