More than four thousand people have read my blogs on Medicaid, Food Stamps and Welfare. Post-Standard Managing Editor Stan Linhorst, take note: the people want to know and you aren’t telling them. Your readership is way down and one of the things you blame it on is the Internet. What about the Internet is causing your readership to drop? It is that people can go on the Internet and find the information that you fail to provide for them.
I have done the work you should have done. I have gotten the data and broken it down into stories that people can understand. In short, I am a good reporter. If you would stop mewling and puking about the newspaper’s imminent demise then maybe your newspaper wouldn’t be in such bad shape. Your newspapers are in boxes in every lobby and by the cash register in every coffee shop. You have a much wider and more effective distribution system than I do. If you’d been running my stories, your readership would have been substantially larger than mine.
Why aren’t you reporting the news the people are interested in? Are you really that far out of touch with what matters to your readers? Is it that you don’t know that taxpayer’s are desperate to know where their money is going? The cost of Medicaid is killing us—who is getting it, and why? Why isn’t the Post-Standard reporting the story?
My research indicates that the social services caseload is not black people and Welfare. It is black and white people in the city having sex, producing children, and the father abandoning the children and their mother. Mothers do not abandon their children. If they did, we’d be turning all the vacant downtown buildings into orphanages. Men are not stepping up and paying the bills for their children and the children’s mothers, who are working raising the kids. Single women and their children on Medicaid constitute the largest group of people getting government aid.
Why isn’t the Post-Standard doing the research and reporting the story? There can be no useful public dialogue about how to solve the problem if nobody knows what the problem is. The editors and publisher of the Post-Standard most certainly must be aware of the racist comments being posted on Syracuse.com, and yet they do not publish any factual reports to counteract the racism. They let it run, unchallenged by the facts.
Why? Is it because the editors and publisher themselves are racist? I have no idea. All my requests to meet with them have been refused. Is it because they are out of touch with their readers? Is it because they don’t want to deal with an informed citizenry?
In the 1980’s, the governor sent a special prosecutor into Onondaga County to investigate allegations of political corruption. What he found was that county department heads were shaking down their employees for contributions to the Republican Party. Assistant district attorneys were paying a percentage of their income to the Republican Party. It was not accurately reported by the Syracuse Newspapers.
I got “60 Minutes” to send an investigative reporter to Syracuse. He read the decisions emanating from the court and the stories published by the Syracuse newspapers and concluded that the newspapers were engaging in a conspiracy to prevent the citizens from knowing the truth.
Since then, county department heads may have stopped shaking down Civil Service employees, but the Post-Standard has not stopped perverting reality. Medicaid transportation carries 22,000 people and was substandard, consequent to a quarter-million-dollar no-bid contract that was let by the county to a couple of ambulance drivers. The Post-Standard would not report it. The citizens are paying their taxes, expecting to get reasonable service to poor people. Instead, both the tax-payers and the tax-users are getting ripped off and the newspaper won’t report it.
It is always the end-point recipient of services who is blamed, never the county officials who aren’t doing their jobs. Why are so many white people getting Medicaid and proportionally so few black people getting it? Is there a racist policy of denial in the Dept. of Social Services? If accurate facts were being reported to the people then maybe somebody would notice and start asking questions.
The Onondaga County government is not held accountable for its actions because the Post-Standard provides deep cover for it. In the darkness of public ignorance, the government does whatever it wants to do. An informed citizenry is essential for democracy to prevail, yet we have no such thing in Onondaga County.
I gave factual information to the County Legislature about Dept. of Social Services executives engaging in acts of retaliation against me because I was a whistleblower and filed a complaint with the state. Deputy County Executive Ann Rooney was present and led the laughter. A Post-Standard reporter was present and made no mention of my challenge in the story that was published. When I related this to the attorney who was the Deputy Director of the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General, he was shocked and appalled.
What goes on in Onondaga County does not go on in other counties of this state. Other counties have actual reporters, editors and publishers who have a moral desire to fulfill their responsibility to inform the citizens. What goes on outside this county is substantially different than what goes on inside it. We have no standards of performance for public employees, in part because the Syracuse Newspapers, under Stephen Rogers (the father of the current publisher), decided that politics supersedes morality. County Executive John Mulroy was sentenced in open court for participating in a conspiracy to steal democracy from the citizens, then went back to his office and kept working. There was no editorial call for his resignation.
Onondaga County has a long and sordid history of collusion between the newspapers and the county government. Newspapers are supposed to be the watchdog that keeps the government in check. In Onondaga County, the newspaper is the public relations branch of the county government. It publishes front-page stories—with photos—of the District Attorney’s Office charging people with Medicaid fraud. But it refused to publish any stories about the Inspector General’s office investigating county government fraud in the $8 million Medicaid transportation industry. Likewise, it refused to publish any stories about the federal investigation of Centro bus company for providing—or denying—paratransit services that met the requirements of the law.
What options do the citizens have when the only daily newspaper isn’t reporting the news they need in order to make informed decisions?