Chuck Johnson is a self-styled ‘journalist’ who believes he has a scoop. Johnson was brought to MS by the Tea Party Express. He’s paid a Meridian-based assistant pastor for an interview in which he says that Cochran campaign staffers paid him to pay for votes in the runoff.
The Cochran campaign issued a brief statement on the story.
“There is absolutely no truth to these baseless and false allegations,” said Cochran campaign spokesman Jordan Russell. “It comes from a blogger who in the last 24 hours has accused a Mississippi public official of being responsible for an individual’s death and had to retract other outlandish accusations regarding another Mississippi elected official. The author of this article admits he paid his source for this story.”
In a brief phone interview with Breitbart News, Fielder confirmed that he is an associate pastor at First Union Missionary Baptist Church and that he leveled the allegations in an interview with Johnson.
The Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics says, “Be wary of sources offering information for favors or money; avoid bidding for news.” Johnson defended paying for the story in an email, saying, “Why wouldn’t I pay for an awesome story?”
“Gawker, the Daily Mail, TMZ all pay for information (and they pay poorly, by the way). There’s also a long history of ‘checkbook journalism’ in America. I’m bringing it back. Indeed, every press baron in American history has relied on it. Pulitzer, Hearst, Luce, and, yes, Oprah are all supporters of it. David Frost paid for the Nixon tapes, goodness sake.”
Though Fielder himself has not been paid the $16,000 he claims he was promised for his services, he alleges he was given the enveloped cash to distribute amongst the black community in Mississippi in exchange for Cochran votes—and further alleges that others like him were similar given such cash.
Here’s the interview.
Though no one but Tea Party sympathizers have had a chance to interview Fielder, it certainly merits doing a little background. It occurred to YallPolitics that if someone were seeking money in a short period of time, would there in fact be a reason.
While the Tea Party has been fish-hooked and is taking out line, we will see if this story holds any weight or whether or not this is just a coordinated ruse from a group of soul-less individuals.