Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Motznik and McIntire Meet in Murderous Mudslinging Melee

Wow. There are just so many things to report at the moment, all of them stemming from the inital post on Pittsburgh City Councilmember Jim Motznik's new blog, "Jim Motznik Speaks Out". The Post-Gazette did a brief story about Mr. Motznik's blog yesterday, and then followed up with a more full-bodied article in today's print edition. And now, after hours of silence (which is like 6 days in blog years), we finally have John McIntire's response.

This all promises to be entertaining. It also promises to divert most of the attention onto these two rather un-blog-like weblogs. Neither one allows comments. Neither one provides many links to their source material (Mr. Motznick could not even figure out how to make a URL clickable in his second post last night, but that may be fixed at some point). Neither one even provides a sidebar of links to other blogs. And neither one acknowledges other posts on the same topics made by other members of the burghosphere.

Basically, you have two angry middle-aged men using the internet to fling mud back and forth at each other. The article (and especially its accompanying picture) in today's Pittsburgh Comet (note: that's how you link to another blog) is dead-on-the-money appropriate for this occasion. This has all the makings of Trump vs. Rosie, writ small. Neither man had an enormous well of credibility to draw from in the first place, and they are both draining those wells as fast as they can. By the time the last fistful of wet dirt is splattered, the entertainment will have long since faded and all substance will be removed from the debate.

As I stated last night, Mr. Motznik's blog is suffering from a severe case of MacYapper envy. His whole writing style mirrors that of John McIntire, which is frankly rather saddening. From calling his readers "MotzYappers", to posting unsupported rumors, to using phrases -- such as "word on the street" -- that are lifted wholesale from McIntire's blog, Motznik's effort is a pale and rather weak imitation of something that was already a pale and rather weak imitation of the typical political blog.

John McIntire's blog, on the other hand, has some distinct points in its favor. For one thing, MacYapper reflects the author's own personal style. Like it or hate it, you have to admit that MacYapper is a Pittsburgh original, and that Mr. McIntire isn't trying to imitate anyone else. MacYapper also focuses on a wider range of issues, and is not limited to purely local concerns. It's also quite important that MacYapper's unsupported rumors have been proved to be true -- at least in part -- during the recent past. He may not have had all the details correct, but that was largely Interim Mayor Luke "Handcuffs" Ravenstahl's own damn fault. If Master Ravenstahl had answered reporters' questions honestly months beforehand, there would never have been any need for anyone to speculate about what had happened at Heinz Field that night.

Despite the overall weakness of Mr. Motznik's initial effort, it's still important to take a look at what he had to say. A very good analysis of his post is already available over at 2 Political Junkies (see guys? that's another link to somebody else's blog!), but I will take a few shots of my own. Mr. Motznik writes:

... a conversation was overheard in which McIntire was quite pissed off about false information that Peduto gave him. Peduto told McIntire that the Honorable Mayor Luke Ravenstahl “pushed” a cop and was “rowdy”... both untrue.
Even the most charitable descriptions of Master Ravenstahl's behavior that evening would acknowledge that he was "rowdy". The Post-Gazette, in it's very weak editorial about these events even referred to the Interim Mayor as "Rowdy Ravenstahl". And the then-councilmember did end up in handcuffs as a result of his behavior. If his arrest had not been at least somewhat justified by a certain degree of rowdiness on Master Raventahl's part, surely the police officer would have been punished for taking the young man into custody.

I acknowledge that sometimes cops lose their temper and make unjustifiable arrests of people who have done absolutely nothing wrong. I acknowledge that sometimes -- perhaps even most of the time -- they get away with doing it. But I can't believe that any police officer could pull such a stunt with a city councilmember and not face some serious disciplinary trouble. So clearly, Master Raventahl was, at the very least, "rowdy". Please, Mr. Motznik, spare us the bullshit.
Peduto also told McIntire that Mayor Ravenstahl “called either O’Connor or Regan” to get him out of trouble and that is the reason there was nothing made of this in 2005... also untrue. Boy, it must suck when you have such little credibility already and now you have Peduto, and his people, feeding you false information that you then post on the internet. No wonder, “according to this version,” McIntire called Peduto all pissed off. Maybe he will post a retraction and fess up to Peduto leaking the bad tips... probably not, that would be too much to expect from McIntire!
Wait a second. You say "McIntire called Peduto". So this conversation took place on the telephone. And you say that this "conversation was overheard" by somebody who told you about it.

How exactly, Mr. Moztnik, did you or one of your minions manage to overhear somebody else's telephone conversations? Because you seem a little bit too-well-informed about what was said on not just one, but both sides of the conversation.

I could certainly understand how, in an office environment, somebody could hear one side of such a conversation. Eavesdropping on what's going on in Mr. Peduto's office is hardly a dignified activity for a fellow city councilmember like yourself, but I at least see how such a thing is possible. But if that's where you got this, how on earth could you have any idea what was being said on Mr. McIntire's side of the conversation?

Or maybe somebody overheard John McIntire while he was on the telephone. Yet that seems rather implausible, Mr. Moztnik. I don't imagine that Mr. McIntire would be having this kind of screaming conversation on his cell phone while in the checkout line at Giant Eagle. Presumably, if he were engaged as such a key player this cloak-and-dagger, "vast technocratic conspiracy" that you describe, he would have the good sense to discuss such matters in private, where his side of the conversation could not be overheard.

Given that both Mr. Peduto and Mr. McIntire deny that any such collusion ever took place, I would have to say that your claims are pretty hard to support, Mr. Motznik. After all, if Dennis Regan can be taken at his word when he says that he never tried to get police officer Francis Rende promoted, why shouldn't we also accept the word of both Bill Peduto and John McIntire when they tell us that no such conversation ever took place?

Unless, of course, you are illegally wiretapping their telephones, which would make you the Linda Tripp of Pittsburgh politics. As I recall, that little stunt didn't end up doing Linda Tripp a whole lot of favors.

And even if Mr. Peduto did feed the story to Mr. McIntire, then one can only say that such behavior -- to use the Post-Gazette's own language -- "would be very Pittsburgh". It still doesn't change the fact that the incident at Heinz Field did take place. It still doesn't change the fact that Interim Mayor Ravenstahl lied to reporters when he was asked about it. It doesn't change the fact that he issued months of false denials that any such incident had ever taken place. And that makes Luke Raventahl the Bill Clinton of Pittsburgh politics. As I recall, that little stunt didn't end up doing Bill Clinton any favors, either.

And I'm not convinced that your blogging is doing "Handcuffs" Ravenstahl any favors. This incident had largely disappeared from the local news horizon. All you have managed to do is to drag it back into view, where even the mainstream news outlets are unable to ignore it. For that, I thank you. But Luke Ravenstahl may not.


Bram Reichbaum said...

"Trump vs. Rosie, WRIT SMALL." Nice.

Clearly Motznik is mirroring McIntire in order to mock him; taste of his own medicine, what? It'll be wear thin if that's all he's got, though.

Actually, if Motznik continues blogging, the pressure will eventually be on him to provide something of service to his constituents.

BTW, back to Opiegate (I give up!): Crack political analysts My Mom and My Dad, east-enders and terribly bright and savvy voters, don't care. They positively love the idea of our mayor getting rowdy at a Steeler game and letting a cop have it, and don't care that he lied about it. They allow the whole scene was probably even worse than we'll ever know about, but STILL don't care. Just a reality check.

Anonymous said...

My mom and dad commented "you can take the boy out of northside, but..."

macyapper said...

Dude, MacYapper here. If you go to www.MacYapper.com I do link to other blogs. That address is how many people link to my blogspot blog. I link to many other publications regularly during the course of the daily blog.
It's true I've been lax about linking to local blogs. And its true I need to get more savvy. But I'm Bill Freaking Gates compared to that maroon Motznik. BTW, your blog is excellent.

macyapper said...

One more thing... I'm not using my blog to sling mud. I'm using it to raise legitimate questions about the maturity and judgment of the current mayor, as we have an important election coming up.
And I try to find truth and I label what I can't prove as speculation. Jimmy boy is just pulling stuff out of his ass. Thanks you.

Richmond K. Turner said...

Well, John, thanks for posting some comments here. I certainly will accept both the compliment (this blog? excellent? what have you been smoking?) and the criticism of my refering to you as a "mud slinger". I obviously don't always agree with you, but I do have enormous respect for your passion and presentation.

And here I thought that you didn't even know that the rest of the burghosphere existed. Obviously you do, and I apologize for saying otherwise.

Bram, I understand what you are saying about your parents. I imagine that most of the city's voters see things precisely the same way. KDKA could probably broadcast footage of Motznik and Ravenstahl having a three-way with an underage mountain goat, and Ravenstahl would still win in May.

And if the voters of Pittsburgh want to be sheep and ignore the obvious problems that have popped up in just five short months of Ravenstahl's reign, then so be it. It wouldn't be the first time that I violently disagreed with some of the unbeliveably stupid choices made by Pittsburgh voters, and it won't be the last.

But I'm really not doing this blog thing to change the world. I just want a place to present my own viewpoint. It's cool, all by itself, that people even read the blasted thing. I don't really expect them to change their votes because of anything I have to say here.

There does exist a very small outside chance that Ravenstahl's fortunes will change between now and May. The burghosphere may even play some very small role in making it happen. That would be great. But that's not the only reason why I spend so much time crafting these posts.

Now, get to work on those parents of yours!

Anonymous said...

Hear. Here. Hear. Hear! Here!

Anonymous said...

I do think you should have the comments feature activated on your blog.