December 26, 2014
An Open Letter to Rick Burrough President of JAMS Media, LLC, on behalf of Michigan area residents and the public at-large.
As the owner of JAMS Media, wouldn’t you agree the basic social contract with your subscribers and advertisers is delivering news that has, at the very least, been verified?
If so, would you be open to training reporters who seem to have an aversion to fact-checking? Doing so could save lives. In researching Grand Banc’s, Paula Kay Schmidt Barbee, I found Schmidt Barbee simply echoes whatever officials state. In business circles it’s known as, “taking dictation.” Reporters however, practice the basic journalistic tool of fact-checking. Or put another way: “If your Mother says she loves you – check it out.”
Two Quick examples
1. In a December 25, 2014, article titled “City Approves Preliminary Water System Work” Schmidt Barbee included the brief mention,
“Police Chief Brian Lipe advised council there were two kidnapping attempts listed on the crime report and to not be concerned as those were parental custody issues, and not a public danger.”
A couple of things about reporting. One has to be aware when something doesn’t smell right. Or put another way, one must have a “nose for news.” Schmidt doesn’t have that kind of nose. Also, it appears she doesn’t read much. Towit:
A. Bradley Allen Stone killed his ex-wife and five of her family members in a three house rampage. A custody hearing was pending.
B. The DC sniper case (10 people gunned down) also began with a loss of custody.
C. In that members of police families are More likely to experience domestic violence than civilians; (demonstrated when Tacoma Police Chief David Brame murdered his estranged wife in front of their two small children), statements made by Chief Lipe most certainly bear further checking. Schmidt Barbee however, merely parroted them.
(In Brame’s case, although the city council was keenly aware Brame was becoming mentally unstable, they decided to treat his divorce as “a private family matter,” including after Crystal Brame applied for a restraining order. City officials chose to ignore their police chief was assaulting his wife. Shortly after Chief Brame killed Crystal Brame in front of their two, small children; and the City was rightfully sued. Details of that are here.)
D. Michigan resident Harold John Luebs, Jr.
Luebs, is a known pedophile, wife-beater and…arsonist! Luebs was not supposed to be released from prison in this lifetime, but surprise; Harold Luebs was released and without a GPS. He could be your neighbor!
Paula Kay Schmidt Barbee’s “reporting” for JAMS Media LLC might have gone unnoticed had she not responded with a snarky tweet (@PAULAKAYSCHMIDT) to a comment made by New York EMT Daniel Jose Older (@djolder) regarding the Antonio Martin shooting in Missouri.
Answered: “your medical license please” and with that, @PAULAKAYSCHMIDT opened herself up.
No skin off Older’s nose. He snapped a quick screen shot of his license and went about his way.
However, Gawker noticed. Their story titled, “Paramedic owns idiot in Christmas Twitter miracle” featured Paula Kay Schmidt Barbee in a starring role as the “idiot.”
It might have ended – had Schmidt’s following tweets not clearly demonstrated that;
- Schmidt did not recognize people have a right to medical care immediately after a shooting – including if the shooter is in law enforcement. (Myself and others found this incredulous.)
- Neither did Schmidt understand people were laughing at her obtuseness. Schmidt claimed people were “hating” on her. Thus, every time Schmidt tweeted, she only made things worse for herself.
Which was odd, given this self-assessment on “She Writes” as a Wordsmith “I am a woman of faith, experience and word-smithing; seeking to be a light and hope to others. In the services offered, adds, “Editing, Constructive Criticism, Kudos, Pats on the back, etc :-)”
I pointed out that people were not hating, but laughing at her inability to grasp her error.
Schmidt angrily shot back: “YOU DON’T KNOW ME.” Yes, it turns out Paula Kay Schmidt is an all-caps screamer. Or, as she refers to herself in Twitter bio. “An open minded Christian.”
The following day Paula repeatedly attempted to engage Older. I responded.
As soon as I noticed Paula repeatedly accuse Older of contacting her boss I immediately tweeted otherwise.
Still, and inexplicably, Paula Kay Schdmit Barbee chose to continue to attempt to bait Older.
But I digress.
Returning to Schmidt Barbee’s utter lack of fact-checking, never mind, basic common sense. In September 13, 2013 post then City Council Candidate, Jason Poirier
“My Comments to Council below:
On September 13th, 2013, the Grand Blanc View published an article by Paula K. Schmidt titled “Site plan for 14 unit townhouse approved.” In that article, Paula stated “Although Poirier cited other city zoning documents, his main point seemed to be related to the wishes of the residents. However, both Mayor Susan Soderstrom and other council members have stated that they have received little feedback from people in general, with the exception of a few subdivision residents. (Site plan for 14 unit townhouse approved, Sept, 12, 2013).
In a response to this article on my campaign website, I challenged this article and the facts contained related to these statements. Paula responded saying “I can only report on what I know, i.e. witness in city council meetings–and not having input from residents myself, or access to official email inboxes, I cant say what is and is not going on. There is a fine line between hearsay and fact and I try to stay on the right side of it. I am not accusing you or anyone else of hearsay or false information, I am only saying I cant report on what i dont know.” (www.facebook.com/committeetoelectjasonpoirier, Post on 9/13/13)
Well I am here now to help set the record straight and provide Paula with FACTS and not hearsay.
Beginning in the July 17th City council meetings, 32 named residents attended as well as “others” as noted in the meeting minutes available to the public and found on the city’s website. An even greater number of citizens were present at the July 16th Planning commission meeting, and those records can be easily retrieved for official counts as well. In the prior 9 city council meetings, an average of 5.4 named citizens were present as well as “others” based on posted official meeting minutes also found on the city’s website. (www.cityofgrandblanc.com/meetings, September 19, 2013)
On August 6th, 2013, in response to no communications from the City Council, the residents of Indian Hill hosted an open meeting at Rust Park to discuss the Jonna development. At this meeting, aside from the 35 + subdivision residents, city manager Paul Brake, and councilmen Lonnie Adkins, and Bryan Bender were present. Mr. Soderstrom was also present at that meeting on behalf of Mayor Soderstrom who was not present due to legal restrictions on the number of council members able to attend.
In the August 14th city council meeting, a city resident read a letter from Councilman Bender stating that he had received significant feedback from the community on the development. (Please see meeting minutes when they are posted to the city website). During that meeting, a few council members stated that they had not received very much public comments and even challenged me when I shook my head, in denial of their statements. After the city council meeting, those same individuals retraced their
There are far more facts to be gathered that are note here, but that is not my only point today. While I am disappointed at the current level of media coverage on the facts related to the Jonna development, I am more disappointed in the complete and utter failure in the council to reach out to the public and discuss the issues. Over the past 64 days, there have been no public town hall meetings, or any other such events called by the council to meet with the public and discuss these items further. Instead, the council has hid behind monthly meetings only allowing public comments in 3 minute increments and begrudgingly allowing myself to speak for 6 minutes at the past council meeting. In that same timeframe, I have been able to reach over 1807 people on 17 topics using only my Facebook site, hosted and attended a public meeting with the help of others that want to be heard, and been door to door and spoken to over 100 citizens who are NOT interested in more apartments in the city.
In conclusion, it is my wish that the city council will officially inform Paula K. Schmidt of their revised position on citizen concerns over the proposed development, that Mrs. Schmidt will publish an article in the next Grand Blanc View to revise the message to the greater city population and that the city council will FINALLY understand that they need to start engaging us more directly and in group sessions.
Has Paula Kay Schmidt Barbee made trouble for herself?
Yes: This is due to not doing any type of research, not being open to others, and last, being sloppy with her word choices. See below Facebook example where Schmidt wrote about the shooting of Michael Brown as “Michael Brown thing.” Thing?
“I tried to be as neutral as possible with the Michael Brown thing until I read evidence and witness reports. Now with Antonio Martin, I am having a hard time not being incredulous at the immediate cries of “They’re hiding something!” If someone points a gun at you less than three feet away, whatcha’ gonna do? A cop is going to do what they are trained to do–take down any immediate threat. We’re mistakes made in not having the car and body cam on? Perhaps. But neither of those negates the subjects actions–pulling a gun on a police officer in a non violent confrontation. As God is my witness–this isnt about race–this is about how you interact with the police. If you dont follow the rules, you suffer the consequences. If there are no rules–the police cannot do their job of “Protect and Serve”. You think anyone is gonna want to do that job if they have to think twice before saving their own life? I’m sorry, I just cant be on the side of anyone but the officer here, as well as Mike Brown.”
Perhaps Schmidt Barbee could be transferred to a gardening section. She seems to like nature. I could envision a whole series built around this area if Schmidt would be willing to do the necessary research. As your business is about the bottom line, I mention this primarily because the two most sold books are books about cooking (first) followed by books on dieting, second. So this, forgive the pun, is an area that could, grow. All that needs to happen is your willingness to do so and for Schmidt to be willing to develop a curiosity about reporting, and its necessary research. While I haven’t checked, my guess is in her years “reporting” Paula Kay Schmidt Barbee has not availed herself of the most basic reporter’s tool for investigation, the FOIA.
Journalism is important.
Last, although yours is a Media company please know The Point Reyes Light is only a weekly newspaper in Marin County California. However, it is also Pulitzer Prize -winning weekly newspaper. The Light gained national attention in 1979 due to its reporting on a cult, Synanon. During the time it won, circulation for the The Light was about 2,500. Weekly Newspapers have won the prize, just four times.
Journalism is important.
Update December 27, 2014: No word from Rick! However, late on December 26, 2014, Paula Kay Schmidt Barbee, under the direction of her Managing Editor, authored an angry response from her personal blog – wherein she misstated facts, begrudged a short apology to Older – but recovered quickly to launch yet another attempt to take Older and others to task for calling her out. Schmidt then declared her innocence for the 100th time, bragged about her sarcastic personality; identified an arsonist, pedophile, wife-beater, as “that poor man” before (wrongly) opining he was still in prison. Schmidt then accused most of being wrong (and that no one understood her). Ending on a furious note; Schmidt then spammed people (myself included) with signage such as, “Whoever is trying to bring you down, is already below you.”
Schmidt Barbee’s actions caused some Johnny-Come-Lately’s to block her Twitter account. (Unlike me, this was something smarter tweeters had done much earlier.)
Good news for the public, and best for last: Just like Elizabeth Lauten, “DCGopGirl” Schmidt Barbee has since “protected” her tweets.
The public is spared.