Cover-Up Collusion by the Fourth Estate? ProJo Endorsed David Cicilline Three Days AFTER the Release of the Internal Auditor’s Report
In an excellent post at Legal Insurrection entitled “What Did Former Providence Mayor David Cicilline (D-RI) Know, And When Did He Know It?”, William Jacobson points out, among other interesting items, that David Cicilline was endorsed by the Providence Journal.
One’s initial reaction is, sure, they endorsed him; he was the Dem candidate. And this is certainly a natural reflex. The ProJo has a marked propensity to support and endorse liberal and Dem candidates.
This one is particularly troublesome for the ProJo, however. In their endorsement, they specifically cited Cicilline’s “fiscal discipline” and called him “a highly competent public servant”. Yet this praise and endorsement came three days after numerous news and media outlets, including the ProJo itself, had reported that Cicilline had failed to make numerous payments to city pension funds, had emptied the reserve fund, had refused to provide numbers and documents to one of the city’s own auditors and had baldly lied about all of it.
Doesn’t the Editorial Board read its own newspaper? Or did they read about the Internal Auditor’s report and unquestioningly dismiss it as someone once again just being mean to poor David?
This is not to dilute or detract from David Cicilline’s culpability in the original matter. The ProJo played no role in his egregious budget fixes. By ignoring the Internal Auditor’s report (even to the extent of disregarding their own reporters!), however, the Editorial Board did assist the mayor in smothering this disturbing revelation as to the true condition of the city’s finances and the corollary matter of any contributory policies of the Cicilline administration. This, of course, helped him preserve the false image of a “competent public servant” just long enough to obtain a political promotion.
In doing so, the ProJo became a watchdog guarding the wrong object.
In the wake of necessary and dire budget steps taken by Providence’s new mayor, the ProJo has belatedly started asking questions of David Cicilline, going so far as to publish an unfortunate (from his perspective) exchange between his office and a ProJo reporter seeking answers from the reluctant congressman.
It is to be hoped that, in the future, the Providence Journal undertakes such diligence before and not after a candidate has gained a political promotion – gained, in part, via the dissemination of false information about a vital public matter. This state needs all the (properly focused) watchdogs it can get.