Investigative Reporting In Cleveland

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Is it surprising that Bradley County wants to play games with their "Open Records" policy?   It wasn't that long ago that Cleveland was known as the "Odometer Rollback Capital of the World." This new "Open Records" policy is a similar attempt to roll back transparency and make it difficult to see what government is doing.

 

You might ask where the local newspaper of record, the Cleveland Daily Banner, stands in this decision to hide and/or make it difficult to see public records.

Are newspapers supposed to investigate or reprint press releases? Are newspapers to search for truth or sprinkle fairy-dust?

 

In 1990 as a new arrival to Cleveland, I was given a free three-month subscription to the Cleveland Daily Banner. The front page was replete with high school sports, winning lottery numbers, hand-shaking politicians with giant checks. You could also find on the front page such important life-changing news of who in Cleveland was wearing a new pair of flip-flops, who ate a vanilla ice cream cone with sprinkles, and which couple had just returned from a trip to the Holy Land Buffet and Bouffant Hair Salon with unlimited trips to the manna, locust, fried-chicken, and hairspray bar.

 

The only investigative reporting I recall in the past 27 years was their three-day, hard-hitting investigative search for whose horse or horses had dropped a flop on the Greenway. Yes, all of Cleveland held its breath as victims told their harrowing stories about almost stepping in horse manure.  The Cleveland Daily Banner pondered a "Reign of Terror" descending on the Greenway and the mayor was on the verge of calling for the National Guard to protect Cleveland from the scourge of scat.

 

Like you, no one ever thinks this will happen close to home, that your neighbor's horse will become radicalized, that Trigger, Fury, or Buttermilk will become a jihadist steed, sworn to explosively poop on paths, trails, and pastures without regard for bare feet and sandals. To this day I'm unable to watch old westerns or reruns of Mr. Ed as I relieve those days of terror. Along with many others in Bradley CountyI still suffer from  PTHDS (Post-Traumatic Horse-Dropping Silliness).

 

Forget government embezzlement, past District Attorney shenanigans, church scandals of fiscal malfeasance and sexual abuse, and elected officials' crimes and cover-ups. No, it's horse-crap that gets the Cleveland Daily Banner into Woodward/Bernstein action.

 

Who says that the glory days of uncompromising newspaper journalism are long dead? Not in Cleveland, Tennessee, where lollipops and cotton-candy are news du jour. Just watch your step.

 

Stephen Greenfield

Cleveland, Tn.



Become An Official, Stay Connected To High School Sports

They don’t make the headlines, their names are not in the box scores and they don’t make the allstar teams, but perhaps the most important individuals in high school sports are the contest officials.  These individuals are so important that, in fact, there would be no organized competitive sports at the high school level without the men and women who officiate these contests ... (click for more)

General Bell: This Government Shutdown Is Outrageous - And Response (5)

The day before yesterday two Army Apache Attack Helicopter pilots were killed in a crash during training at Fort Irwin, Ca.  The pilots and their unit were preparing for a future deployment to combat operations.    As a result of the government shutdown, none of the spouses or families of these pilots will receive a dime from the United States Government in immediate ... (click for more)

City's Top Traffic Reconstruction Expert: "Man, This Truck Just Creamed A Dozen Cars"

The Chattanooga Police Department's top traffic reconstruction expert testified Tuesday that when he first viewed the scene of an horrific crash at the Ooltewah exit he thought "Man, this truck just creamed a dozen cars." Officer Joe Warren told a jury from Nashville that, according to his calculations, Benjamin Scott Brewer was traveling at 81-82 miles per hour when he struck ... (click for more)

Taji Webb, 26, Shot And Killed Monday Night; Shooter Will Not Be Charged

Taji Webb, 26, was shot and killed Monday night. Police said they have determined that the shooting was justified and the unidentified shooter would not be charged.   The Chattanooga Police Department responded at 10:43 p.m. to a person shot call in the 1500 block of Ryan Street .  Upon arrival, officers located Webb lying on the ground suffering from a gunshot ... (click for more)

East Hamilton's English Suspended For Tonight's Bradley Game

(Story will be updated) East Hamilton boys’ basketball coach Rodney English has been suspended from his coaching duties and will not accompany the team to Cleveland for tonight’s District 5-3A game against Bradley Central. English, who guided the Hurricanes to the 2017 boys’ state tournament in the program’s best season since the school opened in 2009, was suspended by ... (click for more)

Ooltewah's Second-Half Rally Dumps East Ridge, 66-54

East Ridge launched an all-out 3-point blitz against Ooltewah on Monday night at Catherine Neely Gymnasium. The Owls, who trailed 2-0 before the game even started due to Cam Chambers’ technical foul because of dunking in warmups, weathered that storm. They whittled an 18-6 first-quarter deficit down to 27-23 at halftime. Ooltewah took its first lead at 31-30 on Kobe Smith’s ... (click for more)