WELCOME to the debut of “The Truth Is!”, a blog of reporting and commentary that aims to be informative, thoughtful and provocative. At least initially, the blog will have a strong heartland flavor by virtue of the connection of a number of us to Cowles family journalism. I am former editor of the Des Moines Register’s opinion pages. Another contributor, Michael Gartner, is former editor of the paper; he later served as president of NBC News. Another former Register editor who has agreed to contribute, Geneva Overholser, is director of the University of Southern California’s Annenberg school of journalism. Followers of the blog will have access also to the work of Herbert Strentz of Des Moines, a close Register and other newspaper watcher who once headed Drake University’s journalism school. Bill Leonard, a longtime Register editorial writer, will add insights.

“The Truth Is!” will be supervised by my daughter, Marcia Wolff, a communications lawyer for 20 years with Arnold and Porter (Washington, D.C.). Invaluable technical assistance in assembling and maintaining the blog is provided by my grandsons Julian Cranberg, a college first-year, and Daniel Wolff, a high school senior.

If you detect a whiff of nepotism in this operation, so be it. All of it is strictly a labor of love. —Gil Cranberg

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Paul Krugman, the Nobel-Prize-winning columnist for the New York Times, made the startling accusation Nov. 10 that members of the U.S. Supreme Court acted “corruptly” in agreeing to review a case concerning the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration’s signature legislative achievement. According to Krugman, the Supreme Court’s action could have “grotesque” consequences in a case that deserves to be laughed out of court because it involves nothing more than a typographical error in drafting.

The votes of four justices are required for the Supreme Court to agree to review a case. By custom, the votes of the justices are secret. If Krugman is correct in characterizing the high court’s action in the Affordable Care Act case as corrupt, then we have the cover-up of dishonesty at the highest levels of government.

And all without the slightest expression of concern by the press. The secrecy that surrounds Supreme Court justice votes on whether to accept cases for review has never been a cause of concern by the press as a whole even though the decisions on the composition of the high court’s docket are of the utmost importance. The press ought to wake up and quit passively tolerating this unnecessary government secrecy. Perhaps Krugman’s courage in taking the unprecedented action of labeling a high court vote as corrupt will encourage further press coverage of the court’s untenable secrecy policy on certiorari votes. It has been allowed to go unchallenged far too long.

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