Murtha & The Post-Gazette: Western PA's Culture of Corruption
I mention all these people because some individuals at the P-G -- including David Shribman, the cautious and fussy editor -- regard me as someone who HATES the publication indiscriminately. I do criticize the P-G's editorial policy, because I believe it's almost totally unreflective and ultimately harmful to the region and the nation.
I've criticized some P-G journalists, now gone, who seemed to be doing little more than sucking up to the far-left Block family that owns the paper. One of them was "Washington correspondent Ann McFeatters, whom I labeled the paper's "Roseann Roseanna Dan."
Another Block favorite might be Milan Simonich, who surfaces from time to time to belabor people he regards as conservatives. In the 2004 campaign, Simonich wrote several articles about the "Swiftboat Veterans for Truth" that were in line with paper's editorials excoriating the Swifties.
I accused both Simonich and editorial page editor Tom Waseleski of never actually talking to a member of the Swift Boat veterans, a large group including many Viet Nam War heroes. To my horror, they never denied my charge! What kind of newspaper doesn't talk to both sides?
I've also condemned the P-G's mindless endorsements of political candidates and judges who were later indicted and sent to jail. I've criticized the endorsement of other people -- including former Mayor Tom Murphy -- who ended up as "unindicted co-conspirators."
Overall, I've expressed my exasperation at the P-G's failure to investigate fully the culture of bribery, extortion, and vote-buying that reigns in western Pennsylvania. The newspaper has no real interest in looking into the landfill of corruption surrounding the office of one John Murtha, congressman from the 12th District of Pennsylvania.
What was Congresssman Murtha's role in enriching his brother Kit Murtha, a lobbyist. What has been Murtha's role in enriching his former staffer Paul Magliochetti, a lobbyist for various firms benefiting financially from the congressman's role in doling out defense contracts? You won't find answers by reading the Post-Gazette.
Congresspedia continues: "The PMA Group is the sixth highest campaign contributor to Murtha's congressional career giving $105,500 since 1989. Murtha has helped secure millions in earmarks for the clients of the PMA Group, which also happen to be some of his top career campaign contributors."
Gee, is this true? Short answer: yes. What is the Post-Gazette, which calls itself "one of America's great newspapers," doing about the obvious conflicts of interest? Short answer: nothing.
Magliochetti and his PMA group are directly or indirectly responsible not just for pouring $105,000 into Murtha's overflowing campaign coffers but rather well over a half-million dollars.
Diana Lynn Irey, Murtha's opponent in the 2006 congressional election, said the companies Murtha funneled money to -- and which funneled some of the money back into his campaign -- were getting a return on their investment of nearly 100 to 1! As you may recall, Murtha's campaign spending to overcome Diana totaled about $3.2 million, funding that in a relative sense overcame Hillary Clinton's campaign moneyfest.
I don't know what John Murtha, Kit Murtha, and Paul Magliochetti have on the P-G's owners that keep the newspaper so silent on this disgraceful -- and I believe, thoroughly illegal -- situation. I do know what the P-G should have on them, but apparently doesn't. In my heart of hearts, I believe many people at the paper would like to take on people like Murtha, but since he's a Democrat and hero of the left they're not allowed to do so.
For most local journalists, Paul Magliochetti, Kit Murtha, and their associates seem to be as hard to find as Osama bin Laden and his merry men. One local TV station -- KDKA -- has a full-time journalist, Jon Delano, but she's such a shill for the Dems that he might as well appear dressed in a donkey costume.
The culture of Western Pennsylvania has been one where every businessperson eventually runs into a politician with his hand out. Maybe a person like person like Murtha and his minions don't count as "news." If everybody is doing it, what's the big deal?
(My next column, posted later today or early tomorrow, will deal with P-G columnist Reg Henry.)
Truth in blogging: I contributed to SwiftBoat Veterans for Truth and supported all their efforts.