Political candidates should stand with PG union and pass on paper’s endorsement process

By February 19, 2019 No Comments

Shame on the blocks sign hanging inside the PG newsroom

In some situations, one news publication providing space to find fault with another news publication may be considered taboo – but since my editor already wrote his opinion on this topic, I decided to share mine.

In fact, recent events at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette warrant considerable comment. I think it would be journalistic malpractice not to discuss how we can push for a constructive outcome to save the legacy of the PG.

When I was a candidate for Lt. Governor, the PG editorial page published a piece “Reason as racism”  on Martin Luther King Day 2018. For all intents and purposes, the piece sought to justify President Trump’s use of race with regard to who we should allow to immigrate to our country as something palatable and valid. As a black woman, I did not tolerate this appeasement in 2018 and as a result, I came out and declared that I would not seek the endorsement of that publication.

Don’t get me wrong, the reporters of the PG do a fine job. And the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh, which represents the company’s editorial employees, responded at the the time with their own letter to the editor stating they were appalled that the paper’s publisher, John R. Block dictated that this editorial be printed.

Fast forward one year later and we find Block embroiled in yet another confrontation with his Pittsburgh-based newspaper. If you have not already heard, a little over a week ago, on a Saturday night, Block, with his child in tow, stormed into the the newsroom of the PG with what has widely been described as a poorly thought-out purpose.

It has been reported, based on witness accounts, fortified by video recordings, that Block went on a tirade that witnesses described as “berserk” in front of his employees and in front of his young daughter, all because of the workers’ pursuit of fairness in the workplace.

Workers be damned is apparently his philosophy.

Just this Friday, Block’s editorial board published, “Sherrod Brown goes low: Claiming Trump is a racist was beyond the pale” again defending the President’s repeated racist remarks and acts as something we shouldn’t concern ourselves with.

So now we find ourselves in the midst of another election season.

The Block controlled the PG editorial board and will most likely be conducting endorsement meetings with candidates. Many voters tend to drop interest in the odd year election seasons, and for many reasons they shouldn’t.

I refused to seek out a PG endorsement and called on other candidates to join me. But this time around, it’s different in the sense that the Block problem has only worsened. Block dug himself in deeper.

So to those running for office this year, Pittsburgh City and Allegheny County candidates, you should not just refuse to pursue the PG endorsement but actively stand with PG employees. You know, the people who were working on a Saturday night while Block was out fine-dining and then, on a puerile whim, decided drop by in an attempt to intimidate them for the sake of what appears to be an acknowledgment of his fragile ego.

I’m rooting for the PG. I think many people are. And I hope the other stakeholders realize that, too.

If they do, they’ll find a way to lock out Block, with a legacy firmly moving toward salvation.

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