Findlay write up in the Washington Post

This morning was an article titled In Flag City USA, False Obama Rumors Are Flying in the Washington Post newspaper.

It profiled Jim Peterman, from Findlay, a retired worker at Cooper Tire, a father of two, an Air Force veteran and a self-described patriot, who as the paper states is “a swing voter who entered this election leaning Democratic” and the difficulties the Obama campaign has to dispel the false rumors percolating about the candidate. The article talked about Findlay itself and how most citizens hate change. Unfortunately the paper failed to mention that Peterman is a minority in Hancock county. The county is so GOP that a Democrat hasn’t won the presidential election in the county since the time of Woodrow Wilson.

I guess they were trying to show that Findlay is a battle ground when the battle there is over and has been for sometime. The false rumors will never be refuted in the minds of most Findlay people because the local radio station airs all the GOP flacks who reinforced them and Obama is left to place adverts in the paper which doesn’t convince anyone with their mind made up.

“I’ll admit that I probably don’t follow all of the election news like maybe I should,” Peterman said. “I haven’t read his books or studied up more than a little bit. But it’s hard to ignore what you hear when everybody you know is saying it. These are good people, smart people, so can they really all be wrong?”

In Flag City USA, False Obama Rumors Are Flying

People rarely change their mind in Findlay – just check the The Courier news archive on the topic of sidewalks…. That argument has been going on for more than 20 years now.

The article is yet another way the mainstream media is sweet on the GOP and McCain. If they wanted to do a balanced piece they would have gone to a more balanced district or found real swing voters.

One Reply to “Findlay write up in the Washington Post”

  1. this appeared in Findlays paper The Courier this morning.


    Jim Peterman and his neighbors were having an ordinary Monday — that is, until the calls started. 

    Several representatives from the media called Peterman at his College Street home; and a couple of people from different parts of the United States called to denigrate his political beliefs or try to sway his vote in the general election. 

    "People have been calling from all over, all day," Peterman said. 

    The phone calls are how he found out that an interview he gave to the Washington Post two weeks ago was printed on the front page of that paper Monday, quoting him and a handful of his neighbors discussing rumors surrounding Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee. 

    The story, called "In Flag City USA, False Obama Rumors Are Flying," featured Peterman as a longtime Findlay resident who lives up to the city's moniker as "Flag City USA," a man who is not sure how to vote but has heard rumors about Obama. 

    The rumors characterize Obama as an African-born, "possibly gay Muslim racist who refuses to recite the Pledge of Allegiance," according to the Post story. 

    The article, written by Washington Post feature writer Eli Saslow, outlines the rumors that have circulated among Peterman's friends and acquaintances. The article quotes Peterman, Don LeMaster, Leroy Pollard and Jeanette Collins, all of whom live on College Street. 

    The story paints them — and Findlay — as being racist, some of the College Street residents said Monday. 

    "I think (the story) gives Findlay a bad name as a racist community," LeMaster said, "and it's not true. It's very unfair the way it was written." 

    In the story, LeMaster reportedly heard from a friend in Toledo that Obama refuses to wear an American flag pin. 

    LeMaster was also quoted as saying that although Obama is a good speaker, it pays to look beneath the surface. 

    LeMaster did not complain Monday about any specific quote in the Post story, but did complain about its general slant. 

    Findlay is not racist, he said, and the minorities who live in the city get along well with the Caucasians. 

    "Ninety-five percent of Findlay is white," he said, but "that does not make us racist." 

    Many international students attend the University of Findlay, he said, and he has had neighbors of other races. There's been no problem. 

    Jeanette Collins, another College Street neighbor, said she had not read the Post story by Monday afternoon and does not remember saying much to Saslow. 

    "Somebody from the Washington Post came by and I said I was cooking supper," Collins said Monday. "And that's all I can remember." 

    Peterman and Pollard both claimed they were misquoted more than once. 

    For example, Peterman said he never shared with Saslow a rumor that Obama was born in Africa, is possibly gay, and is a Muslim racist who refuses to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. 

    He was quoted in the story as saying he doesn't follow elections as well as he should, but that he finds the rumors about Obama hard to ignore. 

    Peterman said Monday he has no memory of making such statements. 

    Peterman's friend, Pollard, also denied that he is convinced that Obama is a radical Muslim and "threatened to stop talking to his daughter when he heard she might vote for him," as the story reads. 

    "The only thing I said is, I don't think Obama has enough experience to be president," Pollard said. 

    Peterman said he wasn't even sure what the story was going to be about when he was interviewed. Saslow knocked on his door and began the conversation by discussing the city's "Flag City USA" label. 

    Saslow said Monday from Washington, D.C. that he is disappointed in the neighborhood's reaction to the story. 

    "That's a major bummer," he told The Courier. 

    He said the story inspired hundreds of comments online Monday, and many of them were not flattering to Findlay. At least one comment suggested Findlay should be "Racist City USA" instead of "Flag City USA." 

    He said he did not intend for the story to be inflammatory. Instead, he hoped to showcase how interested in the election Findlay residents are — but also how rumors influence people's opinions. 

    "They're talking about it, people really care there," Saslow said. 

    He described Findlay as a "retrospective place," and admired its patriotism. He said he visited about 25 houses in Findlay, but settled on Peterman and his neighbors because they were a good "representative place." 

    "They had some of the best things to say," he said. 

    He said he did not mean to misrepresent Findlay and is sorry if some think he did. 

    Both Pollard and Peterman said they regretted offending anyone. 

    But their views, misrepresented or not, are not the only views on College Street. Saslow's article characterizes Peterman as the last "open-minded" College Street resident. 

    Others who live on the street don't agree with that description. The end of College Street, near the University of Findlay, is home to dozens of students. 

    Amber Nickell, 20, and Kaylen Boose, 21, said they both consider themselves open-minded. They have heard rumors about Obama, too. But that won't affect how they vote. 

    "I think it's just funny how close-minded people can be," Nickell said. They do believe the objections to Obama are race-related. 

    However, they were quick to defend College Street. 

    The Washington Post story "might summarize views of the older generation," Nickell said. "But that's not all of College Street." 

    Contact Staff Writer Michelle Reiter at: 

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