November 2, 2006

ProJo: Here's Why We Flip-Flopped on Casino

Marc Comtois

The ProJo disavows conspiracy theories and tries to explain why it changed it's mind on the casino:

The editorial speaks for itself, but we repeat here that the prospect of more jobs for Rhode Islanders, especially for hard-pressed low-income people, including immigrants, was the overwhelming factor.
That's it. One run-on sentence of explanation as to why 12 years of previous editorials against a RI casino now mean nothing. The rest of the piece is a too-inside baseball explanation of "how an editorial is written." In short, they devoted the meat of the editorial explaining to us ignorant rubes how really smart editorialists go through the process of editorializing.

That wasn't the question, guys.

What we want to know is how a newspaper that has previously doubted that a casino will deliver high-quality, well-paying, economically stable jobs can now--after 12 years of making these anti-casino arguments--turn around and say "Vote Yes on 1" because a casino will deliver "more jobs for Rhode Islanders, especially for hard-pressed low-income people, including immigrants."

What about putting our efforts into long-term economic development instead of a quick-fix casino? What about the damage that a large, economically dominant casino will do to the quality of life in Rhode Island? What about the burden to our government services (police, fire, roads, infrastructure) that haven't been properly accounted for? What happened to all of these other concerns? Well?

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Money talks. The money Harrah's is sending to Belo HQ in Dallas screams.

Posted by: Rhody at November 2, 2006 11:03 AM

Do people still read the Providence Journal? Never mind taking their advice?

Posted by: John at November 2, 2006 12:27 PM

Nah. I OCCASIONALLY read it online. I had to threaten a harrassment charge to get them to stop calling me to buy the paper. I kept asking them "Why would I buy your crappy paper when I can read all the news online?"

Posted by: Greg at November 2, 2006 1:22 PM

I appreciate the sentiment re: no one reads 'em. But this isn't about whether you read them or whether you take their advice (btw, I think "endorsements" are way overblown). But the fact is, a lot of average RIers do read the ProJo. More importantly, the ProJo drives much of the news cycle hereabouts, like it or not, and both talk radio and TV at least take a peak at what the ProJo is covering.

Posted by: Marc Comtois at November 2, 2006 1:36 PM

(More quotes from their editorial)

" ... the publisher, as the leader of the business called The Providence Journal, is the arbiter of what will appear in the editorials. That's because these unsigned essays are meant to represent the views of the company as an institution ..."

"Editorial writing occurs in a collegial setting, but is not a democracy -- any more than any other business."

An interesting emphasis on the newspaper as a business.

It is a business, of course. But not like "any other business". Aren't there implicit obligations? For example, when a newspaper advocates for a candidate or on an issue, shouldn't some consideration be given to the good of the state as a whole?

It is not at all clear that this was a factor when they formulated their (most recent) stance on a casino.

Posted by: SusanD at November 2, 2006 2:34 PM

Perhaps this is related to the Projo's endorsement of Patrick Lynch based on the "good job" he has done....

Posted by: Anthony at November 2, 2006 4:24 PM

or the stellar endorsement they gave to Ciccilini for the job he's done. Maybe elsewhere, but not the East Side, lest one considers the 'traffic-calming' curbs that now jut out into the middle of the street.....

Sleep tight, Providence. The Journal is watching over our little towne...

Posted by: Jihad Jake at November 2, 2006 7:02 PM

Not to be pedantic (I know, I know), but that isn't a run-on sentence. A run-on occurs only when multiple independent clauses (i.e., subject + verb phrase combinations) are joined without some sort of conjunction or adequate punctuation. For example: "The editorial speaks for itself we repeat here...". If the author includes comma+conjuction (e.g., ", and"), semicolons, or colons, then sentences can go on forever without being run-ons.

Somewhere along the line, grade school teachers decided that "run-on" and "really long" were synonymous, and the English language has paid the price ever since.

Posted by: Justin Katz at November 2, 2006 7:36 PM

So the Fountain St. spin on the great casino flip flop is the publisher did it?
That begs this question, why have none of the numerous editorial board members who have their own columns in the newspaper, including the great good government fraud himself Ed Achorn, used that space to opine on the pitfalls of this Harrah's scam?
Yet we're supposed to believe the pro-casino flip flop was not sanctioned by or agreed to with this editorial board but was forced down their throats by their publisher?
Not buying their explanation just as I don't buy their newspaper.
This is and was all about ad revenue for the ProJo.
They have no credibility left.

Posted by: Tim at November 2, 2006 10:01 PM

Whew! I thought I was the only one that saw the Projo explanation as no explanation at all.

They wrote an editorial that was completely contrary to anything they have ever written before, offering no explanation for their change of position, then write to explain the change without actually explaining anything at all!

My conclusion? REJECT question 1.

Posted by: Ben at November 3, 2006 12:16 AM

Maybe you thought I didn't read you...Not often, but when I can!

I'm not sure where I stand - No, I do know! I don't think it is a good idea. I have been unlucky enough to stand next to the little old lady (or man) that obviously does not have the disposable income to spend their "leisure time" at the casino. It just makes you sad.

Email me to confirm that you saw me here.

Posted by: Andrew at November 3, 2006 8:40 PM

It it just me or did the so-called explanation of the ProJo flip-flop appear only on and not in print? And, it seems it only was posted online until the bosses woke up in the morning and realized it was posted? If you try to find it now, it's disappeared completely from the site. Poof!

Perhaps there are a few people at the ProJo who aren't too happy with their bosses decision to undermine their journalistic integrity.

Posted by: Ante Up at November 5, 2006 12:15 PM