Connie Schultz Gets Some (Polite) Payback

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What’s it like to have a Pulitzer winner swing her prize at you in print? Some folks at The Plain Dealer just found out. PD columnist Connie Schultz’s new memoir hit bookstores last week. And His Lovely Wife chronicles the 2006 campaign of her husband, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown. But Schultz also ruminates on her employer’s campaign coverage and takes some swings at colleagues in the process. Some co-workers are called out for breaking basic rules of journalism: Reporter Steve Koff, Schultz writes, wrote a critical story about the letter without even giving Brown a head’s up. Bill Sloat, then the paper’s Cincinnati reporter, called then-editor Doug Clifton when he learned that Schultz was married to a congressman. But anyone who read the paper knew Schultz and Brown were married, Schultz writes. “Does he not read the paper he writes for?” Schultz asked Clifton. But perhaps no one takes more heat than editorial writer Joe Frolik, who broke the 11th Commandment: “Thou Shalt Not Be A Dick To Someone You Had Thanksgiving With.” Frolik, Schultz writes, is a close family friend, yet he spared nothing in a blistering attack on Brown in the early stages of the campaign. What’s worse: He didn’t even tell them it was coming. “I knew that Sherrod’s race would be scrutinized at every turn,” Schultz writes. “But I could not accept that after more than 20 years of friendship, there was no warning that my friend’s column was coming.” Punch would have responded a bit less politely, perhaps introducing the hood of Frolik’s car to our good friend Mr. Tire Iron. But Schultz, apparently well balanced, tells Punch that she alerted Frolik that the passage was coming. “Joe and I have made our peace,” she says. Which may be the adult thing to do, but it isn’t as fun. – Joe P. Tone

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