By Scott Tibbs, April 8, 2010
On March 28, the Herald-Times published a feature story about an investigation by the Attorney General's office into the practices of the county Assessor's Office, because an audit by the State Board of Accounts incorrectly concluded there was not a contract for work done for the county.
The very next day, the contract was found.
County Assessor Judy Sharp said she felt "smeared" by the investigation, and the H-T issued a self-righteous editorial slamming the investigation. A week after the H-T published the original hit piece on Sharp, the "newspaper" published another self-righteous editorial scolding the investigation.
First, let's clear the air about the investigation. The State Board of Accounts original audit was in error. The state had a copy of the contract the entire time. But Attorney General Greg Zoeller is compelled to investigate such matters as the counsel for the state of Indiana. Zoeller was simply doing his job by following up on the matter of the "missing" contract. Had he not taken steps to investigate, he would not have been doing his duty and would have done a disservice to the taxpayers of Indiana. If there is any fault at the state level, it is with the State Board of Accounts.
Second, the two-faced, fork-tongued hypocrisy of the Herald-Times is sickening. The so-called "newspaper" rushed to plaster the "story" about Sharp's office all over the Sunday paper and the paper's Web site. The H-T simply could not be bothered to sit on the story for two days until all of the facts were established. No, Bob Zaltsberg rushed to press with the "story" and was forced to issue a retraction on Tuesday.
The H-T was humiliated, but Zaltsberg and columnist Mike Leonard decided to act like petulant children instead of grown men. They pointed fingers and attempted to shift blame to the attorney general. The fact of the matter is, though, that there is only one entity that smeared Sharp - the Bloomington Herald-Times. For two days, the people of Monroe County were led to believe that Sharp may have illegally awarded work without a contract, all because the H-T rushed a sensationalistic "news" story to press before the "newspaper" had all of the facts.
The Herald-Times is a dirty black stain on the profession of journalism. Bob Zaltsberg should be ashamed of himself. If he was a man instead of a petulant child, he would be. But there is no shame whatsoever at 1900 South Walnut. After all, this is the same "newspaper" that published glaring factual errors that should be easily caught, shameless lies about the funding of Ivy Tech, and despicable smears against IU students seeking funding to bring a speaker to campus. This is the same "newspaper" where a columnist fabricated a Congressional vote to smear an incumbent Congressman and this is the same "newspaper" that published a libelous personal hit piece on an IU student trustee.
No newspaper with integrity would publish the kind of filth spewed on a regular basis by the al-Jazeera Herald-Times. But there is not one single shred of integrity at 1900 South Walnut.