I read the News-Leader's Our Voice column this morning. They've actually got a couple of them today, but I'm referring to the one endorsing Roseann Bentley over Lincoln Hough for the District 2 County Commissioner position.
To quote ;) a current Commissioner, "I was startled to find," the News-Leader suggesting Hough had "exaggerated" when he stated (according to their summary) "that the county adds about 17 employees every year. He said they aren't road workers or deputies but instead are administrators or policy people."
I thought it was fine that they challenged Hough's statement, but what "startled" me was that they offered no substantiation of their claim that Hough's statement had been exaggerated. It seems to me that if they are going to claim someone has exaggerated something, then they ought to offer some sort of argument as to why they felt a claim was exaggerated. Then, after not offering any proof that Hough had "exaggerated," oh, sweet irony, they took Hough to task for basing an earlier criticism of Bentley on, "a single quote in a newspaper article." Sweet!
A quote's a quote. Bentley said what she said. Apparently, readers of the News-Leader are supposed to, on the one hand, put great stock in their unsubstantiated claim that Hough "exaggerated," while discounting Hough on the other hand because he used the substantiation of a direct quote, straight out of the mouth of Bentley, herself, to base criticism of Bentley upon. Okay? Is there some sort of reasoning in that I'm just not getting??? Hmmm.
Hough, recently endorsed by the Missouri Republican Assembly, worked for the budget chairman in Jefferson City and one could assume by that, he might have some experience at crunching numbers.
Here's what Hough had to say regarding the News-Leader's unsubstantiated claim that he exaggerated his statement concerning the average of new hires by the County. It was transcribed from the Vincent David Jericho Program's podcast from this morning's show (listen at that link <). Jericho had asked whether it was a claim or a fact, that the county adds about 17 employees every year and that they aren't road workers or deputies but instead are administrators or policy people. :
"It's a fact. Over the last four fiscal years Greene County has added an average of 17 employees to the County payroll. This last year, the '08 fiscal year, the majority, more than 50 percent of those jobs, were not out in the service areas, I mean, that's a fact.
You can go to the budget and you can look at it. The budget's online...."
When Jericho asked Hough why he thought the News-Leader used the word "claim" in their "Our Voice," column, Hough replied:
"I think that they're trying, they, the News-Leader, I think they're trying to portray me as a young person who doesn't really have his facts straight...and they couldn't have missed it more."
Personally, I think if the News-Leader is going to endorse candidates for what they cite as "exaggerated" claims made by the candidate they do not endorse, they ought to back up their own claims. I realize it's an editorial, however, they owe it to readers to give some sort of substantiated proof of their claim that Hough's statement was "exaggerated."
I'm not going to tell you who to vote for, your call.