Conspiracy Theory: Why is The Plain Dealer Being Mean to Kucinich?


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MarketWatch carries a story today about alleged presidential aspirant Dennis Kucinich’s refusal to speak to The Plain Dealer. To Clevelanders, it’s not particularly surprising. The congressman has long been the quintessential pol who prefers photo ops and press conferences to pointed questions. He’s made a habit of bailing on debates with virtually all of his challengers. And local reporters with the temerity to question his moves have been met in the past with the kind of manufactured outrage usually found when interviewing religious Republicans. But Kucinich fans, desperate for a real candidate on the left, seem quick to overlook his storied history of hypocrisy. They prefer to believe there’s a conspiracy afoot, and that The Plain Dealer is still nursing a 30-year-old grudge involving his disastrous turn as mayor. Wrote Jean Robertson to MarketWatch: "There are some personalities at the Plain Dealer that have a 40-year hate on Dennis Kucinich. There have been some hard feelings over all these years and they can be very petty about it. ... If Kucinich isn't talking to people at the PD, it's because what they want to talk about isn't important to his mission as he sees it. They are provincial and can't stand it that he's consistently right and feel he is arrogant about it." Never mind that few people from that era remain at The PD, including almost all the top editors. And never mind that the paper has been rather restrained in its criticism of Kucinich – even though his candidacy is highly unpopular in Cleveland, and he was crushed in his own district during his last White House run. The paper’s most pointed article to date – a story about Kucinich ignoring his district to campaign elsewhere – merely reflected a common complaint among West Siders. And it quite politely pointed out the obvious: When Kucinich was snuggling up to blue collar Catholics, he was happy to paint himself and anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage. Now that he’s applying for the job of The New Paul Wellstone, he’s become Captain Granola, conveniently disavowing all the things he used to tell us. He is, in short, the Democratic version of Mitt Romney. Reporters may agree that he’s right on a lot of issues, but they also know he’s a flaming narcissist – quite possibly mentally ill -- who will do or say anything to win affection. So don’t bag on The Plain Dealer. His supporters should just be thankful the national press hasn’t figured this out. – Pete Kotz


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