The Plain Dealer Name Must be Retired
Editor's Note: Instead of publishing this article on Beacon of Speech, I sent this short editorial to the Plain Dealer itself. It was rejected based on length. For Legal Reasons, I am including the rejection from the PD. I wasn't cutting over 50% from an article that I had already trimmed.
So in order to make publication, I had to make my 2 minute read a 1 minute read.
Yeah, I think I'm going to pass on that great deal.
Now that the Cleveland Indians baseball organization has finally changed their nickname, it is time that the other egregious nickname in Cleveland is changed and that is of the Cleveland Plain Dealer Newspaper.
Founded in 1842 out of the ashes of the Cleveland Advertiser, in the mid-19th century, the Plain Dealer nickname stood for "someone who interacts or does business straightforwardly and honestly." The Plain Dealer has guided the population on the shores of Lake Erie through the Civil War, World Wars, the Moon Landing, and up to, and including, the political upheaval of the new millennium.
But now is a different time. Cleveland is shrinking and is one of the most crime-ridden cities in this nation. Just last month, CBS News named Cleveland the 6th most dangerous city in America.
In the shadows of the Covid-19 pandemic, the opioid crisis continues to ravish a community that is trying to quarantine for the greater good.
Though the Plain Dealer has attempted to put a positive spin on the challenges facing our area, it is a sad fact that drug problems continue to infest the streets of Cleveland. With that said, for a community that is 1/2 Black, it is unacceptable that the newspaper's nickname can be associated with dealing drugs.
When I was a younger man, my friends and I joked that the PD didn't deal drugs, but in leftist ideals. We laughed, but it's not funny anymore.
Changing the nickname of the Plain Dealer will be for the greater good, because, honestly, it's not the 19th century any more. When I say the words Plain Dealer, do you think of drugs, or of a newspaper? Outside of northeast Ohio, I would say it is the former.
You may argue that the Plain Dealer name is part of our history or has a rich Cleveland tradition. Listen, all those people who claim they'll cancel their subscriptions if the Plain Dealer changes their name need to understand that drugs hurt urban communities. Period.
There's lots of other great, non-offensive, nicknames the newspaper could use. They could return to the Advertiser moniker. They could change their name to the Press, which has high journalist traditions in Cleveland and no negative drug-dealing connotations. Other nicknames for the newspaper could include the Leader, the Free-Times, or the News.
I look forward to the Cleveland Editorial board endorsing a new nickname for their newspaper, because it's not really about the nickname, it's about Cleveland.