The new format allows each of the Metro’s three counties — including Rankin County, where the airport is located — to have a voice.

According to the Clarion Ledger, that did not stop most media from labeling SB 2162 a “takeover” of Evers International. That narrative, while convenient for journalists, simply isn’t true. No one is taking over anything. Five of the nine seats on the new Jackson Metropolitan Airport Authority will be occupied by representatives of the city of Jackson. One entity that holds majority representation on a governing body can theoretically control the actions of that body. That fact has either been misunderstood or intentionally overlooked to prop up the ridiculous and irresponsible “takeover” narrative.

Jackson holding a voting majority on the new board also did not prevent the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority — the body that has exercised governing control over Evers International from the beginning — from filing a lawsuit shortly after I signed SB 2162 that sought to prevent it from taking effect. That is unfortunate. The lawsuit has nothing to do with advancing the best interests of Evers International or the people it serves, and everything to do with an existing governing body doing all it can to retain power simply for the sake of retaining power.

That hasn’t been mentioned much, if any, in the media coverage of the litigation. Often, plaintiffs’ claims that my office is somehow obstructing the lawsuit’s progress by withholding discovery documents go unchallenged. Nothing could be farther from the truth. We have produced thousands of documents and even made available my deputy chief of staff and policy director for a day-long deposition conducted by plaintiffs that took him away from his responsibilities in my office. Again, those facts have rarely been reported, either because it ran counter to the media’s established narrative or, as has been the case on more than occasion, journalists failed to ask for our side of the story before running their articles. Anyone with even the most basic understanding of journalism knows that is unfair.

Clarion Ledger

6/15/2018