After All These Years  | American Journalism Review
 AJR  The Beat
From AJR,   April 1999

After All These Years    

Seven years after she sued for libel, former Rep. Mary Rose Oakar and Cleveland’s Plain Dealer finally reach a settlement.

By Lori Robertson
Lori Robertson (, a former AJR managing editor, is a senior contributing writer for the magazine.      

Seven years after she sued for libel, former Rep. Mary Rose Oakar and Cleveland's Plain Dealer finally reach a settlement. In a terse joint statement published on the paper's Metro front, the Plain Dealer acknowledged that the eight-term Ohio Democrat "was rightfully upset that erroneous information" about her had been printed. No terms of the settlement were disclosed. The suit arose from a series of April 1992 articles alleging that Oakar was forced to resign from a congressional task force investigating wrongdoing at the House post office. The first was a front-page story, dated April 3, 1992, based on confidential sources. It said the congresswoman "had placed two 'ghost employees' on the House post office payroll." Oakar dismissed the accusation as "absolutely not true," and a report issued by the task force that July cleared her. Oakar, who hosts programs on aging and public affairs for Cleveland's WERE-AM, calls the settlement "a bittersweet victory." Plain Dealer Editor David Hall says the joint statement "was not a retraction; it was what it was." He adds, "Mary Rose Oakar is not worth my time to talk about."




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