Publisher intercedes after Marquardt campaign complains; rogue Editor’s Ad Embargo is countermanded by Higher-Ups
MASON CITY – In a stunning reversal apparently directed by Roy Biondi, who is the Publisher of the Mason City Globe-Gazette and several other newspapers owned by Lee Enterprises, Inc., editor David Mayberry learned the hard way who is the boss.
And it’s not Mr. Mayberry.
After refusing for the second time in recent weeks to allow City Council candidate Matthew E. Marquardt to purchase advertising in the Globe-Gazette, Marquardt – who is the Publisher of NorthIowaToday.com – emailed Mr. Biondi. Biondi, whose offices are in Waterloo, clearly took notice: within about 2 hours of receiving Marquardt’s complaint, the advertising manager at the Globe, Greg Wilderman, called Marquardt and left a voice message and offered to discuss advertising packages and rates.
In a follow-up email message, Mr. Wilderman thanked the Marquardt campaign for its “inquiry”, and said, “the Globe-Gazette and I wish you the best as you enter the final weeks of your campaign.” Mr. Wilderman also wrote that, “I will be happy to meet with you here or at your office to further” accommodate the Marquardt campaign’s advertising needs. Wilderman’s email message also stated that, “Roy Biondi forwarded your email …”, and offered to help to “customize” an advertising “campaign” for the Marquardt for City Council committee. Marquardt is now discussing a possible ad package with Mr. Wilderman.
According to persons close to other campaigns for public office in Mason City, the Marquardt campaign isn’t the only one which was denied – without any explanation – the opportunity to buy ad space in that newspaper. NIT has confirmed that its sources are, indeed, correct: the two top vote-getters in the September election for the Mason City School Board – incumbent Jodi Draper and newcomer Jacob Schweitzer – were also refused by the Globe-Gazette when they asked to buy ads promoting their candidacies.
A longtime Mason Cityan who spoke on condition of anonymity, told NIT that “it’s wrong to embargo advertising to candidates for public office, and Mayberry is dumb to turn down good money when everyone knows that the Globe-Gazette is evaporating before our very eyes.” This reader also told NorthIowaToday.com that, “this is part of a pattern, with [Mayberry], apparently. He alienated an untold number of readers, myself included, when he kicked Blodgett’s monthly column off of the Globe’s Op-Ed pages. Personally, I rarely agreed with Mr. Blodgett’s views, but I read his stuff every month.”
The reader was referring to longtime Globe-Gazette political columnist Todd Blodgett, whose conservative views resonated with legions of north Iowans, evoked letters to the editor, and consistently generated blog comments which out-distanced every other columnist and reporter that the Globe publishes. NorthIowaToday.com contacted Mr. Blodgett and informed him of Mayberry’s latest fiasco. Blodgett told NIT that he’s “saddened, that what was for so many decades such a fine publication has gone so far downhill, mostly because of David Mayberry infesting its newsroom and, apparently, now, what’s left of even its advertising department.” Blodgett’s father, Dr. Gary B. Blodgett, was referred to by Globe-Gazette political reporter John Skipper as north Iowa’s “Republican Patriarch”, and the newspaper endorsed all five of the senior Blodgett’s successful campaigns.
Gary Blodgett served as Deputy Majority Leader in the Iowa Legislature from 1992-2001, and later was appointed as a federal judge by President George W. Bush, where he served until 2008 in Washington, D.C. “As a boy growing up in Mason City,” Todd Blodgett told NIT, “I had a Globe-Gazette paper route. I care about the Globe and it’s my hope that David Mayberry will soon follow Hillary Clinton into oblivion. His departure,” Blodgett said, “would help to put Mason City out of its collective misery. In the meantime, I’m just glad that somebody who outranks Mayberry has shown this egotist that he’s not who REALLY calls the shots.”
NIT publisher and Council candidate Matt Marquardt said, he’s “just glad that common sense prevailed among the adults who run Lee Enterprises. Now, other candidates – ALL candidates, actually; not only me – won’t have to suffer the indignity of a Mayberry-ordained advertising embargo. I look forward to continuing our very positive campaign and working toward victory on November 7.”