What’s a newspaper to do when given an exclusive interview with the governor during a pandemic that has ravaged the state’s economy and rioting that has ravaged the capital city? Would you push against answers that are not true?
If you’re The Columbus Dispatch, you allow Gov. Mike DeWine to talk about the “quick” reopening of the state, his walks with his dog Dolly and how he social distances with his grandkids.
In other words, you write an Ode to DeWine.
Oh, and you ask several tough questions about President Donald Trump, and then you ask if the governor has cried in the past few months.
In an interview on the governor’s farm in Cedarville, reporters Lucas Sullivan and Mike Wagner allowed DeWine to paint himself as a compassionate leader who emphasizes with down-on-their-luck unemployed folks and those who hope to attend Ohio State football games in the fall.
The interview is available here.
One question was:
What’s your message to the hundreds of thousands of folks who have lost their jobs, or response to the businesses that have closed, or those who point to an expected increase in suicides and mental health problems, an increase in domestic violence rates or other ussies (sic) that factor into the cost of the shutdown?
This is why we have been fairly fast to open up. Now we have Ohioans who think we are opening up too fast. We have Ohioans who think we are opening up too slow. And there are some Ohioans who think we are opening up OK.
We know we couldn’t remain shut down. And we know for all the reasons that you stated that life has to go on. But our ability for life to go on, and our ability to work and do some of the things that they find enjoyable, for that to happen we have to keep the spread down.
DeWine and Dr. Amy Acton opened the state so “fast” that gym owners and other businesses had to take them to court for the right to reopen and try to save their livelihoods, and the administration assembled restaurant police to force eateries and bars into submission with his guidelines.
The Dispatch reporters asked DeWine if he was troubled by police’s use of tear gas in the Columbus riots, not whether the governor should have protected public property. DeWine said the protests were “hijacked” by a few. He also said he does not know if he would kneel to protesters.
Meanwhile, last Friday, DeWine issued a statement saying he shared with the Ohio State Patrol his “anger and disgust” at the defacement of the Statehouse, The Ohio Star reported.
– – –
Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.