Cleveland Plain Dealer Isn't Racist By Hiring Terry Pluto

I picked up a copy of Cleveland Scene magazine this week and noticed in the First Punch section of the paper this bit about the recent hiring of Terry Pluto to the Cleveland Plain Dealer's sports editorial staff.

In a letter last week, Roxanne Jones, an ESPN V.P. and member of the National Association of Black Journalists, criticized the hiring of former Akron Beacon Journal columnist Terry Pluto. He is white, male, and the love child of a Whose Line Is It Anyway? skit gone bad.

In her letter, Jones criticized the PD's poor minority hiring record, which includes the time editors got drunk and approved Bud Shaw's Sunday Spin column. The paper should have at least interviewed some black candidates for the job, she wrote.

Cleveland Scene magazine concludes that while the diversity at the paper may be lacking, that you can't really fault the Plain Dealer for hiring Pluto. I couldn't agree with Scene magazine more. The thing about the Terry Pluto hiring is that even if the Plain Dealer didn't have an opening on the staff, and Pluto becomes available, you hire him. If you have to fire one of your other editorial writers like Bill Livingston, or Bud Shaw, it would be a shame, but you would have to make a tough choice.

Not that I want to play favorites, but Terry Pluto is by far the best sports writer covering Cleveland sports anywhere. He is insightful, honest, and doesn't play into unnecessary journalistic cliches at every opportunity. He merely talks about sports, chastises over-reactors, and provides the level of calm, cool sports analysis that a rabid city like Cleveland needs.

And he has been doing it at the Akron Beacon Journal for years now. On top of that, he used to work at the Plain Dealer before the ABJ opportunity arose.

So, don't tell me that hiring Terry Pluto was racially motivated against minority candidates. It is just a situation that a guy who came available was worth hiring. It would work with a minority candidate as well. Trust me, if Jason Whitlock, the most excellent columnist for the Kansas City Star, wanted to move to Cleveland to write about Cleveland sports the Plain Dealer would gladly hire him too, even without an open position on staff.