March 28-April 3: Worst Week Ever!

We at CityBeat try hard to maintain high journalistic standards, as evidenced by last week’s internal editing debate over whether a freelancer who used the word “shit” was literally referencing “feces” or “stuff” (turns out it was poo).

click to enlarge Enquirer editors?
Enquirer editors?


People who file for tax-exempt status generally deserve a certain amount of privacy — this ain’t the 1940s when people were proud of paying their taxes and making America stronger (kind of the opposite...). That’s why it was no surprise today to learn that a local Tea Party organization is feeling treaded upon after the IRS asked it questions about political affiliations that could jeopardize the group’s application for tax-exempt status (“Give me a tax break or give me death!”). The Liberty Township Tea Party has taken particular exception to the IRS asking about its attempts to influence the outcome of elections and its affiliation with another local former Tea Party organizer. Law professors have said the IRS inquiry seems completely reasonable but advised authorities to prepare for an uprising should the Tea Partiers find out recent census changes recognizing domestic partnerships are going to take away some of their freedoms.


It’s not very difficult to entertain sports fans — if the local team does one slam dunk or grand slam, everyone usually goes home happy (if the team sucks, you at least get a free collector’s cup with your $8 beer). Former Major League Baseball player Jose Canseco today attempted the rare feat of offering society something more by dabbling in the realm of social activism via Twitter. As expected, the endeavor did not go well. Canseco’s typo-ridden collection of tweets warned “clowns” and “morons” that mass consumption is causing global warming (“need to recycle or else no more bears”). Canseco’s advice was relatively reasonable — all references to Al Gore being dead aside — though he reportedly stopped updating the feed in order to record an audio version of his book, Juiced.


We at CityBeat try hard to maintain high journalistic standards, as evidenced by last week’s internal editing debate over whether a freelancer who used the word “shit” was literally referencing “feces” or “stuff” (turns out it was poo). Despite such efforts, stories sometimes get posted online too early, offering readers a glimpse into the professional nature of our biz when they see a note reading, “IS THIS DUDE TALKING ABOUT POOP OR SOME RANDOM CRAP?” We made the appropriate edit, which is kind of what editors at The Enquirer did today after someone on the inside responded to an online story titled, “The Tale of the Not So Smart Crook,” by asking: “DO YOU THINK YOU’RE FUNNY OR ARE YOU JUST A DICK?” The story, about a local Taco Bell employee who tried to cash a paycheck for $56,000, included editorializing, a brief interview with the Taco Bell manager and a quote from a judge mocking the defendant’s crappy job. Such coverage is reportedly part of Gannett’s new plan to get users inside a paywall by allowing its least experienced editors to pretend the site is Tosh.0. 


There are plenty of reasons that police officers are held in high regard by society, including the necessity to put their safety on the line and their willingness to follow strict protocol when representing the state during potentially violent confrontations. The latter is one of the main differences between a real police officer and a

glorified hall monitor

citizen patrol person. The Enquirer’s Mark Curnutte today checked in with local citizen patrol groups in the wake of non-911-operator-listening neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman killing unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida last week. Curnutte’s story finds local community watchers to be acting fairly reasonable about their responsibilities as “watchers” and not “authorities” and the Cincinnati Police Department to have quite a few relevant rules in place for watchers, including “No guns, dumbass.”


You did not win the lottery today. Sorry. 


The American judicial system has certain basic elements, most of which are written in Latin and sound kind of scary and/or weird. The Ohio House of Representatives today decided to simplify the judicial process for any Ohio businesses that might be sued for fraud or deception by finding a way to end the court cases as quickly as possible (“Judicious Maximus, Payouticus Minimus”). Changes to legislation that passed the House today would exempt businesses sued from paying certain damages if the consumer rejects a settlement offer. The national Consumer Law Center says the law would give Ohio one of the weakest consumer protection laws in the country and create additional obstacles for people who buy stuff off TV and think there’s even a remote chance it might do what the crazy guy says it will do. 


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