Thursday, March 15, 2007

A stroll down memory lane

Ah, Chiquita! Just the sound of that name is enough to make any Enquirer employee's shoulders droop. Give the Enquirer credit for not burying today's story, about how Chiquita paid $1.7 million in protection money in Colombia to a terrorist organization known as AUC from 1997 to 2004. They even provided a link to the court document describing the violations, and it's worth reading.

The Enquirer followed the letter of the law, so to speak, about this story. They assigned a reporter to cover it, and stripped the story across the top of the front page. There's little original reporting, however. It says the payments began when Carl Lindner and his family controlled Chiquita, but as for AUC, the story only lifts a few lines from an Associated Press story saying AUC "has been responsible for some of the worst massacres in Colombia's civil conflict and for a sizable percentage of the country's cocaine exports." In 2001, when Chiquita was paying AUC,
(T)he AUC killed at least 1,015 civilians, a statistic that greatly surpasses the 197 civilians killed by the FARC. The AUC also committed over 100 massacres in 2001, a typical terror tactic used to displace large portions of the peasant population in order to better control major coca-growing territories. Indeed, the U.S. State Department noted that the AUC was responsible for about 43 percent of Colombia's internally displaced people in 2001. (Source)
The Enquirer should do a story about the AUC. This is an evil group, and Cincinnati should know what kind of vicious terrorists a Lindner-run Chiquita was paying money to. Does anyone want to take bets on when this story might appear?

The Enquirer may be a little timid when it comes to writing critically about Carl Lindner. Let's review:
The biggest part of the Chiquita debacle is that Gannett gave in to Lindner so quickly. With an owner so spineless, the Enquirer won't ever have the stomach to take on someone like Lindner ever again.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said Newsache!

5:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Lindner own a chunk of the Enquirer at one time? Could you brief your readers on Lindner's relationship to the Enquirer over the years?

Carl Lindner is like Noah Cross in "Chinatown". Most folks don't remember that Carl Lindner made a huge chunk of his fortune in the savings and loan disaster. If I recall correctly, Lindner was closely allied with convicted felon Michael Milken. This particular period of time is one which most people don't seem to want to remember. It's easier to just let Carl recede into a haze of Cincinnati Reds happy-talk and evangelical Christianity.

7:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear last anonymous,

Click the links that NewsAche included. It will take some time to get through the material. It is well worth the journey if you want to try to understand what happened...

If you love what newspapers can do when great, it is all worthwhile reading.

8:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cliff Peale did a great job of reporting this story as best he could for local flavor.

Of course, I mean he did his best with what he had, within Enquirer/Gannett resources and within all the restrictions placed upon him.

Sure that wasn't easy.

8:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lindner owned the Enquirer in the '70's, then sold the Enquirer to a company called Combined Communications. Lindner became a major shareholder of that company, which was then bought by Gannett. Lindner was a big shareholder of Gannett for many years.

9:48 PM  
Anonymous Mr. Whig said...

A stroll down memory lane is right, Newsache, for it seems like it was only yesterday. Larry had put together a good team, they had a good story, and Chiquita was going to be the Enquirer's ticket to glory. It was their The New York Times moment - but, as John Fox wrote five years later, "no one ever confused The Enquirer with The New York Times." heh

I think I'll go reread that section. And the apology.

So Chiquita, like, broke even, right? Gannett giveth and the feds taketh away.

10:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The NYTs is as good a paper of record for America as the Enquirer is for Cincy. Can you say Judith Miller and Jayson Blair?

11:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two Ns, Many Political Donations by Kevin Osborne, CityBeat Staff Reporter, March 16, 2007

Lindner, his wife, sons and other family members are well known as big-money political campaign contributors, mostly to conservative Republican candidates and causes including President Bush. A review of documents filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), however, show that the family also gives money to candidates under the similar name of “Linder.”

The pattern of listing campaign contributions without the second “n” in the family’s name isn’t limited to one or two reports, and appears to be a pattern going back several years.

According to documents filed with the FEC, it’s not just one “Linder” error, and it’s not just Carl Jr.’s last name being misspelled repeatedly; the same error shows up with a variety of other Lindner family members, including his wife, Edyth, and his son, Carl III.

6:27 PM  

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