Thursday, August 6, 2009

Dear Mr. Weber

By Rich Kozlovich

Most of us remember the article that appeared in Smart Money called; “10 Things Your Exterminator Won’t Tell You”, written in 2007. I saw that it was published recently again, but I didn’t really pay any attention to it nor did I compare it with the first one, as I just assumed it was the same type of stuff that went around the first time. Little did I know that it was the same article! Kudos to Frank Andorka, Editorial Director of Pest Management Professional magazine, who did pay attention and did notice that it was the same article! But most importantly, he decided to do something about it. I am pleased that Frank has allowed me to reprint his letter to Tom Weber, Editor of Smart Money magazine.

Mr. Weber,

When I first heard that Smart Money magazine had run a piece called “10 Things Your Exterminator Won’t Tell You,” I honestly thought it was a joke. After all, Ken Bensinger had already written that piece in 2007, and the industry did a good job of debunking it. I thought there’s no way a magazine with the reputation of Smart Money would try those scare people into not trusting their pest management professionals (PMPs) with the same sketchy journalism that they used the last time, would they?

But I went to the Web site and searched the title, there it was, published on July 21, 2009. Same headline, same writer, same scurrilous lies — I could hardly believe my eyes.

As if it couldn’t get any worse, it actually did. Not only was it a similar story, it was the same story. Word for word (well, you changed the headline on the first item, but that’s it). For the record, you slandered the PMPs you quoted once around, and now you’re doing it again. And I’m sure that Bonnie Rabe, the current president of the Association of Structural Pest Control Regulatory Officials, would be surprised to find out Steve Dwinnell had staged a coup to regain the position he held two years ago.

On another factual note, Michael Weisburger left his position as the president of “the nation’s largest pest control insurer” shortly after this hit-piece came out originally, although he is now back in the industry with his new venture called Planet PCO.

As one journalist to another, I need to ask you: What sort of standards do you have that you would rerun this piece without even trying to fix the errors and updating it? That’s more than dishonest, it’s lazy.

I would like to offer you the opportunity to defend the piece and its writer. At a day and time of your choosing, I would like to do a podcast with you so that you can answer questions about where you got the information for your article and why you feel the need to write derisively about the pest management industry every two years, a cycle as regular as the plague of locusts. I’ll even send you the questions in advance to avoid an ambush. What do you say?

Given what you had written in the piece in 2007, I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me that Smart Money would do it again. But it did — and it still saddens me. I hope you will do the industry the courtesy of answering their questions of you — I await your response.

Sincerely,

Frank H. Andorka Jr.
Editorial Director
Pest Management Professional
A Questex Media Group Publication
Integrated Media Solutions for Business
600 Superior Avenue East
Suite 1100
Cleveland, Ohio 44114
216-706-3735
Fax: 216-706-3712
Cell: 216-272-2885
fandorka@questex.com
www.mypmp.net


We will look forward to a follow up. In the meanwhile, the Col. John Boyd Award goes to Frank Andorka.

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