Ohio’s 2011 National Spotlight Not Always Favorable

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The fight against Senate Bill 5 brought national attention to Ohio(Photo: (file))
The fight against Senate Bill 5 brought national attention to Ohio(Photo: (file))

I’ve only got 3 minutes to give a quick review of Ohio’s biggest 2011 headlines, so let’s jump right in.

Ohio started the year by breaking critical ground in the legal field.  In March, lawmakers heard testimony from the ultrasound images of two fetuses as evidence for the so-called “Heartbeat Bill”.   National headlines shouted “Fetus to ‘testify’!” and “Youngest witness ever!”  Many criticized the testimony as propaganda for a media circus.  Regardless of opinion, hooking up a pregnant belly to a sonogram machine in a statehouse hearing room solidified Ohio’s presence as a leader in thinking outside of the box.

Moving on to April when Ohio hit the nation’s headlines once again. This time, the focus was football with the revelation of OSU players traded sports memorabilia for tattoos.  The scandal led to Jim Tressel’s departure and some hefty fines.  Granted, the incident pales in comparison to the Penn State and Syracuse scandals that emerged later this year.  And for this OSU fans are grateful.  Yet, it did lead to an important national discussion over the state of NCAA sports and the professionalization of college athletes.  So let’s dub this news story as a fumble with a decent recovery.

While the summer months were fairly quiet, Ohio’s autumn was a doozy.  October started with a bang – literally, as Zanesville police killed nearly 50 exotic animals released by their owner. A USA Today’s headline summarizes the story: “Scary safari in Ohio ends with carnage, questions”.  Not only did the event make everyone cringe, it also garnished some not-so-favorable press for Governor Kasich, who failed to implement an order limiting the ownership of exotic pets.  It is no surprise that soon after the incident, Kasich quickly pushed fortougher rules .  But with the death of such rare animals as Bengal tigers, not even Jack Hannah’s words could help Ohio’s image.

The fall continued with not one but three big news stories. In October, reports surfaced of a breakaway Amish group cutting beards and terrorizing community members.  The story revealed a new side to hate-crimes in America, but also provided late night comics fodder for tasteless hair-cutting jokes.  Next up was the defeat of Senate Bill 5.   A year’s worth of national debate  over collective bargaining ended in one evening when voters overwhelming overturned SB5.  The result?  Another hit to the Kasich administration and a victory for minimum-wage canvassers everywhere.  Lastly, December introduced Americans to the latest Craigslist killer. Investigators say the Ohio manlured victims to their death with fake job ads.  The story alone is bad press, but then it was revealed that Ohio officials mistakenly released the the man not once but twice this past summer! I guess Ohio’s summer wasn’t that quiet after all.

And there you have it – 2011 in review.  It’s been a busy year, Ohio.  Will 2012 bring as much national coverage?  Only time will tell.  One thing is for sure: with headlines like these, I’m sure journalist everywhere are tired of typing those 4 letters: O-H-I-O.

Comments
  • Mtgphd

    Conservatives and Tea Party people have brought the most embarrassing international news to the public. It makes it difficult to see the wonderful push-back by Progressives, whose work has created a new climate in this pivotal state. You go progressives!