Post-Dispatch Omits One Important Element From Article About Weldon Spring Cancer Report

Imagine my surprise when I awoke this morning to find the St. Louis Post-Dispatch had finally published something about the latest Weldon Spring Cancer Report, issued stealthily by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services late last year, but failed to give credit where credit is due — to me!

Click image to read relates stories.

On Jan. 23, I was the only investigative reporter on the planet to publish an article about the existence of the new report, known officially as the Analysis of Leukemia Incidence and Mortality Data for St. Charles County, Weldon Spring and Surrounding Areas December 2011 (Update to April 2005 Report) and unofficially as the “Weldon Spring Update” or “2011 Weldon Spring Cancer Inquiry Report.”  Had it not been for my report, it’s very likely that no one would have learned about the MDHSS report released to me Dec. 29 at 5:04 p.m. after nine months of “birddogging” by yours truly.

Eleven days later, Post-Dispatch medical reporter Blythe Bernhard contacted me about the story I had published.  Of course, she asked me to explain my interest in the story and to recount how I had come to obtain the report, etc.  In addition, she asked me to put her in contact with some of the people mentioned in my piece.

This morning, Bernhard’s story included only one mention of me in the form of this comment:

“When you have something like this you don’t hide it; you at least let people know because they paid for it, especially people in the affected areas,” said Bob McCarty, who lives in the county and writes a political blog. “I’m not an environmentalist. I’ve never hugged a tree. If it’s all good, so be it, but the one thing they need to do is communicate better.”

While I’m pleased that the story received more attention, I’m disgusted — but not surprised — that the Post-Dispatch took the approach to the story that they did.  It’s no wonder the Lee Enterprises-owned newspaper filed for bankruptcy protection last year.

EDITOR’S NOTE:  To read my stories about the Weldon Spring Site and related stories, click here.

UPDATE 2/22/12 at 8:15 p.m. Central:  Below are links to other local media outlets that picked up on the story I broke Jan. 23:

Geochemist Highly Critical of Weldon Spring Report (CBS Local)

Daily Dose: Report on Cancer Risk at Weldon Springs is Questioned (Patch.com)

Health Advocates Criticize State Report on Weldon Spring (KMOX)

Be sure to check out my new book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice.

UPDATE 3/15/12 at 9:41 p.m. Central:  I noticed today that the St. Louis Post-Dispatch scrubbed almost 30 comments from their Feb. 20 story about the Weldon Spring Site.  Makes on wonder why they got rid of the comments.

‘SniderGate’ Details Begin to Surface in Illinois (Update)

Three days ago, I shared news about powerful Illinois Democrats circling their wagons to protect one of their own after a St. Patrick’s Day incident at a Carlinville, Ill., tavern.  In the final paragraph of that post, I wrote:

When — not if — more details do surface, this story has potential to become the “Story of the Year” in Illinois.  Until then, Dan Riehl offers more about the story and the media coverage it has received to date in a piece published today at BigGovernment.com.

Some much-anticipated details about events that lead to Ken Snider resigning from his posts as chair of the Macoupin County (Ill.) Democrat Party and president of the local school board (a.k.a., “SniderGate”) surfaced in an article and an accompanying editorial published today in the Macoupin County Enquirer-Democrat weekly newspaper.

Mum’s the Word

The article, appearing under the headline, Investigation into Snider’s resignations stonewalled, recapped some of the basic aspects of the controversy before offering the paragraphs below under the subhead, “Mum’s the Word”:

Although the newspaper has questioned many eyewitnesses in an effort to obtain the details of the incident, no one would go on  record as to what took place. Sources contacted have repeatedly said they are afraid to come forward with any facts concerning the alleged altercation between Snider and a Blackburn College student.

The newspaper sent its reporter Daniel Winningham to BC last Tuesday to learn more about the incident. Winningham visited the campus around noon and asked several students if they had heard of the incident and whether they had any knowledge of the incident, which occurred at the Anchor Inn.

Shortly after 5:30 p.m., Carlinville police officers entered the newspaper office looking for a person  named “Dave.” The police were told there is no “Dave” employed at the newspaper. The officer then made a call, and whoever the officer called could not remember the reporter’s name. A newspaper employee then asked if they meant Dan or Daniel. The officer said, “Ya, that’s who we need to talk to.” When Winningham talked to the officers, they told him that BC had accused him of harassing students, and he was to never step foot on the campus again.

It went on to describe how, it appears, officials at Blackburn College reached the conclusion that the reporter — by asking questions that were sure to make some Illinois Democrats, including Gov. Pat Quinn and Snider, uncomfortable — should be banned from campus.

According to the newspaper account, five hours passed between the time the reporter left the college campus and Ashley Call, a BC student working in the security department, called police about the reporter’s behavior that they described as “harassment.”

The article also included mention of college president Miriam Pride’s call for newspaper reporters to go through security in the future despite having covered numerous on-campus events in the past without incident:

“We resent being accused of something we did not do,” Enquirer~Democrat managing editor Louise Jett said. “No harassment took place. If anything, the college is bullying us by filing false reports and stifling our First Amendment rights.”

Incredibly, both the BC student allegedly involved in the incident and his mother refuse to speak, the newspaper reported.  In addition, the city of Carlinville refuses to release the police report despite the fact that the investigation of the incident was handed over to the Illinois State Police, who also refuse to discuss the matter.

Editorial

Published under the headline, Mum’s the word on St. Patrick’s Day incident, the newspaper’s editorial about the incident began with a simple statement about the issue:  Should the newspaper be allowed to question Blackburn students about an incident, which took place off campus? It was followed by an “Our View” statement:  Yes. The First Amendment should not be stifled in any circumstances.

Everything else one needs to know about this cover-up can be found in the first two paragraphs of the editorial:

Carlinville made a name for itself last week in both the state and national media and it was not a good one. Ditto for Blackburn College who now can boast it called the police on one of our reporters who was questioning Blackburn students about an incident involving their student and a state police officer. “What is going on in that town,” was the mantra of people unfamiliar with Carlinville, and “Everyone knows what happened but no one is going to talk about it on the record,” was the mantra by those in Carlinville.

While countless media have literally taken a crack at the story, the fact remains that very few facts about the incident have been substantiated by any governing authority and that is where the problem lies and why Carlinville now has an ugly black mark on its reputation of being a community who treats all individuals with dignity and respect.

No doubt, we will learn more about “SniderGate” and the chain of events involved in it.  It’s just a matter of time.

UPDATE 4/1/11 at 10:05 a.m. Central: Cross-posted at Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com.

UPDATE 4/3//11 at 4:41 p.m. Central: Someone VERY close to this story contacted me last night and said this matter is “actually much bigger than the reports are stating.” I expect to be able to report more soon.

UPDATE 4/5/11 at 7:17 a.m. Central: Blackburn College student Bryan Reynolds was interviewed by a reporter from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about his altercation with Ken Snider.  The story that followed seems to confirm our previous reports from Carlinville.

Stay tuned!

FYI: If you enjoy this blog and want to keep reading stories like the one above, show your support by using the “Support Bob” tool at right. Thanks in advance for your support!

Missouri House Speaker Steve Tilley Has Bad Day (Update)

Today might go down in the history books as a bad day for new Missouri House Speaker Steve Tilley, a Republican from Perryville, Mo.

First, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran an article within which the term “race baiting” was used to describe a member of the St. Louis Tea Party Coalition who had written a blog post about the issue of state versus local control of the St. Louis Police Department — a hot issue lately.

Next, I published an early-afternoon snippet (below) on my Facebook page:

Five days ago, I shared a post [http://bobmccarty.com/?p=36355] about local control of the St. Louis PD. It included a video from a Reboot Congress post. Today, Reboot’s post was mentioned in a St. Louis Post-Dispatch article [http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/political-fix/article_279adc6e-3eaf-11e0-a3ae-0017a4a78c22.html] as “race baiting.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

A short while later, I was copied on a news release (below) from the St. Louis Tea Party Coalition:

St. Louis Tea Party Coalition Admonishes Tilley for “Race-Baiting”

(February 22, 2012) The St Louis Tea Party Coalition publicly admonishes Missouri House Speaker Steve Tilley for “race-baiting” accusations aimed directly at the organization.  House Speaker Tilley lobbed these accusations while speaking on the house floor just minutes before a vote on HB 71, better known as Local Control.

“We truly regret that Speaker Tilley has chosen to make the vote over Local Control an issue of race, as opposed to what is truly best for the citizens of the city of St. Louis,” Bill Hennessy, Co-Founder of the St. Louis Tea Party Coalition, said in reaction to Tilley.

This controversy grew out of a blog post from Reboot Congress in which the author ties Rep. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, and sponsor of HB 71, to the New Black Panther’s Organization, none of which has been denied.  That same blog post also raised question as to Tilley’s judgement in assigning HB 71 to the Urban Issues Committee, the same Committee he had assigned  Nasheed to Chair.  Blogger Darin Morely notes, “The focus has always been on Tilley’s judgment, not on Nasheed, whose life story has been a redemptive one.”

The St Louis Tea Party Coalition has a long history in denouncing racism at its root.  The organization was the first to advocate for Kenneth Gladney, a black man,  in April of ‘09 after being beaten by SEIU Union members outside of a local town hall meeting.  The group has also displayed unprecedented vigilance at rallies, sending teams of video bloggers armed with cameras into crowds to publicly denounce any racism to be found, though it should be noted that racism was rarely found.  Co-Founder, and Conservative talk-show host Dana Loesch duked out accusations of racism within the organization on several prime-time national media outlets last summer.  It should also be noted that the NAACP found no evidence of racism within the St. Louis Tea Party Coalition.

“It appears to me that it is Speaker Tilley who is doing the actual race-baiting here,” said Martin Baker, another member of the St. Louis Tea Party Coalition.  Steve Tilley, current Speaker of the House in the State of Missouri, was initially elected in 2004.  In the 2010 election cycle, Tilley received $200,000 from billionaire investor Rex Sinquefield, to run an uncontested primary and general election.  While we understand Tilley’s need to please his handlers on this issue, his statements on the House floor were unwarranted.

To top it off, I came across another Reboot Congress post about Speaker Tilley’s “astroturfing” efforts in relationship to the upcoming Lincoln Days, a statewide GOP event Feb. 25-27 in Springfield.

Though I don’t know Speaker Tilley at all, what I’ve read about him lately isn’t very flattering.

UDPATE 2/24/11 at 3:57 p.m. Central: Dana Loesch interviewed Speaker Tilley on her radio show this afternoon to discuss this matter. I recommend anyone listen to her podcast — go here — as soon as it’s posted. I listed, but don’t want to taint your opinion of the discussion. Listen and decide for yourself. Good job, Dana!

UPDATE 2/25/11 at 9:37 a.m. Central: The podcast is up on The Dana Show web site. See “2:24 Steve Tilley.”  Unfortunately, Dana’s post-interview commentary isn’t on the podcast, but a new post at BigJournalism.com seems to sum up well what she said.

FYI: If you enjoy this blog and want to keep reading stories like the one above, show your support by using the “Support Bob” tool at right. Thanks in advance for your support!

Name of ‘Potato Lady’ Left Off Candidates List

You might remember the post I published Jan. 11 about Dolores Sherman, the so-called “potato lady” running for a board of aldermen seat in St. Peters, Mo.  Well, word on the street is that the 85-year-old self-employed grandmother has turned into even more of a “hot potato” than I thought she might when I published the video below.

Now, the latest…

On the same day I shared news about Sherman’s candidacy, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran a Mark Schlinkmann article, Ex-St. Charles councilman, “potato lady” file for St. Peters alderman.  In it, Sherman received minimal-but-accurate coverage, largely the result of the candidate’s efforts to provide basic information about her candidacy to the newspaper.

Six days later, reporter Russell Korando’s story, Bob Morrison joins Ward 4 race in St. Peters, appeared in the P-D’s sister publication, Suburban Journals. Included in the article were the names of incumbents Don Aytes, Judy Bateman, Gus Elliott and Dave Thomas as well as challengers John Durajczyk, Bob Morrison, John Scherr and Terri Violet.  Sherman’s name, however, was missing. 

Read the article, Bob Morrison joins Ward 4 race in St. Peters, as it appeared online Tuesday afternoon, and you won’t notice the glaring omission.  There’s not even a mention that the story required correction.

Read the screen grab (below) of the last paragraph of the article — as it appeared in error for some 36 hours, minus Sherman’s name — and you being to appreciate the uphill climb Sherman’s facing a little more.

Click to enlarge.

Not one to get too wrapped up in local politics, I’ll describe this dicey situation by borrowing and modifying a line from Shakespeare: “Something’s au gratin in Denmark!”

More to come…

FYI: If you enjoy this blog and want to keep reading stories like the one above, show your support by using the “Support Bob” tool at right. Thanks in advance for your support!

85-Year-Old ‘Potato Lady’ Running for Office (Update)

Maybe St. Peters’ ‘potato lady’ should be mayor.

The words above appeared as the headline of a St. Louis Post-Dispatch article Nov. 27, 2005, and could be considered prophetic if not for the fact that the woman in question, Dolores Sherman, isn’t running for mayor.

Sherman, 85, is running for one of two Ward One seats on the Board of Aldermen in St. Peters, Mo., the city in which she says she was prosecuted more than five years ago for a crime she didn’t commit and dubbed, “The Potato Lady.”

A mother and grandmother who owns and operates a seasonal crafts business in St. Peters, Sherman filed for the alderman post late Tuesday morning.  During a mid-afternoon news conference the same day, she detailed her belief that St. Peters city officials were involved in her unfair prosecution and other events leading to it and need to be replaced.

“I want to make people aware of what happened to me for an incident that should have never occurred,” Sherman said.  “I was railroaded!

“They accused me of throwing a red potato, and I said, ‘I don’t have red potatoes, I have Idaho, six inchers, baking potatoes,’” she continued, recalling a conversation she had Sept. 24, 2004, with two St. Peters police officers who had responded her home after receiving a complaint phoned in by one of Sherman’s neighbors in the suburb 20 miles west of St. Louis.  “But they gave me a citation — a peace disturbance, then the city prosecuted me.

“Why does a city, more or less, sue an 80-year-old lady for something they probably knew I did not commit?” she asked rhetorically before comparing St. Peters to a much-larger city.

“If you think Chicago is the only pay-and-play arena, huh-uh,” she said before pointing to tables in front of her and around the room that were covered with stacks of documents she said prove her case.  “And if you don’t believe it, just look.”

On March 29, 2005, St. Peters Municipal Court Judge Ronald Brockmeyer ordered Sherman to serve 12 months probation, pay a $125.07 probation fee and pay hundreds more for an anger management class, she explained.

The election for aldermen seats is set for April 5.  By then, residents of Ward One should be familiar with Sherman’s tongue-in-cheek campaign slogan:  “This spud’s for you!”

Stay tuned for more on this campaign!

FYI: If you enjoy this blog and want to keep reading stories like the one above, show your support by using the “Support Bob” tool at right. Thanks in advance for your support!

UPDATE #1 1/15/11 at 7:07 p.m. Central: Cross-posted on Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com.

UPDATE #2 1/17/11 at 1:44 p.m. Central: For more info about other candidates running for alderman seats, see this St. Louis Post-Dispatch article.

UPDATE #3 1/17/11 at 8:15 p.m. Central: This evening, I learned the 85-year-old’s fledgling campaign is off to a rough start with the help of the local newspaper.  Here’s a brief rundown:

On Jan. 11, the Suburban Journals — owned by Lee Newspapers’ St. Louis Post-Dispatch — ran the story, Ex-St. Charles councilman, “potato lady” file for St. Peters alderman. In that story, Sherman received minimal-but-accurate coverage as a candidate in the race. Six days later, the newspaper’s coverage of Sherman’s candidacy took a turn for the worse.

In a story published today under the headline, Bob Morrison joins Ward 4 race in St. Peters, writer Russell Korando omitted Sherman’s name from the story. Of course, he included the names of incumbents Don Aytes, Judy Bateman, Gus Elliott and Dave Thomas as well as challengers John Durajczyk, John Scherr and Terri Violet. But Sherman’s name was missing, raising the question, “Why?”

I’ll try to find out the answers tomorrow morning — or let my readers know if a correction has been printed. City offices were closed today for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

Stay tuned!

Saint Louis Making Democrat Convention Bid (Update)

You’ll have to excuse me for the oversight, but I just found out that the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission is preparing a bid to host the Democratic National Convention in 2012.  And I’m pretty stoked about it!

Why didn’t I know about it before now?  Perhaps, its because I’m not a regular or frequent reader of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and I’m not on any Democrat Party mailing lists.  Nevertheless, I’m excited about the possibility of St. Louis turning into a target-rich environment — full of people like Tea Party provocateur Steve Belosi — for area conservatives like me.

According to the StL2012.org web site, the convention will take place the week of Sept. 3, 2012, and stands as an opportunity to build on St. Louis’ success in hosting high-profile events such as the historic visit of Pope John Paul II in 1999 where more than 104,000 gathered for what was the largest assembly in the nation’s history. Should the host committee be successful in its bid, St. Louis will welcome an estimated 50,000 delegates, VIPs, media and visitors to the Gateway City.

The economic impact on the region will be huge, too.  At stake is an anticipated economic benefit of approximately $266 million.

The St. Louis 2012 Convention Exploratory Committee’s bid will be submitted to the DNC on May 21, 2010

To keep up with the status of the bid, follow the Committee’s Twitter feed, @STLdnc2012 (see inset in photo above), and follow mine as well:  @BloggingMachine.

UPDATE 7/01/10 at 7:24 a.m. Central: According to a report in yesterday’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Gateway City has made it to the final four of cities vying to host the event.  Also in the running are Charlotte, Cleveland and Minneapolis.

Bill Mauldin Immortalized on Postage Stamp

Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Bill Mauldin today received one of the nation’s highest honors in being featured on a U.S. postage stamp. The 44-cents stamp was dedicated at the New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe, N.M., and goes on sale nationwide today.

During World War II, Mauldin’s cartoons, appearing in Stars and Stripes, made him a hero to many in the military. His sympathy for “dogfaces,” the slang term for soldiers in the infantry, was clearly expressed through his characters Willie and Joe, who gave their military audiences a hearty laugh and civilians an idea of what life was like for soldiers.

My Dad, Circa 1944

In 1945 Mauldin won the first of his two Pulitzers “for distinguished service as a cartoonist” and the Allied high command awarded him its Legion of Merit. His illustrated memoir, “Up Front,” was a bestseller. That same year, his “dogface” Willie appeared on the cover of Time.

In 1958, he took a job as a cartoonist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the following year he won a second Pulitzer for his cartoon portraying Boris Pasternak, author of “Doctor Zhivago,” as a Soviet prisoner.

U.S. Postal Service art director Terry McCaffrey chose to honor Mauldin through a combination of photography and an example of Mauldin’s art. The photo of Mauldin is by John Phillips, a photographer for Life magazine; it was taken in Italy on Dec. 31, 1943. Mauldin’s cartoon, showing his characters Willie and Joe, is used courtesy of the 45th Infantry Division Museum in Oklahoma City, Okla.

EDITOR’S NOTE: My dad was one of those “dog faces” for whom Mauldin had sympathy.  To read “My Father’s War Stories from World War II,” click here or on the photo of my father, above.