By Scott Tibbs, March 5, 2010
Herald-Times columnist Mike Leonard has done it again. As you may recall, Leonard committed a serious breach of journalistic ethics in 2006 by fabricating a Congressional vote that never took place and attacking Mike Sodrel based on that fabrication. Now, he is lying about Governor Mitch Daniels.
On February 28, Leonard wrote:
|Daniels has stayed consistent in his drive to write property tax caps into the state constitution. Even though the caps already are state law.
We’ve seen the wisdom of that philosophy already. Public education is getting slammed, higher education is taking hard hits — especially at Ivy Tech.
There is a major problem with Leonard's argument. Ivy Tech is not funded by property taxes. Leonard is attempting to lead H-T readers into believing that Ivy Tech's operating budget is funded by property taxes, and their operating budget has suffered as property taxes have gone down since the reforms implemented a few years ago.
That is not true. It is a lie. That means Mike Leonard is a liar.
Leonard's article was little more than a hyper partisan hit piece on the Governor, a fact underscored by the laughable claim a property tax freeze is "going to destroy public education in Indiana, which also is a Daniels goal."
Leftists know Leonard stepped in it again, so they are pulling out all the stops in a desperate attempt to distract attention away from Leonard's egregious lie. Leonard has been the Democratic Party's mouthpiece in Monroe County for years, and they do not want to lose the free space he gives them to promote their political agenda.
They shouldn't be worried. If Leonard was not fired after fabricating a Congressional vote that never took place - a serious breach of journalistic ethics that would get him fired at any newspaper where the editor has even the tiniest shred of integrity - he will not be fired or reassigned for his latest lie.
The red herrings will not work. Leonard has been writing about politics for years, and he knows that Ivy Tech's operating budget is not funded by property taxes. Leftists can flail their arms and stomp their feet as much as they want, but the fact of the matter is that Mike Leonard lied about the source of Ivy Tech's funding. No amount of spin will change that fact, and no amount of red herrings will make it go away. This is not about Republicans and Democrats and this is most certainly not about Leonard's critics. This is about truth.
Mike Leonard is an opinion columnist. I may not agree with him, but I do not have a problem with him writing editorials. Sometimes, his articles are a worthwhile and informative read. But while opinion and analysis are expected from a columnist, Leonard should be held to the same standards as any other reporter regarding factual and truthful information. He should not be permitted to shamelessly lie about well-established facts.
The Herald-Times needs to issue a retraction and an apology for Leonard's egregious lie, and he should be put on notice that these severe breaches of journalistic ethics will not be tolerated and will result in his employment being terminated if it happens again.