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Talk show host sorts through the Scheeler controversy

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opinion Brainerd, 56401
Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

When Mike O’Rourke called me Friday afternoon to ask questions for a story he was preparing on the maelstrom known as the Scheeler/Green controversy, one can imagine my lack of eagerness to participate in any way. Nonetheless, I patiently endured a few of his inquiries. He asked about several of Mr. Scheeler’s claims, whether anyone has brought lawsuits, and for my comments.

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I opted for a teaching opportunity, asking O’Rourke if anyone at The Dispatch had listened to the relevant podcasts of “The Speakeasy,” or to the Sunday, Jan. 20 podcast by Lon Schmidt, filling in on Mary Koep’s “Coping With Government show.”

He answered, “I can’t speak for anyone else.”

“Speak for yourself, then,” I said, “Have you listened?”

“No,” was the reply.

I immediately directed him to Mr. Scheeler’s own written statement to the city council of Tuesday, Feb. 19 — another piece of first hand evidence of which Mr. O’Rourke was blissfully unaware. Journalistic research and ethics demand going to actual sources. News stories are not proliferations of hearsay, gossip and speculation. Or are they? I will leave those familiar with Mr. O’Rourke’s work to their own conclusions.

I then asked him who was responsible for the Open Forum (Reader Opinion) published Thursday, Feb. 21, under my name, with the exotically suggestive title “Guy Green Odyssey.” That little ditty was a portion of a letter I had directed not only to the publisher and editor of the Dispatch, but also to the city council, several of my nationally known guests on “The Speakeasy,” and several others. It was never submitted to the paper as an Open Forum (Reader Opinion), was well over the length allowed for such offerings, and I was never contacted regarding its being published. In the paper’s version, it began, with no context provided, with an email that had been sent to me by Brad Lefebvre - Mr. Scheeler’s employee - who had been, along with his wife, engaged in a negative campaign against me in the Dispatch. The remainder was my explanation of how Mr. Lefebvre was far enough afield to require a rescue party. The low lights of that negative campaign, as always, were being conducted in the anonymous comment sections, which, in this matter, have been patrolled by not only Mr. Scheeler’s employees, but, as was finally admitted on the site, by Mr. Scheeler himself. His posts make for especially peculiar reading.

O’Rourke then offered to transfer me to Keith Hansen, and, desirous of more trustworthy conversation, I accepted. In the course of a mature and pleasant chat, Mr. Hansen apologized for the mistaken publication and kindly offered this opportunity to clarify matters.

It is most certainly not my desire to conduct this very unpleasant business in the pages of a paper whose monopoly on the news was a primary motivation for “The Speakeasy with Guy Green” in the first place. However, since that enterprise has, for the time being, been effectively burned down by the actions of an elected official, I will avail myself of the opportunity to make some very important points:

“The Speakeasy” never called for a boycott of Mr. Scheeler’s business and immediately rejected suggestions of such by our callers. As my partner, Tony Bauer, so succinctly pointed out: “This is not about Gary Scheeler the businessman. It is about Gary Scheeler the elected official...what he has to do is learn to separate the two hats.”

Mr. Scheeler’s family was never mentioned by “The Speakeasy,” and Mr. Scheeler certainly knows that. His written claim of such to the council is very revelatory.

Jim Pryor, of 3Wi radio, who has been a mostly innocent victim in this matter, misspoke about the contract I am under with the station, and he knows that to be a fact as well.

In closing, wouldn’t it be reasonable for a newspaper to be a jot more concerned about the political intimidation of a media entity?

Isn’t the truth here a lot more readily available than is being portrayed?

If this can happen to my business, or Jim Pryor’s, it can happen to anyone’s. For it to happen at the hands of those with political power is especially ominous. Please stay tuned.

Take us out, Frank.

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