BLOG: Advice to our critics

Tom Jackson
Jun 20, 2012


My boss, managing editor Matt Westerhold, has been getting some heat from our more conservative readers for the column he wrote for our editorial page a couple of weeks ago criticizing Fox News, the right-leaning cable news channel and Web site. Some have threatened to cancel their newspaper subscription.

As everyone knows, most journalists are Democrats. And many of these journalists think that the obvious pro-Obama, anti-Romney slant of the New York Times, the Washington Post, NPR and, yes, the Sandusky Register, is normal. When they see a news outfit such as Fox with an obvious anti-Obama, pro-Romney slant, that seems odd to them.

Roughly half of the population leans Republican, however, and there's obviously a market for a news organization that caters to them. If Fox News disappeared tomorrow, somebody would make a lot of money filling the gap.

I'm also not clear on how Fox News really differs from MSNBC, which has an obvious left slant.

But for Matt's critics, let me make a few points:

(1) Nothing is more boring than an opinion piece that fails to express an opinion and then defend it. The only opinion piece worth reading is a provocative one that forces you to think about the argument. That's why Rufus Sanders is always worth reading. Sometimes I agree with Mr. Sanders, sometimes I disagree, but I have to think about what he's saying.

(2) Our letters to the editor space is open to everyone, including our critics. If you think we've missed something, pick up a pen.

(3) It's simply an objective fact that the Sandusky Register is an aggressive, hard working newspaper that fights constantly to obtain public documents and get the news out. Yes, we are human and sometimes we make mistakes, but it's not a coincidence that the paper wins so many awards.

If you've ever read a lazy local newspaper that settles for whatever the local authorities are willing to hand out, you'll know what I mean. You may not agree with everything we've ever published, but if you skip the Register, you are missing an essential source of local news.



Jane Goodall

your points are interesting... false and unresearched but interesting...


That is why i no longer subscribe to your rag, the internet version is strictly for comical purposes...right ??


Mr. Jackson,

I agree with you, we look to the SR as our local news source. However, we look to ABC and yes Fox News for National and International News. These organizations are far better equipped to report on these issues. We obviously don't have to agree with everything they say, but are not chastised by these organization for forming our own opinions.

I would think that the SR would best serve there readers if they stuck to issues that were relevent to there  local readers. I for one would like to see a recap of all city commission meetings. It seems to me that city hall has gone dark since we got a new city manager. I realize you can only print "no comment"  a limited number of times without seeming redundant, but whatever the story I think you have a responsibility to report it.

As far as Matt Westholds opinions he obviously is entitled to them as long as it is clear that this is an editorial and not a news story. Whats more troubling to me is to see a news story by Andy Ouriel who apparently is fixated on getting Obama to come to Sandusky, I didn't read where he was trying to get Romney to come as well.


Larry, Emil Whitis has had several articles in the paper about trying to persuade the Republican candidate to appear in Sandusky and sit for an interview.


Wondering what is unresearched in saying that Fox News is slanted to the right??? It is not only slanted to the right, it is absolutely slanted against the left and they will lie rather than tell the truth. The register does not lie to make themselves look good. Even the GOP lies to make things look good for them and bad for the Democrats. It's their nature and always has been.

Just wondering what the heck they will report about if Romney gets elected. Of course, then everything he does will be good regardless of how horrible things become. And they will - trust me. If you think it's bad now - wait until you get someone like Romney in there.

car 54

    Mr. Jackson, what has happened at city hall?  Maybe Fox News needs to investigate. Is the City Commission out of session during the summer?

Julie R.

If you've ever read a lazy local newspaper that settles for whatever the local authorities are willing to hand out, you'll know what I mean.

That's a perfect description of the Lorain Journal. That's why I quit that paper a loooooooong time ago. The SR is far from boring ---- proof of that is all the comments alone that it generates.


   I can't believe what I read , but then again, many of you are fooled.  It's in a Politicians amke-up to lie.  This goes for our own Dennis Murray, Marcy Kaptur, and especially Mark Wagoner.  The annointed one is free from telling any falsehoods for lies don't exist in the Muslim Religion.  They can say any thing they want as long as it's for the good of Allah.  Bill O'Reillyand Juan  ??? are far more to the left than most Democrats.  These news channels are all about the almighty dollar and most have the same ownership.  Just keep arguing amonst ourselves while all our freedoms keep getting taken away.  This is just what they want us to do.

      Do you remember when the seat belt law passed???  You will never be ticketed for just a seat belt violation.  You have to be guilty of some other traffic violation before being stopped.  Wake-up people.  Do you really think the new Border Patrol building is for Illegals?  Heck, there is no more Illegals, they're making them all legal citizens and "Voters."  If this were for Illegals why not have it in Texas or Arizona?  They are "Policing" us.  This state and Erie County has really become a pitiful place to live.  People and businesses continue to leave.  Sandusky's population continues to decline!!  Let's see, in the past 10 years how many house have been torn down in Sandusky?  How many have been built?  Here comes the "Common Sense",  You tear down a couple thousand houses and build none, Now just where do you think these people are going to live?

The Big Dog's back

 ezob, that's funny about o'rielly. Where do they sell that stuff you are drinking?


@ Mr. Jackson:

Mr. Sanders is "worth" reading because his illogic and irrationality are always a joy to pick apart.

Kindly ask Mr. Westerhold to bring Mr. Sanders' columns back to the web edition.

Also, ask him why he thought that upside down flag article was newsworthy when the owner of the business said that it was a "mistake."

You're not clear how FN differs from MSNBC? Try reasoned arguments and documentation as opposed to stark raving ranting.




Tom Jackson

@ Larry, As reader points out, we've had several page one stories on our efforts to obtain an interview with Gov. Romney, including a story that is in today's newspaper (June 20).





         In all honesty,  You know who I am and how to reach Me.  I am going to ask You,  Why would you agree to interview with any person in from your paper.  I remember the way You tore apart Rich Iott while siding with Marcy Kaptur.  Her Father's grocery store went broke and He had to go to work for Chrysler.  Marcy has never had a job.  She still has the house She grew up in, Yes, but does she live there.  Rich Iott was smart enough to see the hand writing on the wall and sold his grocery store at a profit.  Smart business move, how many small grocery stores have closed in Sandusky?  I'll bet I can name a dozen or so if I really start thinking.

    You and Matt have done many good articles through the years.  Here is the problem as I and obviously many more see it.  Our state and Erie County in particular has shown a history of voting Democrat and Republican.  On the National level we are categorized as a swing state.  As journalist you have to become "Swingers" (Just Joking) and give some impartial views.  For instance, right now Eric Holder is wrong.  No person, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, or Barry Bonds has been exempt from Congressional Hearings and this guy thinks He is above our Constitution.  You know what, with O'Bama at the helm he just nmight be exempt.  Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon were made to testify and adhere to Congress.  Things are really changing.  Everyone was promised "Change", He should ask, "How do You like Me now"? 


Big Dog,

    You don't have an opinion about Bill O'Reilly.  Remember, you don't watch Fox news.


My personal opinion is that obummer is a useless turd.

But that being said I still respect all opinions and use the Sandusky Register as my news source of choice. They often have stories that other sources don't have the guts to print.


Mr. Jackson,

In your article you state..."I'm also not clear on how Fox News really differs from MSNBC"

Fox News has never manipulated or spliced footage to make someone look bad!!

MSNBC was just caught editing a tape at will to deliberately make Romney look like a fool!

If they can't find what they want they create it! Still waiting on the apology, btw.

How about the 911 tape of George Zimmerman, another tape that was deliberately edited, to make him look racist.

And I totally agree, this paper's special treatment of Marcy Kaptur over Rich Iott was not only unfair, unjust and unprofessional, it was down right sickening to read and watch!

The Big Dog's back

"Fox News has never manipulated or spliced footage to make someone look bad!!"

Comedy quote of the year.


I'm sorry, it doesn't take guts to exploit people whom only work for orginizations that you have an axe to grind with. I enjoy reading the REAL news, not the personal issues of people that work in facilities that have the opportunity to keep things internal, particularly where there personal lives don't affect the public demeanor of this city.

I challenge someone to report on the personell files of every employee and their public antics of each employee of the SR and NR for the past ten years?

As far as the "right", the "left" and the hilarious middle......age old. NOT gonna change until we have ROYALTY!!  Remember that?



Mr Jackson.   I really HATE reading the articles that Mr Sanders writes because they don't make you think, they are one sided, racist remarks that do nothing but stir the pot of racism every time he writes something.  If people REALLY want racism to stop, then stop pointing out the differences and start taking that steps toward equality only.  Why give space to men such as he to keep pointing out the differences.  If you are going to keep men like Mr. Sanders, why not have someone write the exact opposite opinions to balance him out?  That is something I never did understand. 

As for the rest, I used to totally agree with most of what you guys stood for.  Your writing of stories with few exceptions were pretty good.   That is until I saw that "Between the Lines" pre recording with Ms Goode and then Iiterally flipped out and had a real fit over it.  That one I could not condone by any stretch of the imagination.  Matt went to far with his criticisim of the police on that one and I told him so.  It is the first time I can remember that he brought someone on that program where the viewers could not ask questions.  Bogus. 

As for Emil and Andy...../they need more prep before they go on the air.  They are a little to 'off the cuff' and it shows.  More prep and less try for wit would serve them well. 

I have met one of your reporters and she is accurate as all get out so I cannot say that your stories are not done with the utmost care.  They are NOT slanted, tainted or done without truth.  They are very accurate and truthful and state exactly what the reporter is told. 

So as for your critics.  If they don't want to stay with the subscriptions then that is there problem.  I bet they won't be gone long.  They won't be able to stand it.  Their neighbors will know things  they won't know about and NO one can stand that for too long.  So let them get mad....they will get glad again.  Almost everyone does. 


wiredmama: I agree with you 100% about Rufus Sanders. If anyone ever wanted someone to teach a course on racism they would have to look no further than Rufus. I don't even bother reading him anymore because you can always bet that no matter the subject, it will be the white man's fault. Unless of course, it is something that a black man has done for the good of the people. Then it will be in spite of the white man.


Mr. Jackson,

Perhaps Mr. Westerhold's column struck a nerve due to his own extrem biases, all too often visible in so-called "news" stories as much as in the Register's editorial content. It's pretty tough to criticize FOX for being "too conservative," or MSNBC for being "too liberal" when you're so preoccupied with political slant yourself!

I would point out that Dick Tracey brings up some very valid facts. Who's been in trouble for selectively and unethically (and with obvious political intent) editing video? That would be MSNBC, NBC, and CBS (up to, and including, falsifying information). If Mr. Westerhold chooses not to address the kind of media bias that clearly deliberatelly MISinforms listeners and readers simply because he tends to agree with their agendas, well, even his OPINIONS are now highly suspect!

FOX News consistently claims that it presents only the facts, and that "you decide." If there are examples of it failing to do so, that's entirely fair game and deserves to be highlighted and criticized. But far more important than that is the question that neither Mr. Westerhold nor anybody else on your staff sees fit to ask: If it's called "news," then why don't ALL news organizations strive to reach FOX's stated goals? I know the answer, of course, as do most of you...

Those who can't stand the sight of blood shouldn't become doctors or nurses. And those who choose to varnish the truth with a thick coating of their own agenda shouldn't be reporters.


The Big Dog's back

March 20, 2012 09:00 AM


Fox News Lies; An Elderly Woman Dies


 When I first saw this image on Facebook, I wasn't sure how on earth Fox News could have killed someone's mother. And then I read the message that went with the photo. Tracy Knauss posted it on hisFacebook page along with a message which said in part:

I know this personally. FOX News killed my precious mother, Hallie. She watched FOX religiously. And when she fell ten days before she died, she refused to go to the doctor because, "I don't want Obamacare to get all of my information! she declared, recalling the warnings from FOX News "anchors." She was emphatic. She was not going to consort with the muslim enemy. As she made out her will she told her lawyer, "I don't want any of my money going to the Muslim Brotherhood!" And her last protestation dealt with "Obama's death panels." Mother died just days later. I hold FOX News responsible for my mother's death.

The Big Dog's back

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained lengthy or off-topic excerpts from other websites. Discussion Guidelines


Do you mean a 'lazy local newspaper' like the Reflector?


I like Rufus, If i want to point to a left leaning racist that doesnt care about anyone who isnt black and likes to blame all societys woes on whites i point to him as a prime example of a religious racist bigot who has a blog and spews hatred whenever he writes, So i would like for you to keep him around. Sorta like Big Dog, Hes just as irrevelent (Racist) and amusing at the same time. Maybe we could balance it out some with a Grand dragon of the KKK But im sure the KKK member would at least have the common sense to know no one cares what he has to say instead of trying to act as though we all could give a crap.

Rufus Saunders the only preacher in america that wishes half the nation (The whites of course) would die a horrible disease. Awesome blog hatemonger!!!

Oh Dog. I hold MSNBC responsible for brainwashing millions of idiots to vote for the guy overthrowing the constitution. Does that count? Racist.


Can I please just say to Mr. Jackson and Mr. Westerhold, as one of your critics...when in the business of journalism, I would assume that you go about your job with conviction. The fact that either or both of you feel the need to stand up for what you report or what is reported represents much weakness in truly thinking you have to rationalize what you put in print. Let people say what they have to say...or let them eat cake!!  That's what comment section is for! Obviously the reaction that you are receiving from your readers is enough for you to possibly re-think your tactics!  I have to believe in all the years of reading this paper, I have never seen so much transition between what could be the truth or what remains to be seen.  Receiving e-mails from you to further my point is only another reason why I question the choices you make. Surely if you believe strongly in the point you are trying to convey, then the rest is only rhetorical blog that really doesn't need a rationalization. I think everyone here stands fairly firm in their opinions, I hope that you can stay firm in your reporting and have no reason ever for retractions!


newspapers are a business. readers are paying consumers. consumers demand the absolute truth of newspapers. when newspapers do not report the whole truth and only one sided truth, the consumers will stop paying and reading. get a clue sandusky register. report only what is true after some investigative reporting, don't report rumors or falsehoods (investigate both sides and then report) and then and only then maybe many will pay to read the truth in the sandusky register. who knows, the sandusky register could expand to ottowa, huron, sandusky, lorain and other counties. your call sandusky register. either report the truthful news or go out of business.  the internet and various internet networks will put you out of business. report the truthful news (both sides of issues) and the printed copies will survive. i get this information from the network which is world wide. just saying. like any business, when consumers complain, please listen. hula hoops, 8 track tapes, land phone lines, video rental stores went out of business long ago. but there is still hope for printed newspapers that tell the entire truth. please believe in what i say. please?


Pres. George W. Bush's speechwriter David Frum said that the GOP now works for Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. Jane Hall said when she was at Fox  she was told she was too critical of Republicans and not critical enough of Democrats. FAIR AND BALANCED?


Tom Jackson writes:

"We've had several page one stories on our efforts to obtain an interview with Gov. Romney,"

As is said: Delay ain't denial.

How exactly is the SR's inability to obtain an interview to be viewed as a negative on the part of the Repub candidate?

Besides, the campaign still has about four months and some to go.

As I've written before:

Tell Mr. Whitis to attempt an interview with the Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson. Libertarians need all the publicity that they can get. And the locals need to know that there is an alternative to the Dumb and Dumber parties.

BTW: Did you see that Okie City was named the most manly city in the U.S.?



The Register failed when talking about Romney not coming to Sandusky to carp about Oama not coming and four years ago it was McCain that came to Sandusky however I do not think that Obama did.

Ya know there are libs and conservs and each like their own kind of news. Some papers and TV  viewers are left and some right. I feel that is a good system an no matter what we are we do have a choice.As long as both have viewers then the sponsors will be there for both sides and there will continue to be news available for both. It does seem that ABC,CBS &NBC are losing viewers while Fox is gaining .

Big dog expressed the views of Politi Fact and if you read their opinions it is just that their opinion as it is not really backed up with facts from a creditable source. You could receive the other side from So just like receiving both sides of the news we do have our choice where to go for fact finding. No matter which side we lean to we should appreciate that in this country we do have the freedom of the press.

Some comments paint Fox as only right leaning however Fox does have some lefties such as Big Bob Beckel, Alan Colmes, Juan Williams, Kristen Powers, Gretta Van Sustren and others and I do listen and consider their comments.

Lastly for all you people out there that claim that a person is a racist if they do not agree with Obama and I am just wondering if you also feel that anyone that voted for Strickland in lieu of Ken Blackwell would also be considered a Racist ??????????



 In our home, we call It Faux News: Fairly Unbalanced.  At least MSNBC doesn't pretend to be non-partisan. The real problem is that because Fox markets itself as non-partisan/unbiased, a LOT of people actually believe that to be true.


 @Dick Tracey: Are you kidding? Selective editing and taking things out of context is the defining theme of Fox News. We watch it on occasion, simply because their take on many issues is so blatantly silly and biased. Rolls eyes...


 @Dick Tracey: Are you kidding? Selective editing and taking things out of context is the defining theme of Fox News. We watch it on occasion, simply because their take on many issues is so blatantly silly and biased. Rolls eyes...


Reminds me of a big brother coming to the rescue of the wimpy little brother .

Now The Rest of...

Considering the Fox News rating in all time slots are double or sometimes even triple the other cable news networks in ratings and are a close competitor to the major broadcast networks on a per capita basis.  Why do we care what Matt Westerhold or the Sandusky Registers views are?.  If you want real comedy with your news, watch the low rated clowns on MSNBC.....

Tom Jackson

 @Contango Perhaps you missed my Gary Johnson interview, published on this blog in February?



GO Fox News!  The ONLY news outlet to get the TRUTH.  Oops, go ahead and keep watching your MSNBC, CNBC, NPR, ABC, CBS, CNN and ALL the others.  Go ahead and subscribe to the NY Times, Chicago Tribune and the Register.  You have my blessing to spend your money the way YOU want your news.  I love capitalistic enterprise.  That is called making decisions on your own BUSINESS instead of taking orders from liberal democracks who demand what you should do.  I enjoy the FREEDOM to spend my EARNED money the way I want, NOT the way for all you liberal members of the freeloaders club of entitlements want.  Isn't it AMAZING how all you crybaby whiners HATE one news outlet because they do not conform to your liberal bias?  Go ahead and continue with the liberal, democrack agenda of HATE.  I see all you loser haters must all gang up on ONE news station.  Boo, hoo, hoo!  Ha! Ha!  Even your liar-in-thief, who you elected, spoke out against ONE news outlet.  Even the 0bama administration tried to BAN Fox News from the White House press pool because they do NOT glorify a fraud.  How about it Sandusky Register?  How would YOU like to be banned from ANY news by Bush?  How would it feel?  Oops, I forgot, you copy right off the liberal AP-0bama wire service and get awards for doing it.  Here is a simple tip for all you whining, crybaby, liberal, democrack losers.  Don't like Fox News?  Then do NOT watch instead of BELLYACHING so much!  How simple is that to comprehend?  Keep watching all the other networks.  They NEED the ratings.  Ha! Ha!  Isn't it AMAZING that Fox News has more viewership than all the other cable news networks COMBINED??  Can any of you losers explain that?  If Fox News is the leader in news over ALL the other outlets, YOU must be watching as well.  Come on, how about that "solidarity" to your liberal base?  They would appreciate it if you would learn to OBEY the anointed one and give your money to his campaign.  How are the unemployment numbers again?  Oops, NO liberal news reporting that today or ANY of those higher "adjustments" made every week?  How is the national DEBT?  How is the economy doing?  Anyone know about the Fed's prediction on the annual pace of growth for the rest of 2012?  NO news on that??  Of course not!  The news is horrible, especially for the anointed one.  As a reminder to you freaks, 0bama has been the president for 3.5 YEARS, not Bush!  I guess everything MUST be peachy in liberal world.  At least 0bama broke the record playing 100 rounds of golf in 3.5 years.  Where is the budget?  "Where be my check?"  Ha! Ha!           


 @ Mr. Jackson:

Thanks for the link. Yes, I do believe that I read it at the time.

You're not implying that a solitary interview four months ago when Mr. Johnson wasn't even the Libertarian presidential nominee is sufficient coverage for the SR are you?



Cenk Uygur (host of The Young Turks) explains why he left MSNBC  part 1 and part 2. the government didn't want cenk uygur telling the truth and MSNBC wanted uygur to tone it down. why did lame stream news like MSNBC didn't report the entire news about fast and furious or the lies of obama? is somebody local like the good old boys telling the sandusky register what to report on and not report on?

FruGalSpender    obama and romney are for secret behind doors trade deals and sheep still want obama and romney?  politicized justice department.


Tom Jackson

 @Contango, That's correct, I didn't imply that.



Fox "news", is nothing but a mouth for the right wingers.


@ Mr. Jackson:

Well then IMO, tell Mr. Whitis that instead of writing his "Trials of Emil" stories, to get off his derriere and go out and get something (anything) that may be worth-a-read like an interview with Mr. Johnson.

BTW: Is your spouse still solidly in the Obama camp or has she become somewhat disillusioned?


Also, speaking about MSNBC;  I like to listen and read opposing viewpoints if and when they are intelligently articulated.

I used to occasionally attempt to listen to the bankrupt and now defunct "Air America." 

What I most often tended to hear were permutations of the refrain: "Can we all agree that Bush is the problem?" They then would laugh.

IMO, on their present trajectory, MSNBC will go the way of Air America.

Why is Fox News financially successful? The first rule of business is: Find a need and fill it.

I watch a lot of MSNBC's sister station CNBC. They are about 180º politically opposite of them.

Tom Jackson

 @Contango, Well, the idea of the "Chasing the President" series is to try to obtain exclusive interviews with two very prominent politicians who ordinarily would not talk to a smaller newspaper.

Emil is a very good, and very busy, police reporter, so he's being a good sport by taking on this additional assignment.


The Big Dog's back

 In case no one has figured it out yet, faux news does get the most viewers. And who are the sheep? Baaaaaah right wingers.


Re: Howard Hughes LW&T.

@ Mr. Jackson:

Yet another Howard Hughes will?

Reads like a modern equivalent of the numerous pieces of Jesus' cross.



Simply put, it's laughable that a newspaper the size of the Register decides to wade into national politics. 

And the problem for the Register's business model is that while Erie County is (sadly) still tied to its historic union/Democratic voting history most of the citizenry that can still read in the Sandusky area leans more right. 

I'm going to guess that your average city dweller with 5 kids, no spouse and questionable job prospects is not taking home delivery of the Register, nor are they clicking on internet ads on this site.  That's not to say every person viewing such an editorial is a GOP member, but a healthy slice of them are.  Always good for the bottom line when a small business upsets 1/2 their clientele to the point of making them want to stay away.