A Tale of Two Introductions
Tim Franklin was brought on board by Baltimore’s Sun in January 2004 to navigate the paper through the treacherous waters that has become the newspaper business in a new era. In December 2005, Bo Harmon was brought on board to navigate Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich through the treacherous waters that we have come to know as Maryland politics for the next election.
Each gentleman is well accomplished in their professions and came to Maryland with certain reputations. What does a analysis look like when comparing how well each have been welcomed to our great state?
In the case of Mr. Harmon, The Sun only told a misleading portion of the story. However, when one is informed of the rest of the story, quite a different picture emerges.
As you will see, if that approach had been employed when Mr. Franklin first came to town, it would have been misleading. When is The Sun going to retract their misleading “news” article on Mr. Harmon and set the record straight?
Let’s begin by comparing the articles on Governor Ehrlich’s hiring of Bo Harmon in the December 10, 2005, The Sun article entitled “Ehrlich hires '06 director,” with the coverage by the Gazette on December 16, “Don’t credit Harmon, says former boss.”
The first several paragraphs of The Sun’s piece reads:
Compare the above with what the Gazette wrote:
Why is Mr. Harmon in the news?
How would The Sun have liked it if similar reporting had been applied when Tim Franklin was hired? Any journalist with an attitude could have drawn broad-sweeping conclusions from isolated moments in Mr. Franklin’s career and unilaterally presented their conclusions as fact.
Sling grits in any partisan NASCAR/Dale Earnhardt fan organization in Orlando, FL, and one can be sure that 50 percent of every one splattered would have an “interesting quote” about Mr. Franklin. Would that be fair? You decide for yourself.
Both Mr. Franklin and Mr. Harmon have their harsh critics from their “last campaign.” Who really cares? Each needs to be judged by what they do in Maryland.
According to The Sun web site, “Tim Franklin became The Sun's editor and senior vice president in January 2004. Before joining The Sun, Franklin served as editor of the Orlando Sentinel for three years and prior to that as editor of the Indianapolis Star.”
One can only be sure that if any reporter had wanted, he could have interviewed folks from Orlando or Indianapolis and cherry-picked some pretty alarming quotes.
Have you read the 5,177-word question and answer article Baltimore’s City Paper did with Mr. Franklin on August 24, 2005, entitled “Who Is This Guy?”
The City Paper asked some hard questions and gave Mr. Franklin a chance to respond. The City Paper introduced Mr. Franklin with these words:
In the interview, the City Paper asked:
At this point, what impression does one have of Mr. Franklin? Throw in a few negative quotes from some rabid Dale Earnhardt fans and you have “Frankenstein Franklin.” How about a few tidbits from Jim Clark at the Orlando Magazine, a frequent critic; or a quote from Theresa Earnhardt, the Dale Earnhardt’s widow?
Perhaps what is important is that Mr. Franklin was given an opportunity to put the Dale Earnhardt controversy into context? Would not it have been fair if Mr. Harmon had been afforded a similar courtesy?
Once you read Mr. Franklin’s response, it sheds things in a much different light:
The Sun unfairly maligned Mr. Harmon when he came to town. Gee, one wonders why members of the governor’s administration are so hesitant to talk with The Sun. The Sun can dish out the un-fair criticism of others, under the pretentious banner of unbiased journalism – yet arrogantly reject responsibility for their own transgressions.
Governor Ehrlich’s campaign manager, Bo Harmon, and The Sun’s editor and senior vice president, Tim Franklin, are to be welcomed to Maryland and afforded the courtesy of being praised and or criticized by what they do in Maryland.
When is The Sun going to correct the unfair picture they painted of Mr. Harmon? Just wondering?
Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster. E-mail him at: email@example.com