Asshat of the Week

That didn’t take long.

Lynn M. Ewing III, a man who seems as smug, pretentious and gasbaggy as that name suggests, just took The Chart out for a ride. During his first comments to the Board of Governors to which he was just appointed.

Sometimes The Chart deserves it, sure. And when they do, we will be just like Tom Hagen to Sal Tessio when he asks off the hook for old times’ sake. Not a chance.

That wasn’t the case here.

From a transcript making the campus circuit at warp speed, we find “III” (Can we call you Trey? Thanks.) hinting at a “grievance” being filed against a student reporter who apparently hurt Rod Anderson’s feelings. Boo hoo. A man Anderson’s size obviously has a mouth, so if he would answer simple questions and not hang up, reporters wouldn’t have to dial up the dickhead factor. (And if Anderson goes after a student reporter for asking questions he finds difficult, he is in for some time in front of Judge Judy. Or Judge Alex. But it will be a judge)

According to Trey:

“Now, that said, I was disappointed to learn of at least the appearance of a lack of civility on the part of certain members of the press when dealing with the board and it’s my hope that this will not be the case going forward when I’m on the board and we can talk civilly and communicate openly.”

Well put. Last time we looked, hanging up on a reporter asking a simple question was not exactly Emily Post. And this award-winner didn’t talk civilly or communicate openly with the reporter or hear his or her side. He just accepted the Anderson account without question. And then ambushed the student and the paper in front of the entire campus community. Classy.

Some more words of wisdom from a man whose ego needs a roman numeral — this time because an anonymous reader left an online post under an assumed name. The Chart printed it in the Friday paper:

“My point is this to The Chart and to people in general. You have a right to free speech and to say anything you want. But put your name on it and be prepared to defend it. The Globe doesn’t publish letters to the editor without a signature, The Chart recites a similar letter to the editors policy, but apparently it didn’t  apply or didn’t apply in this case to the publication of online posts so I would encourage The Chart to print real identities of those whose opinions it chooses to post.”

First of all, Trey, do you have Internet access? Every news organization and trashy blog allows online comments without a name. And most print a selection in the paper and ink edition. The letters to the editor have names because they are a formal communication. Online comments are more like entertainment.The reader can determine credibility. Or should you be the thought police?

Oh, yeah. And one of the most famous pieces of journalism ever was written under an assumed name by three founding fathers. Ever hear of The Federalist Papers?

These kids didn’t do anything wrong. The only factual statement you challenged was made by a reader in another comment. Yet you brought to bear your prosecutorial skill to pick on STUDENTS. With cameras rolling. On your first day on the job.

If the asshat fits……

Full transcript of Trey’s comments about The Chart:

My work presently as county prosecutor is driven by facts, by data and by evidence. So too will my work on this board be driven by facts, data and evidence and it has to be so because good decisions can only be made with accurate information.

I have a couple of things that I’d just like to comment on that have caused me a little bit of concern that appeared in the 26 of February edition of The Chart newspaper. On the front page below the fold…the executive editor noted my appointment to the board and then the last sentence of the article reads, “Board Chairman Rod Anderson, when notified of the appointment Tuesday by The Chart, said ‘no comment’ and hung up.”

Well, of course, my first thought is, “Okay, I don’t know Rod, is this a comment on my future status on the board?” But I called Rod and I visited with him and I understand now the circumstances that are being addressed possibly and a grievance directed at recent conduct between the press and the chairman and so I was pleased to know your ‘no comment’ was not a reflection of your opinion on me, definitely.

Now, that said, I was disappointed to learn of at least the appearance of a lack of civility on the part of certain members of the press when dealing with the board and it’s my hope that this will not be the case going forward when I’m on the board and we can talk civilly and communicate openly.

Now, on your opinion page of The Chart, several comments were printed regarding my appointment to the board and one of the comments suggests- maybe someone who had a vested interest in the university and actually cares about what is going on there- would have been a more appropriate pick. I’d be interested in seeing if Ewing actually submitted an application for the position or if it’s done off the buddy system. And it’s signed “MSSU Alumni.”

First, let me say I’d be very interested in know who you are. Unfortunately your identity is hidden by a nom de plume or a username. And I’d like to have the opportunity to know the facts on which you had offered such an opinion and to test any assumptions you have made based on those facts and then I can also have the opportunity to assess and test your motivations for making that kind of statement because I don’t know who you are.

My point is this to The Chart and to people in general. You have a right to free speech and to say anything you want. But put your name on it and be prepared to defend it. The Globe doesn’t publish letters to the editor without a signature, The Chart recites a similar letter to the editors policy, but apparently it didn’t apply or didn’t apply in this case to the publication of online posts so I would encourage The Chart to print real identities of those whose opinions it chooses to post.

Yes, I did submit an application for this position last year. I’ve been interested in an opportunity to serve on this board since Jane Wynum served on this board. I’ve known Jane for a couple of years and discussed the possibility clear back in the mid-90’s about starting on this.

And I’d also point out that this particular opinion was written in the first person and appeared to be singular. And if you are an individual you are an alumnus, not an alumni.

Now, at the end my comments, Mr. Ben Hinkle had a post and kudos to you Ben for putting your name on your post. It is incorrect where it states that the “composition of this board is governed by 174.060 in Missouri by statutes.” That’s not accurate. The board’s composition is governed by Missouri by statutes 174.450 and 174.453.

I don’t raise this point to be critical of Ben’s legal research, but the point to be made here is, to The Chart and others: check your facts, check your facts and check your facts. And when you are certain you have it right, check your facts again. If you print it, whether one of your staff wrote it or it appears in a letter to the editor or an online post, you are responsible as journalists for assuring that the facts stated there are accurate. And so I challenge you to challenge those inaccurate facts that are presented to you for publication. Check your facts.

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One Response to “Asshat of the Week”

  1. high-on-morphing Says:

    Lynn M. Ewing III – recent appointment to MSSU board, went immediately on the defensive to currey favor with –, well, come to think of it, with whom? Dwight?

    Men Li Mewing II – recent appointment to Reactionary University of Beijing, a staunch supporter of repression of speech of any kind.

    Leming Mew Lingling — new panda cub at the National Zoo, who on his first appearance before the media shit in his own hat — so cute — and will soon be shipped to Cambodia.

    Bingle Ling Mingle III — the next appointment from Governor Nixon: someone who is not homophobic, nor media-phobic, nor student-phobic, nor even faculty-phobic — just a straight-talking, level-headed progressive who will want to understand how the president and board of a small regional university can get things so screwed up in so little time.

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