One of Monday Night Football’s most popular pre-game segments is entitled C’mon Man. It’s a light hearted look back at the week of the less memorable moments in sports highlights.
Mississippi media’s “C’mon Man” has had a hell of a couple of weeks. In fact, it’s gotten pathetic. Even more pathetic than it was. Not that it was ever awesome, but political media seems to be digging to absolute new lows.
Case in point?
Geoff Pender has now run two articles about who’s running or rumored to be running in 2019. The original story seem to sell breathless anticipation of a well-financed coup in the Republican Party against Tate Reeves. Meanwhile, the same article sold green lights and blue skies for Democrats Jim Hood and Jay Hughes in their nominations. Hood has since drawn a credible challenger that the rest of the state media has absolutely ignored.
Two of the names Pender came up with were business leaders Bill Lampton and Thomas Duff. Media insiders and under-the-dome types snickered at the article. Not that Lampton and Duff wouldn’t make good Governors, but clearly they weren’t going to jump in. It was PR people laughingly manipulating one of the state’s most notable political reporters. It was common knowledge that Duff was a Tate supporter and had a fundraiser scheduled. However, just days before the Duff fundraiser for Reeves, Pender doubled down again and threw out that Duff was still considering.
That’s got to be pretty damn embarrassing.
Not to be outdone, Mississippi’s “non-partisan” rich people’s plaything touted a “wild” scoop by publishing that a “prominent GOP operative” had offered newly minted Republican gubernatorial candidate, Robert Foster, with campaign contributions if he ran for a different office.
Wildddd scoop from @thisislarrison:
Before freshman state Rep. Robert Foster announced for governor last night, a prominent GOP operative guaranteed him $1M in fundraising if he’d run for any office other than governor. https://t.co/GD3sFFOIcD #mselex
— Adam Ganucheau (@GanucheauAdam) December 13, 2018
Yep. Wildddd stuff.
They must not have taught journalism in journalism school. Publishing a candidate saying that an “anonymous” source told them something that would in essence benefit them politically is beyond embarrassing. Then, bless their hearts, the Jackson Free Press tried to play catch up with MS Today.
Printing the assertion that Foster was “offered a million dollars” to run for another seat by some shadowy GOP political operative would be like me saying that I had been notified of Y’all Politics’ pending nomination for a Pulitzer Prize. Mind you, I can’t tell you who told me about, but trust me, they told me. At some point, a real journalist would say, “hey look, Rep. Foster, this may well have happened, but I can’t run this until you tell me who it is on the record.” Otherwise, it’s just a political ad. And then a real journalist would have verified it on the back end with the person alleged to have made the call and tried in good faith to disclose who was telling the truth. That’s just about as sad as “journalism” gets. It’s editorial malpractice at the absolute very least.
And just you wait. If Foster were to get over and win a Republican primary, the folks at Mississippi Today and Jackson Free Press would make him, like every other Republican, public enemy #1 conjuring up the worst imagery and turning on him like a rabid dog. And he knows it.
Then today, we find that longtime journalist Jerry Mitchell is heeding the siren call of the non-profit journalism world. ProPublica is bootstrapping an investigative journalism venture for him here. You remember ProPublica right?
The founder of ProPublica, Herbert Sandler, and his family run a PAC called POWERPACPlus that spent millions in the recent Mississippi senate election on behalf of Espy. They ran one of the most racially inflammatory and divisive ads in recent Mississippi political history. Plus, their vendors were tied to unauthorized mailers. That’s not the sort of racial reconciliation that Jerry Mitchell has sought to associate himself with throughout his career. Lots to investigate there, Jerry. But I’m not holding my breath.
A similar ProPublica-funded venture announced on the same day is making a foray into Kentucky. Its governor, Matt Bevin, very appropriately stripped the bark off ProPublica and what’s really behind their efforts.
Folks, I’m the canary in the coal mine. Y’all Politics has been doing this for nearly 15 years every day, and I can tell you that it’s never been this bad. Millions of tax deductible dollars are flowing here to essentially reroute how news is disseminated with the most overt outcome oriented intent imaginable.
Mississippians better start being more aware about who’s writing the news they read, who’s paying for it and what’s in it for them. We are about to see outcome-oriented journalism in a way we’ve never seen in 2019.
Write it down.