The Akron Beacon Journal did a piece about how Connell touched the lives of many and somehow, decided to make the article about something else, and then again, about something else. In it, however, the reporters took pains to discuss "conspiracy theories"without addressing any of the facts relating to Connell's alleged direct involvement in some very questionable things. Nor do they cite what these conspiracy theories are and identify the "blogs" that are supposedly posting these theories. They did, however, mention the alleged threats against Connell. That is at least a good first step. Here are some snips:
He shook hands with presidents in Washington and paupers in El Salvador. He founded multimillion-dollar companies and a Knights of Columbus chapter.
In his 45 years, Michael Connell built powerful relationships and touched lives, rising like a rocket in national politics and playing key roles in Republican campaigns with his ''IT guru genius'' and Web site vision.
In the wake of his death in an airplane crash Friday night near Akron-Canton Airport, Mr. Connell's legend grew as his name was tossed around by conspiracy theorists connecting him to presidential adviser Karl Rove and the controversial presidential election of 2004.
Okay, how was his name "tossed around" and by whom? I am curious what these so called theories are and who these so-called theorists are? The article provides no information relating to this strange statement.
State Highway Patrol Lt. Eric Sheppard said Mr. Connell's plane was in communication with the airport control tower just before the crash, but he could not detail whether the radio transmissions were calls for help.''We have no reason to believe at this point it was anything other than an unfortunate crash,'' Sheppard said.
It was Mr. Connell's work in information technology for Republicans that garnered him a national reputation and eventually involved him as a witness in a federal lawsuit alleging election tampering. Mr. Connell's role as a witness has erupted a storm cloud of conspiracy theories about his death on left-leaning Internet blog sites.
Okay, what are the theories? What are the blogs? What was he a witness about and how did he come to be a witness? Nope, nada, nothing.
Mr. Connell was subpoenaed in the 2006 case against former Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, alleging that voter fraud helped steal Ohio votes and swing the 2004 election for President George W. Bush.
Mr. Connell tried to fight the subpoena, but a judge ruled against it and he gave a deposition on Nov. 3.
Why did the judge force the deposition when he did? A hint, because the Ohio Attorney General and attorneys pushing for the deposition presented evidence to the judge relating to the threats and asked for protection, which Connell did not get. In addition, Connell's attorneys requested that any information revealed during the deposition relating to his company's business practices and to the alleged threats their client got be sealed. The judge approved this too. Onwards with the rest of the article:
It was through the fight over the subpoena that attorneys who brought the case learned that Mr. Connell and his wife had allegedly been threatened with federal prosecution by Rove.
Bob Fitrakis, one of the Columbus attorneys who filed the lawsuit, a former Green Party candidate for president and a political blogger known for his conspiracy theories on election stealing in Ohio, said word of Mr. Connell's death ''sent a chill down my spine.''
Okay then. As I have noted, I have no idea what happened to Connell's plane and do not claim any theory on the crash (other than it may have been caused by medical condition if it were an accident).
But to do a news article in which election tampering and fraud are called "conspiracy theories" despite the evidence on both sides of the [a]isle, is astonishing to me. Do these reporters know anything of the Siegelman case? Have they heard of Dan Gans?
In addition, there is far more to Connell's story than his alleged election fraud tampering. I am not sure what this article was supposed to be about. If it was a human interest piece about the sense of loss the community felt, then the rest should have been left out. If it was a description of the accident and the most current information from the police and authorities investigating, then the rest should have been left out. If it was supposed to be an article exploring the connections of Connell's business and the allegations against him, then it should have been entirely about that - given the complexity.
WKYC, however, does a much shorter piece and manages to stay away from personal opinion and snarky tid-bits that have no place in a news article. In other words, they do their job:
Connell, 45, of Bath Township, is considered to be one of the Republican Party's top computer experts. He led the companies that designed websites for the GOP and a virtual who's-who list of republican political leaders including President George W. Bush, Senator John McCain, as well as national organizations. Connell developed a host of federal government software and data management systems. Connell is also said to be a close confidant of the Bush family.
Earlier this year Connell was subpoenaed to testify in an Ohio federal court regarding voter fraud just days before the November presidential election. His alleged intimate knowledge of White House and Capitol Hill email systems has been a hot topic of conversation for Washington insiders regarding the Karl Rove/White House email scandal.
Protein Wisdom does a very good job of being non-political about the story and takes the position similar to mine, basically an investigation that must consider the context. I cannot say the same thing for their readership.
BradBlog has the most detailed background on Connell and the various allegations.
ePluribis Media is probably the best source on everything Connell
Also see Newshoggers' coverage