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THE INTERESTING TRIBUTARIES OF ‘WADEGATE’ … THE MEDIA ANGLE … THE PUBLIC SERVICE ANGLE … NAACP CURIOUSLY QUIET ABOUT BACKING WADE … plus … STORMWATCHERS GOT WHAT THEY WANTED

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TUESDAY, JUNE 4, 2013) — Wadegate, the racially sensitive and explosive “she-said/he-said” involving black Medford businesswoman Doreen Wade and Pittsfield Mayor Dan Bianchi has still many unexplored subthemes.

First, however, let’s clear the air on one thing: THE PLANET does not for one second think Dan Bianchi is a “racist.” That’s not been our experience with him, one that goes back a long ways.  True, we have never seen Bianchi interact privately with the black community. We have seen him publicly and in a campaign mode. In our private and public dealings with Dan Bianchi, we have found him to be invariably appropriate, honorable, and gentlemanly. We consider him a friend, though as we have seen, friendship cannot be allowed to dictate our coverage. It never has, and it never will. A businesswoman of color made a serious charge. We went with it, and we were right in that call.

Unless we see hard evidence to the contrary, we will take Wade’s claims as evidence not of “racism” on the mayor’s part but misunderstandings in their communication. We would ask Wade if she intends to step forward, publicly, and repeat these charges, offering more than an allegation.

We also wonder if the local NAACP will stand with Wade in full support of her claims. Up to now, the NAACP, through director Will Singleton, has been extremely cautious and guarded in its comments. It hasn’t supported Wade, nor has it disowned her comments and contentions. THE NAACP has not a word of Wadegate on its FB page. It has not issued a public statement since we have brought attention to the case. The silence is hard on the ears. THE PLANET asks: Will Singleton be willing to appear, with or without Wade, before the press and support or condemn what she is saying?

Until then, benefit of the doubt shifts back to Mayor Bianchi.

THE MEDIA ANGLE

One of the more interesting tributaries to this story is the matter of a free and functioning press. Wade operates The New England Informer, a web-based newsmagazine that describes itself this way: “NEI disseminates thought-provoking and high-quality information. It prides itself as a constant resource offering up-to-date information and current articles.” Its “mission is to disseminate information to empower Black Americans while building partnerships between African American/Latin American and non communities of color.” The first blurb stands out for its vagueness. What exactly does it mean? The second practically hangs a sign saying, “Whites need not apply.”

The Informer appears to have relatively little fresh content. Instead, it acts more as a reprint service for articles it sees as relevant to its mission. Without looking for them, we did notice many typos, grammatical errors, and other indications of haste and the abusive bending of the king’s English that would offer counter evidence to its claim of “high quality.” Much of the house writing is poor.

As for typos and some grammar issues, THE PLANET knows all too well, as do our loyal readers, how these “weeds” can pop up in the garden of prose, particularly in a daily blog. We wage this daily (and largely winning) fight, aiming for Don Larsen perfection each and every time out, full knowing we can’t get it and that, with the final pitch, Yogi Berra likely won’t be leaping into our arms as Dale Mitchell walks from the batter’s box, having just taken a called third strike. But then again, we are a one-man band (or as Berkshire Magazine calls us, “a one-man mob scene”).

THE PLANET doesn’t list an art editor, a promotion manager, an editor, an associate editor, a sales manager, an assistant to the publisher, and a publisher in addition to ourselves, as Wade does on the mast of the Informer. With all those sets of eyes, no one caught, for example, the loud typo in the headline congratulating Wade on her nomination as SBA Person of the Year (more on that claim later): “… From The Samll [sic] Business Administration.”

We also point out that we are writing anywhere between 1,000 and 3,000 words of fresh original content almost every day, a furious pace of that caused Berkshire Magazine to call us “Berkshire County’s most prolific journalist.” The Informer shows nothing close to this original, daily output.

Media Fear? We Doubt It

The theory has been floated that perhaps the mayor doesn’t want another media outlet operating in town. THE PLANET can’t answer to that, but, however sensitive Bianchi has proven when it comes to tough, independent coverage, we find it a stretch to think that he would be threatened by Wade’s news product. It’s difficult to assess, since we haven’t seen how or if she would change her editorial focus if her business moved to Pittsfield. Judging by the current Informer product, Bianchi would have little to fear. The politics seem compatible with liberal bias, up to and including the Far Left. As a political bent, it would find a cozy home within the Democratic power structure that rules Pittsfield.

True, we often laugh at the kid-glove treatment public officials receive in the Berkshires. Say one little “boo!,” and the next thing you know, your subject is off in a corner, pouting, and saying the nastiest things about you. If they got a tiny taste of what happens in the  bigger media, on bigger stages, they’d come out of their coffins, offer an ink libation to the ghost of Horace Greeley, and learn to engage more productivity with the press, especially the independent press.

THE PLANET doesn’t know anything about Wade’s business model. As we noted above, she lists a sales director on the staff. She has internships available in editorial and design positions and currently has a house ad looking for a person to work in a commissioned sales job. This indicates she’s looking for advertising.

THE PLANET Remains Independent and Privately Financed

THE PLANET, as most of you know, is totally independent and privately financed. In any business we have ever run in the private sector, including THE PLANET, The Media Services Group, Planet Media Books, Dan Valenti Communications, and Europolis Management, we have never asked for or accepted a dime of public money. We have used private capital, 100%, without exception, enjoying our profits and writing off our losses as they come. We believe that is what Wade should do with The Informer if she moves it to Pittsfield. Believe in the idea; see if the marketplace will reward that belief. Don’t look for public money.

THE PLANET has worked in commercial media all our professional lives (both print and broadcast), and in every editorial job we’ve had, we’ve run up against “interference” coming from the business side of the operation. This editorial-business tension cannot be avoided, of course. In such cases, you pray you have a boss — usually an editor or a station owner — who understands the press’ role in a free society and is committed to maintaining and fighting for its role as The Fourth Estate, serving as a watchdog over all three branches of government. You pray you have an editor who will fight the publisher and run interference when you get a memo “suggesting” that you back off a story. In broadcast, you hope you have a program director who will tell the station owner the facts of journalistic life.

The press, though, must always maintain a fierce independence. It must be fearless in its coverage of public events. It must represent, if anyone and before anyone else, We The People, against every other interest. Without a free and unflinching press, The Little Guy has no chance. Government, bureaucracy, and every other office of public life will crush him and her every single time. That’s we we have placed THE PLANET in its fit, looking out for the interests of the owners of government and public life — The Citizens. As other media back off from this responsibility, so Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski have an even greater need for a crusader to carry the lance on their behalf.

THE PLANET has in our nearly three years of publication covered and broken many stories, some small and some large, and not all of them have been popular with the “powers that be.” So be it, and more power to us. We have never had to worry about answering to a publisher or an owner to “lessen up the heat” because some advertiser got worried. We are, as we like to say, unbought and unbossed.

THE PUBLIC SERVICE ANGLE

Wadegate once again shows how important it is to have a responsive, open, and communicative media. THE PLANET, alone, has, through our coverage, spurred on a vigorous and heated community debate on the topic of race. In Pittsfield, it’s been long overdue. If we hadn’t stepped into this story and gone underneath the cursory job done by other local media (including the complete whiff by the Berkshire Eagle and local radio news), the community wouldn’t have found out about this incident.

In a real sense, this type of discussion is precisely why THE PLANET exists and why we offer it, free of charge, to the citizens of Pittsfield, Berkshire County, the state, and nation, and the world. We offer what can truly be called “a free marketplace of ideas.” Though we occasionally use the work of other writers, including paid free-lancers, we have no employees other than Dan Valenti. We maintain a wide network of spies, informants, gumshoes, Z-agents, and sources of all kinds in most every public office, and they act as the extension of our senses. We produce and gather all of the content, and we put our name on every piece we write. We do it with the intention of stimulating thought and encouraging participation. We have resisted the temptation to sell ads, and have fended off the calls of ad reps looking to make deals on behalf of clients.

Provocateur? To that we plead guilty. Our formula has proven popular beyond what we had imagined.

On most other local websites purporting to offer news and commentary, you’ll see a story and it might get a few comments. Often, there are NO responses. The Berkshire Beacon‘s online coverage of Wadegate, for instance, produced exactly one (1) comment. On THE PLANET, we typically get 20, 30, or 40. Wadegate got well over 100 comments and an unusually heavy amount of hits. These commentators were people who were moved by the piece to offer their contribution. We are pleased to say that, more of less, the debate — though often non-flinching and rigorous — didn’t descend to a Topix-like gutter.

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STORM WATCHERS GET WHAT THEY WANT: THE PERFECT STORM

Finally, to change the topic, we share the news that reality TV  ”Storm Chasers” star Tim Samaras, 55, his 24-year-old son, Paul, and a 45-year-old colleague were among those killed when powerful storms, including several tornadoes, tore through Oklahoma on Friday.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Tim Samaras, his son Paul and their colleague Carl Young,” the Discovery Channel said in a statement released Sunday. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families.”

The men died while chasing an F-3 tornado in El Reno, Okla., near Oklahoma City. At least nine people, including a mother and her baby were killed during Friday’s storms, officials said.

While, like John Donne, every man’s death diminishes me, I respond to this with: “There. Good! Great! You happy now? You got an outcome you apparently were willing to receive.”

“Storm Chasers” is an example of the extreme behavior being glorified by the cesspool that passes for popular culture (and the idiotic cable channels). Good to see the going around coming around. As for us, give us “Dick Van Dyke Show” reruns.

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“No wonder then so many die of grief, / So many are so lonely as they die; / No one has yet believed or liked a lie, / Another time has other lives to live.”W.H. Auden, “Another Time.”

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE!”

LOVE TO ALL.

28 Responses to “THE INTERESTING TRIBUTARIES OF ‘WADEGATE’ … THE MEDIA ANGLE … THE PUBLIC SERVICE ANGLE … NAACP CURIOUSLY QUIET ABOUT BACKING WADE … plus … STORMWATCHERS GOT WHAT THEY WANTED”

  1. FPR
    June 4, 2013 at 8:27 am #

    Dan,

    Your repeated requests to mayor Bianchi’s input and his deafening silence makes me think he is not a fan of your column. “The silence is hard on the ears. ” Shouldn’t you be crying foul ball for his negative view? Isn’t he being racist against Italians?

    What does a “storm chaser” say at the pearly gates? “I voluntarily drove right into a hurricane”.
    What white American male doesn’t love the young Mary Tyler Moore?

    • danvalenti
      June 4, 2013 at 6:48 pm #

      FPR
      When a sitting mayor becomes a “fan” of my column, that’s the day I know when to hang ‘em up. No politician I’ve ever covered has “liked” my columns or broadcasts; most respect them, though. Agree on the Storm Chasers and Mary Tyler Moore. She drove 12-year-old boys nuts, didn’t she, in those Capri slacks?

  2. Peter
    June 4, 2013 at 9:33 am #

    Dan,
    Will you be publishing the email from Doreen Wade to Mark Smith? Thanks.

    • danvalenti
      June 4, 2013 at 6:46 pm #

      Yes. it will be published tomorrow.

  3. Joe Pinhead
    June 4, 2013 at 10:00 am #

    I’m just a pinhead here but does anyone think this plausible but me? Poor Ms Wade is collecting articles on her blog about somebody doing somebody wrong and innocently stumbles upon an article in which a bungling city mishandles a lawsuit in which a corporation is handed 100G for its treatment of a protected class? She then pays attention to how both the administration and the council handles the entire affair and says to herself in the words of Steven Tyler “to bad can’t get me none of that”.
    She then thinks to herself I bet I can; the administration has taken little action against the solicitor office which would either handle or have some role in the case. I can use the spectrum case to show a pattern of insensitivity towards protected classes as well as a demonstrable lack of sensitivity.
    All one has to do is hinge these thoughts on the hopes that procedure will not be followed no one will verify who what or where I am or do. And if they do follow procedure and I am asked to submit forms I do that and possibly get a few bucks for exploring the possibility of moving my business here.
    I just wonder if she bet on desperation and ego to get her into the Mayor’s office.
    But as I started I am just a pinhead.

    just sayin

    • danvalenti
      June 4, 2013 at 6:49 pm #

      JOE
      For a Pinhead, you’re a genius. Also, as a Pinhead, wouldn’t you qualify for some sort of public assistance as a “protected class?”

  4. levitan
    June 4, 2013 at 10:34 am #

    If the NAACP has nothing to say, it is because they take themselves seriously.

  5. tito
    June 4, 2013 at 11:42 am #

    ,,,,,,,methinks Ms. wade was just passing through,,,

  6. Varsity mom
    June 4, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

    Like when we learn that 120 people have perished in the past 80 years while climbing Mt. McKinley. How can we mourn, really, when they died doing what they wanted to do, which was “Took their chances”? And how could anyone be SURPRISED or SHOCKED? That’s just silly.
    Like you said: “Ya happy now?”

    • danvalenti
      June 4, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

      “Ya happy now?” Gotta love it, MOM.

  7. Scott
    June 4, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

    Congrats on all you have accomplished Dan…

    • levitan
      June 4, 2013 at 6:02 pm #

      Yes, he narrowly avoided getting into an ad hominem argument centering on his own prejudices. You know, his dislike of hoodies, gangstas, children, skateboards, smokers other than himself, Jews, Israelites, Protestants, Post-Second Vatican Catholics.

      And then there is the question of the trifecta minority; a profile which could be used by any scurrilous professor to describe Ms Wade.

      • levitan
        June 4, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

        Damn! I forgot women and gays who want marraige licenses.

        • levitan
          June 4, 2013 at 6:06 pm #

          And the City of Pittsfield and town of Lenox, and high school students.

          Did I miss anything?

          • danvalenti
            June 4, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

            Plenty … as always!

        • danvalenti
          June 4, 2013 at 6:52 pm #

          Still not complete. Work harder, son.

      • danvalenti
        June 4, 2013 at 6:52 pm #

        LEV
        You left some out!

    • danvalenti
      June 4, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

      Thanks, Scott.

  8. Rivetor
    June 4, 2013 at 2:30 pm #

    This ‘wadegate’ has turned into a page turner. Nice balance today, DV and itshows that your handling of the case has been objective, letting the story and facts take you where it wants to go as you once put it I think in the Nilan case.

    • danvalenti
      June 4, 2013 at 6:51 pm #

      Appreciate this comment, RIV

  9. tito
    June 4, 2013 at 2:38 pm #

    dear Planet, sorry to hear of the passing of the Deacon, truly will be missed,,,,,,,Tito.

    • danvalenti
      June 4, 2013 at 6:51 pm #

      Yeah, T. The Deke was one of the greats, part of that Rams Fearsome Foursome D-Line.

  10. Chazz Storie
    June 4, 2013 at 7:20 pm #

    Regarding the deaths of storm chasers Tim Samaras, his son Paul Samaras and their colleague, Carl Young – this was a significant loss to the weather community. Tim Samaras was actually a researcher, who didn’t just chase these storms for the thrill – but for the science. His group of chasers also did it to help save people’s lives.

    Fact is, when a tornado warning is issued and it’s stated that the tornado is on the ground – that’s not because of Doppler Radar – it’s because these storm chasers are out there providing ground truth. They risk their lives to save others.

    When Moore, OK was recently hit with an EF-5 (EF stands for Enhanced Fujita) the old F-Scale is no longer used – it was storm chasers who provided the critical information that was relayed to TV stations who in turn passed it along to viewers. While the number of people who died was tragic – the outcome could have been much more worse.

    The majority of these chasers do what they do and risk their lives – to save others.

    It should be pointed out that the El Reno tornado was just upgraded to EF-5 status today (6/4) – with winds of approx. 295 mph. It was also measured to be 2.6 miles wide – which makes it the widest tornado in US history.

    • danvalenti
      June 5, 2013 at 7:38 am #

      Thank you, Chazz. This puts a needed, different take on the story.

  11. Giacometti
    June 4, 2013 at 9:29 pm #

    To quote the Ancient Greek God who knew more than anyone the truths of politics…” Don’t chase criticism “….It’s obvious that Mayor Bianchi is far too intelligent to be a racist.

    • danvalenti
      June 5, 2013 at 7:37 am #

      Oh, man, The Ancient Greek God. We loved him (still do) and we miss him.

  12. GMHeller
    June 4, 2013 at 11:27 pm #

    Mr. Valenti,
    Bianchi has nothing to gain by answering any questions about his two needless meetings with Ms. Wade.
    The more we hear about Ms. Wade, the more it becomes apparent that the lady would be well-suited to The Berkshires (and The Berkshires to her).
    She’d fit in quite well with other pretentious types who inhabit the local landscape.
    Can’t you just see Wade in charge at The Mount or some other Berkshire not-for-profit?
    Ms. Wade appears to do the same thing on her side of the Commonwealth that Seth Rogovoy does here: she combs Web sites republishing other’s material — that which fits her political agenda.
    And Wade’s pompous self-righteousness reminds one of a well-known public radio eminence.
    Alan Chartock is even now writing this week’s I Publius column regaling the rubes about Wade’s ‘genius’.
    Hey, maybe the lady should present her credentials to the WAMC board when the little professor begs his last great fund-drive in the sky.
    Wade certainly has the self-important demeanor we’ve all become accustomed to when Herr Doktor rants on-air, so maybe there’s a match there made in heaven.
    And let’s be honest, if Ms. Wade can plead hardship to the Mayor she can certainly outbeg Chartock when it comes to the always gullible WAMC audience.
    Wade, if you can say 1-800-323-9262 like you mean it, you got the job!

    • danvalenti
      June 5, 2013 at 7:36 am #

      GMH
      Even THE PLANET won’t try to top this.
      Love to callouts, especially for Herr “Fund Drive” Doktor and Mr. Rogovoy.