Somebody at the Columbus Dispatch has a bit of explaining to do.
You see, Ohio Governor's former Director of Community and Faith-Based Initiatives, one Robert "Eric" McFadden, after "years" of not getting caught, pleaded guilty last Thursday of two felonies for trying to market the "services" of a 17 year-old prostitute. Yes, a 17 year-old.
In his original report late Thursday morning on McFadden's plea -- a report no longer available at the paper's web site even though it is listed at a relevant site search (last item listed; screen cap is here for later reference) -- the Dispatch's Bruce Cadwallader gave a barely adequate description of the facts and circumstances surrounding both McFadden's day job and the double life that he had been leading "for years" up to his arrest in January.
But in his early-AM Friday report, which I have confirmed with a Dispatch representative is the one that went into the paper's July 10 print edition, Cadwallader "somehow" left out the "for years" reference, giving readers a clear and incorrect impression that McFadden had only recently begun his illicit activities.
Here are key passages from Cadwallader's original report (currently found in Google cache; saved here at my host for future reference) that, in the limited space available, at least tried to give readers a halfway reasonable idea of McFadden's resume and activities:
Former state official pleads guilty to pimping charges
Robert E. McFadden ran Ohio's faith-based initiative
Thursday, July 9, 2009 11:24 AM
A former director of Gov. Ted Strickland's Faith-Based and Community Initiative pleaded guilty this morning to two felony counts after police said he tried to pimp a 17-year-old prostitute.
Robert E. McFadden, 46, .... pleaded guilty to two counts of compelling prostitution for computer activity he conducted between September and October last year. Five other counts of pandering obscenity and promoting prostitution were dismissed.
The pleas in Franklin County Common Pleas Court could land McFadden in prison for as long as 10 years.
..... Prosecutors said McFadden, who is free on bond, took photographs of the girl he met on an Internet chat room and then offered her services to other men on the site as a "recommended" prostitute.
Columbus vice detectives monitoring online discussions among clients of prostitutes for years said McFadden posted under the names "Sullivant Guy," "Broad Street Guy," "Toby" and "God O Thunder."
Like many others on the sites, McFadden traded information about street hookers and online escorts. He would recommend some prostitutes, issue warnings about others and give advice on ways to avoid law enforcement.
Columbus police learned of the activity during an online sex sting in January.
..... McFadden, a former field director for a Catholic organization, was hired by Strickland in 2007 to lead the Faith-Based office at $36 an hour and encouraged to make it easier for such organizations to compete for public funding.
He was later transferred to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, but was laid off due to budget cuts.
Cadwallader's write-up about 16 hours later that went into the paper's print edition was more than a little airbrushed. Here are the first two paragraphs:
'God O Thunder' admits he was pimp
Friday, July 10, 2009 3:08 AM
His attorneys tried to suppress a search warrant of his home and tried to get his indictment dismissed on a technicality. But in the end, former state director Robert E. McFadden admitted yesterday to pimping a 17-year-old prostitute on the Internet.
McFadden, the former director of Gov. Ted Strickland's Faith-Based and Community Initiative, pleaded guilty to two felony counts after police said he put nude photographs of the girl on a Web site to promote prostitution.
You'd think the guy almost beat the rap and is getting excessively punished for posting a couple of pics.
But it's the noticeable omission from the following paragraph in the print story that is really hard to understand, and in my opinion impossible to defend:
Columbus police learned of the activity during an online sex sting in January. McFadden used aliases such as "Sullivant Guy," "Broad Street Guy" and "God O Thunder," police said.
Whatever happened to "for years"?
Only Bruce Cadwallader and his editors at the Dispatch can tell us why those two words or equivalents weren't important to readers. But it's pretty obvious who the omission, along with the demonstrated scrubbing of the reporter's original report, helps.
First, it helps Hillary Clinton. According to the American Catholic (HT Say Anything), McFadden was "head of the Catholic outreach of the Clinton campaign last year." Ouch. That's last year, well within the realm of the Dispatch's convenient "for years" omission. The paper appears unconcerned that it has kept the vast majority of its readers in the dark about this association.
Second, it helps Ohio Governor Ted Strickland (imagine that). Including "for years" in the print and surviving web report might have given readers the absolutely correct impression that McFadden was conducting his illegal business while still a state employee at the Ohio Department of Corrections (from October 2007 - March 2008), and before that, during his time as Strickland's personally appointed faith-based Director (from February - August 2007). "For years," going back from the time of McFadden's January 2009 arrest, would put him in the business beginning in early 2007 at the very latest. It would appear that the Dispatch, by removing an originally useful time tag, would prefer that its readers not know that.
Of course, there is a strong likelihood that "for years" involves at least a couple more than two. If so, that would certainly mean that McFadden was in the prostitution business in mid- to late-2006 as either a consumer, a pimp, or both during his tenure with .... (wait for this) .... the ultra-liberal and actually heretical Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good.
McFadden was the Alliance's Ohio Field Director during a substantial portion of 2006. In an August 13, 2006 Dispatch article about religion and liberal politics, McFadden, who at the time went by "Eric" (why the first name change, buddy?), stated that:
..... he has been dismayed to see his faith "co-opted by the religious right."
The late Pope John Paul II condemned the Iraq war repeatedly, McFadden pointed out, yet the political debate two years ago focused largely on outlawing abortion and same-sex marriage.
"During the election cycle in 2004, our Catholic values were whittled down to four or five issues that were nonnegotiable," McFadden said. "We want to bring other issues into the discussion."
Anyone who knows anything about the Catholic faith knows that faithful Catholics are expressly forbidden from supporting and voting for pro-abortion candidates, regardless of their other positions on issues of war and "social justice."
Apparently, the Dispatch isn't concerned that readers won't understand that McFadden was very likely active in his other life while he was with the pretend-Catholic Alliance.
Go back far enough, and you learn that McFadden was, again according to the American Catholic, the founder of Catholics for Kerry (apparently not directly associated with the John Kerry's presidential campaign, if this book excerpt from Amy Sullivan's "The Party Faithful" is to be believed). Depending on how far back "for years" really goes, McFadden might have been involved with prostitution back then. But the Dispatch apparently didn't think it was important that its readers know about that either.
Readers of the Dispatch's Friday print report who are otherwise unversed in the McFadden saga will have the absolutely incorrect impression that McFadden's activities began in the fall of last year, months after he left the State of Ohio's payroll.
In October 2006, as Robert Eric McFadden was more than likely in the midst of a years-long side business as the self-described "guru" of Columbus prostitution while "faithfully" serving Democratic Party interests, the national press obsessed for weeks over a Republican Congressman who resigned "after being confronted with salacious e-mails and instant messages he sent to underage, male congressional pages."
We can definitely "dispatch" with the question of whether there has been a press double standard in the disparate treatments of Mark Foley and Robert "Eric" McFadden.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.