13 min

Disturbing stories about the Toledo Blade stalking a private citizen

Counts as of Dec 6, 2013, regarding ToledoBlade.com stories about EconCat88:

  • 7 Blade stories
  • produced by at least 6 Blade employees
  • over 6,000 words spilled

The daily, Toledo newspaper has been hunting videographer artist EconCat88, since at least mid-November 2013.


It's an easy bet that not one Toledo public official nor any of the Toledo orgs mentioned in the Blade stories will speak out against the Blade's bizarre and negative "journalistic" tactics.

The first Blade stalking story was published on November 24, 2013.

But Blade crime reporter, Taylor Dungjen, posted this tweet on November 12, 2013:


Dear Internets,
Do you know who the man behind econcat88 is? http://www.youtube.com/user/EconCat88
xoxo TD

Here are some ominous and imbecilic excerpts from the Blade stories listed at the bottom of this post:

Who is EconCat88?
The Blade would like you to help us find EconCat88 so he can be interviewed about his views of Toledo. Those with information should contact The Blade newsroom.

After publication of a story about the EconCat88 videos on YouTube, The Blade on Sunday received what appears to be a good tip as to the author’s identity, as well as a tip that he is an acquaintance of Toledo City Councilman Steven Steel. Mr. Steel said he knows of the individual through his past work as a referee for high school athletics in Toledo and promised to reach out to the man and encourage him to call The Blade.

A photo on AREIS, the Lucas County Auditor’s Web site that officially records property addresses, shows a vehicle parked in the man’s driveway that appears identical to one seen in a reflection in one of EconCat88’s videos. Another AREIS photo shows Mr. Steel’s campaign sign in his yard. The house had one sign saying “Welcome” and another saying “No Solicitors.”

So far, the man behind “EconCat88” has refused entreaties from The Blade by way of telephone, email, two visits to his home in West Toledo, and stories seeking an interview with him.

City Councilman Steven Steel, who knows EconCat88 personally and has unsuccessfully reached out to him to take public ownership of the videos ...

So this is what I would say to the YouTube videographer EconCat88: Let’s talk. Why not come in out of the cold? Why not say: Hey, I want to put my name on this stuff and be part of the adult conversation? And many people spending much time in the electronic world hide behind the wall of anonymity. If you are not even willing to state your name, why should anyone take you seriously? I would like to see EconCat88 go to the next level: Don’t be a crank hiding behind the wall of namelessness. Join the dialogue and have the courage of your convictions. Personally, I’d like to buy you a cup of coffee and hear how you got into this. And maybe we could have a public forum — perhaps at the library. EconCat, it is incumbent upon you to step up. Take off the mask and let’s have a conversation.

As for Toledo’s branding committee, maybe it should find the reclusive man behind “EconCat88” — and hire him.

EconCat88 refused again Thursday to respond to an email or a phone call. The Blade believes it knows the identity of EconCat88 based on tips received after the first of several articles ran on Nov. 24. The Blade has knocked on the door of his residence ...

Blade columnist Keith Burris exemplifies the stone-age thinking that is still way too prevalent in the newspaper industry today.

Come in out of the cold? Public forum? Adult conversation? What a pathetic joke.

The biggest and the most public forum in the world is the Internet. EconCat88 cannot reach a larger audience nor have a larger conversation by having coffee with someone and participating in forum at the library.

It seems that many in the media business resent that the Internet makes it easy for anyone to publish to the world. The newspapers are no longer the gatekeepers of information. And these knuckle-draggers dislike the anonymity that the Internet offers.

Since when does the Blade or any for-profit media org get to be in charge of conversations today? People can post comments on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, message boards, blogs, and elsewhere on the Web.

EconCat88 has been conversing for years on the Internet without permission from the newspaper industry, and that fact no doubt bothers the dinosaur media people.

Nobody is required to take anonymous, amateur publishers seriously. Ditto for named, professional media publishers. The content simply exists. Consume it, or ignore it.

But it's creepy and maybe frightening that a professional media business, The Blade, is obsessed with publicly outing a private citizen who freely publishes anonymously on the Internet.

EconCat88 is not harming anyone. The idea that his videos are harming Toledo's image is beyond moronic. The idea that positive videos about Toledo will improve Toledo's image and somehow improve the city is also moronic.

Toledo's population has declined by 100,000 people since 1970. Toledo's problems are deeper and more complex than videos and an image.

It's mentally infantile to think that the alleged conversation that the Blade and some public officials want to have with EconCat88 will produce positive results for Toledo.

So why does EconCat88 produce his art? Because he can. That's it. Apparently, he likes doing it. It's his way of editorializing. What's wrong with that? He likes producing videos. Maybe it's a hobby.

Who gets decide which hobbies are acceptable? Who gets decides which content is acceptable?

It would be a boring world if only agreeable content was published.

Maybe the real issue here is that too many people dislike the truth being published by EconCat88. Toledo contains many truths, both good and bad. Why are only some truths acceptable?

Just because some may disagree with EconCat88's editorials, that doesn't mean they shouldn't exist. Plenty of people have produced counter opinions in Blade stories, Facebook comments, ToledoTalk.com comments, etc. And that's the way it should be. That's the conversation, scattered around the Internet.

The Internet/Web is the conversation, the forum, the platform.

Blade stalking stories about artist, historian, political scientist, and journalist EconCat88:

http://www.toledoblade.com/local/2013/11/24/EconCat88-Trashing-Toledo-one-negative-video-at-a-time.html - by Nolan Rosekrans - 1566 words

http://www.toledoblade.com/local/2013/11/25/City-critic-s-videos-spark-calls-for-action-agreement.html - by Tom Troy and Mark Reiter with contributions by staff writer Tom Henry - 1346 words

http://www.toledoblade.com/Keith-Burris/2013/11/25/Toledo-must-be-defined-by-those-who-build.html - by Keith Burris - 525 words

http://www.toledoblade.com/Culture/2013/11/26/Most-scathing-videos-vanish-from-YouTube-s-public-view.html - by Tom Troy - 838 words

http://www.toledoblade.com/Keith-Burris/2013/11/26/EconCat88-come-in-out-from-the-cold.html - by Keith Burris - 515 words

http://www.toledoblade.com/Featured-Editorial-Home/2013/11/29/Video-brand.html - by anonymous writer(s) - 520 words

http://www.toledoblade.com/local/2013/12/06/EconCat88-resurfaces-with-harsh-new-videos.html - by Tom Troy - 950 words

My Dec 6, 2013 TT comment


For those interested in the latest box score about the Blade's bizarre stalking of EconCat88, the counts as of Dec 6, 2013 are:

  • 7 Blade stories
  • produced by at least 6 Blade employees
  • over 6,000 words spilled

With the money spent by the Blade on the labor surrounding its obsession with EconCat88, the Blade could have paid Madhouse Media to produce the positive Toledo video that so many desire.

Oh, when you execute a search at YouTube on Toledo, Ohio, the Toledo Blade's video on Toledo's gang activity still appears in the top 5 search results. Why is this video permitted to exist?

When people list the positives of Toledo, is gang activity mentioned? If not, then this must be a negative, which means the Blade's video is severely harmful to Toledo's image.

We should not waste resources informing Toledoans. Our energies need to be spent on projecting a positive image to the rest of the world. We should be concerned only about what a resident living in Columbus, Ohio or Santa Fe, New Mexico thinks about Toledo, and we should ignore the concerns of Toledoans.

Why would people visit Toledo after searching YouTube and seeing a video on Toledo's gang culture that was produced by a for-profit Toledo media business? Disgusting. Has mayor-elect Carty Collins spoken out against the existence of this video that is obviously destructive to Toledo's future?

Here's the number three video at YouTube:

Battle Lines: Gangs of Toledo Defining Boundaries - "An introduction to gang culture in Toledo, Ohio." - published on Apr 28, 2013 by TheToledoBlade - 31,651 views

Quotes from the video:

"Are gangs more violent today than they were back in the late '80s around here? Absolutely. Absolutely."

"Toledo families have been ripped apart by gang violence. Children grow up without their parents. Parents are forced to bury their children or watch as they're sent to prison. The violence has been going on for years, and there's no end in sight."

That seems like a negative video about Toledo. How can we be certain that this type of negative message doesn't deter people from visiting Toledo?

My Dec 7, 2013 TT comment


I wonder if the same people who have criticized EconCat88 have expressed similar disdain toward the Toledo Blade. Actually, the disdain directed at the Blade should be magnitudes greater, assuming a functioning brain.

In March 2010, I attended a media forum at the University of Toledo. The panel included Toledo Blade managing editor Dave Murray.

Excerpts from my notes about that event:

Murray said he and John Robinson Block talk everyday about news stories and not about editorials.

And that JR lives in Pennsylvania and not in the Toledo area, correct?

Pay attention to the following dates.

Nov 25, 2013 column by Blade writer Keith Burris titled Toledo must be defined by those who build. The column discussed EconCat88's artwork.

Excerpts from that Burris column:

The question is: Who will define Toledo?

Will it be the critics, the cynics, and the nihilists?

Or will it be the builders?

We have to make sure it is the builders.

Oct 31, 2013 Toledo Talk thread titled Airport-Treece.

On November 27, 2013, the Treeces released their website that tries to explain their vision for two Toledo area airports.


The Treece family has spent their own money, studying how to improve Toledo's airports, and thus hoping to improve the Toledo area's economy. From their website:

... we feel we can help the Airports become better sources of economic development for the region.

It sounds like the Treeces want to be builders. Burris implied that we need builders and not critics.

But what's hilarious is the fact that the Toledo Blade through numerous columns, editorials, and news stories, along with local political dimwits, have criticized the Treece's plan before the Treeces even had a plan.

From the Treece's website that was released on November 27:

Q: Why has it been said that plans were hidden from City Council?

A: Nothing has been hidden from City Council (or the public) – and nothing will be hidden from them. The only reason members of Toledo City Council – who will need to approve our privatization plans – did not see a public presentation of our plan is that our plan was not yet finished.

Now who's being negative? How in the hell do you criticize something that does not exist? Why not let them spend their own money on studies first to see if anything worthwhile is possible with the airports, and then critique it later?

Check it out.

Excerpts from a Nov 18, 2013 column titled Public assets shouldn’t be sold like junk written by, yep, Keith Burris:

When I asked former Mayor Carty Finkbeiner what he thought of the proposed private takeover of Toledo Express Airport, he had a good one-word answer: “Outrageous.”

I'm with Carty.

Try to digest that for moment.

On November 25, Burris said about defining Toledo's future: "We have to make sure it is the builders."

Yet, a week earlier and nine days before the Treeces released their website, Burris attacked a plan that did not exist. The Treece's "vision" existed. Their vision is to improve the Toledo area through our airports. Builders.

Burris, however, acted as the critic and cynic, which are the traits that he opposed in his own column a week later. Hypocrite. Once again, do as I say, and not as I do.

What's mind boggling is that Burris went to Carty Finkbeiner for input. Think about that. It was Carty's administration that allowed the cornball idea of moving deaf people to the airport to become public. I guess that qualifies Carty to be the expert on airport matters.

Nothing has been more destructive to Toledo's image than Carty Finkbeiner and the Toledoans who enabled him to get elected mayor not once, not twice, but three times. 12 years as a Toledo embarrassment.

And you're worried about YouTube videos? Holy hell. You're outrage is severely misplaced.

How does Burris rationalize attacking EconCat88 and then saying Toeldo needs builders and then attacking a vision to improve our economy before a plan is finalized?

Oh, wait. Newspaper columnist. Rational thinking. What was I thinking?

Murray said that he and John Robinson Block talk everyday about news stories and not about editorials. Search the Blade website on stories about Treece, and you will see news stories that appear to be attacking a vision to improve the Toledo area's economy.

It's possible that the Blade's overwhelmingly negative view toward an economic vision to improve Lake Erie West is coming from Pennsylvania. How is the Blade being a builder? It appears to be an attacker.

Around Dec 6, 2013, the Treeces released their marketing study [pdf file]. I don't know if this is their "plan" or if that will happen later. And maybe the Treece's plan will eventually prove to be nutszoid, but why not wait until their plan is finalized? Where's the patience? Where's the discussion? Where are the suggestions for a public forum at the library or a klatch?

This is not a Toledo-only project. This is a regional project. Two airports in two counties that could impact other counties. But why does it appear that Toledo officials want to shutdown an idea before it sees light?

And you wonder why EconCat88 makes his videos.

Maybe the Blade feels that it is the only organization qualified to define "builders." If an improvement idea does not originate with the Blade, then it must be a worthless idea.

The Blade's hypocrisy is amazing. The Blade attacks EconCat88 for attacking Toledo, but for several weeks now, the Blade has been in full-on attack mode about the Treece's vision for improving the Toledo area.

Isn't the Blade acting reckless and irresponsible by being prematurely negative?

#video - #toledo - #politics - #media - #moronism - #blog_jr

By JR - 2415 words
created: - updated: - replies: 1
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