Courant Fails on Latest Rennie Hit Piece

Sometimes as a journalist (as defined by education, training and experienced, not by the ignorant rantings of Tom Foley), one has to question certain decisions by other media outlets. Case in point this week is the column by writer (and not reporter) Kevin Rennie in the Hartford Courant.

Rennie slams Gov. Dannel Malloy for allowing his friend and former staffer Roy Occhiogrosso to hold his wedding at the governor’s mansion. Yes, Occhiogrosso is employed by Global Strategies which did win a state contract to spread the word about the state’s new health exchange.

The reader finds out in paragraph 12 of a 13-paragraph column that anyone can rent the governor’s mansion for an event as long as it’s nonprofit, community-based and the renter pays the $100 fee which Occhiogrosso did. The governor’s mansion belongs to the people. The people choose who gets to live there. That person gets to make certain decisions about its use.

In paragraph 13, Rennie finally admits, “…the nuptials at the residence break no rules” but, Rennie contends, they violate the spirit of what Malloy said would be an ethical administration. That “spirit,” of course, being defined by Rennie and only Rennie. H didn’t ask any ethics officials about the wedding or, if he did, he didn’t include their answers in his hit piece.

Even the Joseph McCarthy of Connecticut politics, former and future (maybe) gubernatorial candidate Foley, would likely not go so far as to say there was anything unethical about the weddings. And this is a guy that subscribes to the “throw everything at the wall and see if anything sticks” brand of politics.

Rennie actually gives comfort to Foley’s nonsense saying he was simply “clumsy” in trying to make his point. Rennie’s not alone. Don Pesci is a commentator who seems to think the media should spend their time “digging into” Foley’s allegations simply because he made them. It’s been “dog track time” for Pesci for some time now. He managed to spell my name two different ways in one sentence and somehow spelled it wrong in the link to this webpage (but fortunately got the link right) and in his headline. It’s not that hard. It’s S-C-U-L-L-Y—like Vin, like the X-Files. It’s not like I’m Patrick “Saltalamacchia.” I don’t care what you say about me, Mr. Pesci. Just spell my name correctly.

The most troubling thing about the Rennie column is the post-scripted, editor’s note (line number 15 of a 13-paragraph column). The Courant saw fit to add: “Editor’s note: People who work for the Courant’s opinion page were among those invited to Roy Occhigrosso’s wedding.”

Really? Who were they? I assume Rennie was not invited. Terry Cowgill, one of the best and fairest op-ed writers in the state (www.ctnewsjunkie.com), immediately asked on Facebook Sunday morning, “Did they [the Courant peeps] attend?” At the very least, Courant editors should have required Rennie to include the answers to these questions in the column. He needs a much shorter leash.