Below is Ruth Holladay's response in full:
Since when does the Star carry water for the Pacers?The lawyer in me wants to see the actual sponsorship contracts and see if they truly do mandate such a lavish vacation for the sponsors. That's something people are forgetting about - they're just taking the Pacers' word about what is required by the sponsorship contracts. Of course, I think the odds of the Pacers making those contracts public are about as likely as the Pacers opening their books to actually prove the team is losing $30 million.
Or follow the reporting done by blogs?
Since it became a mediocre newspaper. Here's what was in the Star today, along with the back story.
Behind Closed Doors, which runs under the heading of PUBLIC INTEREST, (!!!) contains a small item: "Blogs don't get bogged down in facts."
Here's what it says:
"Local blogs were agog last week about a trip the financially strapped Pacers hosted for sponsors to Cancun, Mexico, recently.
"The blogs reported the Pacers took 60 people on a five-day trip to an exclusive oceanside resort.
"These bloggers, however, had it only half right."
Behind Closed Doors then goes on to get it all wrong -- quoting Pacers PR veep Greg Schenke, who magnanimously explains that the corporate sponsors in fact have contracts, which, as the Pacers/Star would have it, makes everything peachy keen. In other words, in Pacer/Star logic, the sponsors paid "up front" for their lucrative little jaunt to Mexico, plus all those liters of booze and spa time, so all is therefore fine and good.
Since this blog reported first on this issue, followed by other blogs, let me be the first to say: my source knew about the contracts.
And, unlike Behind Closed Doors, we are not impressed. Wasteful spending is exactly that: wasteful. If these corporate fat cats have the dough to throw a luxury six-day vacation into their deals with the team, in these hard-luck times, maybe THEY should bail the Pacers out -- after all, they get the benefit of luxury suites and other perks. They may well be the only people in town enjoying the Pacers these days.
The underlying issue remains the stickler: Pacers owners, Mel and Herb Simon, want the taxpayers to foot the team's $15 million bill for Conseco Fieldhouse. To further rankle citizens, the Pacers are being aided and abetted by the Capitol Improvement Board, which has become a joke if not worse.
Now, the Star has joined the ranks of this PR campaign by allowing itself to be used as a PR horn for the Pacers, rather than performing its journalistic job -- reporting who went on that trip, digging into the nature of such biz-sport team contracts, who benefits, etc. Of course, this sideshow is pretty transparent, since one of the trip-takers was John Cherba, director of retail advertising at the Star.
This is why people don't respect newspapers anymore.
And the Star simply compounded that by today's silly item.
Thanks to blogger Gary Welsh at Advance Indiana for pointing me to today's Behind Closed Doors.
The Star did not report on the trip at all...that is until bloggers picked up on it. Then the Star take was to not provide substantive reporting on the trip but rather to criticize the bloggers for doing the Star's job. Ahem.
For Gary Welsh's take go here.
Go here for Eye on Indianapolis response to the BCD piece.