Earlier this week the “independent” news organization known at CT Mirror posted the news, “Mirror announces ‘Policy Pairings Series’ — Four Issues, Four Breweries.”
The CT Mirror article explained,
Four Connecticut homegrown breweries will serve as the backdrops for discussion of pressing state issues as The Connecticut Mirror launches its first “Policy Pairings Series.” Two events are scheduled for April and two for May at locations across the state.
Tickets are available starting today at ctmirrorpairings.org.
All events will be moderated by Mirror staff and are scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. The dates, locations and topics are:
Thursday, April 23 – Shebeen Brewing, Wolcott (Taxes)
Tuesday, April 28 – Two Roads Brewing Company, Stratford (Road transportation)
Tuesday, May 12 – Thomas Hooker Brewing Company, Bloomfield (Business climate)
Tuesday, May 19 – Half Full Brewery, Stamford (Rail transportation)
The series is sponsored by the CT20x17 campaign, a non-partisan coalition of business, professional, and community organizations working together to strengthen Connecticut’s economy.
The CT Mirror noted that events are intended to be discussions “of the pressing state issues” and that the effort is the kickoff of the Connecticut Mirror’s new “Policy Pairings Series.”
Following the link provided by the CT Mirror – http://www.ctmirrorpairings.org/ – one finds a page highlighting the fact that the events are sponsored by “CT20x17: Build A Brighter Economic Future for Everyone,” along with the disclaimer;
The Connecticut Mirror is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization. Even though donors and corporate sponsors may underwrite events, they play no role in determining the content or line of questioning.
Did the CT Mirror really just say that donors and corporate sponsors, “play no role in determining the content?”
According to its webpage, “CT20x17 is a coalition of residents, associations, and businesses all dedicated to achieving the benefits for everyone of making Connecticut a top 20 state for economic competitiveness by 2017.”
The organization adds, “Organizations from around the state have thrown their support behind the CT20x17 campaign and its framework of commonsense policies.”
CT20x17 adds that these organizations, “recognize that despite making progress in developing a talented future workforce, reducing energy costs, and cutting government red tape, our economic recovery has not kept pace with the national and regional economies. It is critical that we break that pattern and unlock the state’s enormous potential.”
Hooray for unlocking the State’s enormous potential!
And so the group is sponsoring a series of sessions about unlocking the “State’s enormous potential.”
But the independent CT Mirror could find no place in a discussion about unlocking Connecticut’s enormous potential to discuss the vital issues surrounding primary, secondary and higher education in Connecticut or about Connecticut sad record of inadequate funding for the one thing that would actually unlock the state’s enormous potential?
Hey CT Mirror, what gives?
It turns out that CT20X17 – The group dedicating to “unlocking the state’s enormous potential” – doesn’t even have an educator or public education proponent on its Steering Committee. In fact, the committee is exclusively made up of Connecticut’s corporate elite or their representatives.
The CT20x17 Steering Committee includes;
- John DiCarlo, Public Policy and Economic Development Manager, Waterbury Regional Chamber of Commerce
- Bill Ethier, CEO, Home Builders & Remodelers Association of Connecticut, Inc.
- Oz Griebel, President & CEO, MetroHartford Alliance
- Jennifer Jackson, President & CEO, Connecticut Hospital Association
- Cliff Leach, Vice President, Government Affairs, The Hartford
- John O’Toole, Board of Directors, Connecticut Economic Development Association
- Tim Perra, Director, Global Communications, Stanley Black & Decker
- Kim Sirois Pita, Kim Pita Peaces
- Jeff Pugliese, Vice President, Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce
- Bill Purcell, President, The Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce
- Tony Rescigno, President,Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce
- JoAnn Ryan, President & CEO, Northwest Connecticut’s Chamber of Commerce
- Paul Timpanelli, President & CEO, Bridgeport Regional Business Council
So here comes a corporate sponsored series of forums on Connecticut’s pressing issues and yet no discussion of education…
And adding insult to injury, the CT Mirror informs readers that its kick-off session, sponsored by CT20X17, will focus on the “THE FUTURE OF CONNECTICUT’S TAX POLICY,” yet there isn’t even a panelist at the tax forum who will argue that Connecticut actually needs a fair, progressive tax structure in order to provide the range of services and programs that will address all of the challenges facing Connecticut.
Instead, the panelists who are participating in the forum, while undoubtedly experts and well meaning, are either part of the existing dysfunctional and regressive tax system that haunts Connecticut or are dedicated to the corporate sponsored rhetoric of lower taxes, especially for the wealthy and elite within the business community.
According to the CT Mirror’s promotional materials, the discussion on the The Future of Connecticut’s Tax Policy will be led exclusively by;
Sen. Scott Frantz (R-36th District) – Ranking Member, Finance, Revenue & Bonding
William Dyson (D) – Co-Chair, State and Local Tax Structure Review Panel
Stephen LaRosa – Senior Director, State & Local Tax, Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Let’s be clear.
We all recognize that the newspaper industry is virtually extinct and the new world of cyber-based media outlets means that entities like the CTMirror must find significant sources of revenue, other than from advertising dollars, but it is extremely disturbing to think that the CT Mirror would claim corporate sponsors have no role in determining content when the evidence is exactly the opposite.
Just this past week the CT Mirror bragged about a major corporate sponsorship that will allow them to host a discussion about the “pressing issues” of our time…
But then we learn that education is not deemed a pressing issue and even the discussion of taxation is limited in scope to ensure there is no meaningful opportunity to discuss the reality that we need to require the wealthy to start paying their fair share and that we must dramatically alter our present tax code so that we can change Connecticut’s unfair and regressive tax structure into one that is fairer, more progressive, provides the resources necessary to fund government functions, including education, and promotes rather than destroys the middle class.
Rather than misleading readers by claiming that, “Even though donors and corporate sponsors may underwrite events, they play no role in determining the content…,” perhaps the CT Mirror should be more transparent by simply appending the following to their site….
“Paid for and authorized by our corporate sponsors.”
In that way, at least Connecticut citizens would have a fighting chance to know that this “platform of independence” is compromised by the need for operating funds.