Melton Interviews, Part II Out; Ledge Suddenly Hot on Melton

Read Part II of Donna Ladd's JFP interviews with the mayor, plus a narrative of two Sunday nights in the Mobile Command Center. Online now.

Also, on the day that Part II of the JFP Interviews with Melton was set to appear, The Clarion-Ledger suddenly started reporting on Mayor Frank Melton, the legality of his guns and raids, the Command Center and so on. Interesting timing, considering that none of this started happening this month.

Welcome to the world of journalism, Clarion-Ledger. Better late than never.

Previous Comments

ID
121646
Comment

Mayor Superbad should be impeached or de-throned. I can hear him singing, "Watch me. I got it. And I'm Superbad. I got something that make me wanna shout. I got something that tells me what it all about. I got (obsession) and I'm Superbad."

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2006-04-12T18:17:53-06:00
ID
121647
Comment

ANYBODY PLEASE RESPOND TO THE FOLLOWING ?'S IF THE WOOD STREET PLAYERS ARE AQUITTED OF THE CHARGES AGAINST THEM, HOW CAN THEY GET CHARGED AGAIN ON THE SAME CHARGE? HOW CAN THE WOOD STREET PLAYERS BE LINKED TO THE CORRUPTION IN MUNICIPAL COURT SERVICES? Note: Municipal Court Services mainly handles misdemeanor crimes, but they do keep Felony warrants on file. However, with felony cases, the only felony paper work a court clerk could tamper with is a signed Bench Warrant. The case detective would have a copy of the origional affidavit and a copy of the bench warrant. The entire felony case files are kept in Major Investigations Office. Then the case is hand delivered to the Hinds County District Attorney's Office for review before being presented to the Hinds Co. Grand Jury. Therefore, the only thing municipal court clerks could do is stall the system in the case of dishonesty. The warrants will still be active, the case does not go away. HAVE ANYONE CHECK WITH JPD ON THE CALLS FOR SERVICE IN REFERENCE TO CHRISTOPHER WALKER BEING SHOT AT, IS THIS REALLY A TRUE STATEMENT? (Hey Frank, you know everything else who is shooting at Christopher, maybe it is "Batman" from the Hinds Co. Detention Center) WHY DID FRANK PAY SO MUCH ATTENTION TO THE LAST TWO "GANG" MURDER CASES ( MAURINCE WARNER, ANTHONY STAFFENEY, & "VIDAL SULLIVAN/ ALBERT "BATMAN" DONELSON, JAMES BENTON, & TERRELL DONELSON)? WHAT ABOUT THE ALLEDGED "GRAYHEAD" GANG FRANK? DURING FRANK'S INTERVIEW W/ JFP, HE INDICATED THAT DARNELL TURNER TOLD HE THAT THE CASE WAS OVER BEFORE IT WENT TO THE JURY, BECAUSE THE VICTIM HAD RECEIVED MONEY NOT TO TESTIFY, WHY WASN'T THIS REPORTED TO THE DA'S OFFICE? DURING THE INTERVIEW, FM STATED HE CAME WITH HIS FAMILY TO JACKSON, MS BROKE, BUT HE PURCHASED WLBT WITH TWO LOANS ONE BEING FROM A FRIEND AND THE OTHER FROM A BANK, BUT HE PAID THE LOAN BACK WITHIN 18 MONTHS, THIS COULDN'T POSSIBLY BE TRUE? LATER DURING THE INTERVIEW, FRANK STATED THE PEOPLE OF TYLER, TX DIDN'T WANT HIS WIFE TO MOVE HER PRACTICE FROM TYLER TO JACKSON, I THOUGHT SHE WAS FRESH OUT OF MEDICAL SCHOOL? I can cotinue all night, but I not doing any good, because Frank is above the law. So, if you can't beat them why not join them. The Feds can't do anything either. Frank is untouchable!

Author
Lspd2
Date
2006-04-12T23:18:18-06:00
ID
121648
Comment

'...... because Frank is above the law. .... The Feds can't do anything either. Frank is untouchable!' Now, don't get apathetic. We have to believe that the 'truth will out' and somehow there is a lesson inherient within this problem.

Author
ChrisCavanaugh
Date
2006-04-12T23:52:05-06:00
ID
121649
Comment

The only thing I have to say is that you have to understand there is a problem before you can do anything about it. Your questions are interesting, lspd2. I think the medical-school story is puzzling, too. Was she just out, or did she have an established practice that people wouldn't let her leave when he moved here? You are right that he says both things. Likewise, the one where he came here broke but bought a TV station, as I pointed out in the interview itself. And I agree that the Darnell Turner story was intriguing.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-04-13T09:28:53-06:00
ID
121650
Comment

Re the understanding-the-problem point, The Clarion-Ledger is tickling me right now. For months, they have watched Mr. Melton do the same things he is doing now, with access to him, and did nothing. David Hampton even declared he would re-endorse him if given a chance. However, now that he is shutting them out and doing interviews with the JFP, suddenly YESTERDAY they put a photo of him patting down a young person on page 1. And they're all freaked out about being shut out of meetings? They watched Melton's bodyguards escort Adam Lynch out of City Hall months ago, and didn't give a damn. Weasels. Glad to see them join the journalism party now, but it still reeks of being a lover's spat with the mayor they annointed. The amount of egg on their faces right now is astounding.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-04-13T09:32:21-06:00
ID
121651
Comment

The Ledge is definitely all over Melton today, asking belated-but-interesting questions. Stringfellow: Who is in charge of making sure public officials understand that Jackson is not a police state? Attorney General Jim Hood? Gov. Haley Barbour? The conduct that Melton has displayed is offensive, dangerous and potentially costly. What happens, for example, if the mayor, who is not a sworn law officer, discharges his weapon. Who would be liable? Those questions need to be answered, especially since Melton has shown no inclination to modify his behavior. He's even asking for "additional latitude" in widespread searches. It is a very compelling question, and one I've continued to to ask myself the last two Sunday nights. What happens when someone gets killed? Where then will people like Hood, Barbour, Peterson and City Council be? Everyone who is allowing this stuff to happen--and that includes The Clarion-Ledger until yesterday--now are responsible. BTW, they did not search every car Sunday night. The Clarion-Ledger only watched for about 10 minutes, and then left, so they wouldn't know.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-04-13T09:47:56-06:00
ID
121652
Comment

The Clarion-Ledger can never convince me they're not trying to compete with your getting out ahead of them on the entire Melton issues. You have made them see their errors and they're probably a little ashamed that a small paper with so few employees are beating them to the stories and issues. They're trying to save face, and will eventually offer you millions to go away. The ledge is too busy trying to court people (rich, movers, and shakers)instead of searching for the truth. Ronnie shouldn't be so blind or run-of-the-mill considering his born-with exception or difference.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2006-04-13T09:52:20-06:00
ID
121653
Comment

I don't want their millions. Screw them. But I do want them to do better reporting, and if we have to shame them into doing that, over and over again, then that's exactly what we will continue to do. On that note, interesting that they finally got around today to reading the documents about the allegations of Chris Walker being tainted as a witness by Melton and MBN. And it seems like the first time I've seen them PDF court documents -- as we did with the allegations of tainting of Walker two weeks ago in the story we wrote (broke) about it then. Adding journalistic insult to injury, Sunday night when the media were standing outside Chris Walker's mama's house as Mr. Melton went inside with his shotgun, the Ledge reporter and the guy from WLBT seemed to have no clue that Walker was the star witness that Peterson has refused to put on the stand due to their relationship with Mr. Melton. I told them both to go look at our Web site and looked at the PDF'd documents to get up to speed. Good to see that they're taking my advice. And I should add that I'm not blaming those young reporters. They clearly need real editors over there. This problem is from the top down. Speaking of, I wonder if Hampton will write his "why can't we all get along?" column Sunday declaring that they would endorse Melton a third time?

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-04-13T09:59:44-06:00
ID
121654
Comment

The Ledge is tickling the crap out of me. Today, they examine the costs of the Mobile Command Center that Melton has been using, and reported that the attorney general's office is investigating Mr. Melton's methods. This is good. However, no one is fooled out here. Where has The Clarion-Ledger and the attorney general been all these months!?! Why now, Ledge? It couldn't possibly have more to do with getting beaten badly by a little weekly paper than it does with actually doing something to help the community, could it? Weasels.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-04-14T11:56:22-06:00
ID
121655
Comment

Some interesting comments in the Ledge's forums about their sudden about-face on their hand-picked mayor: Why is it the powers that be in most of the print and TV media have decided to persecute Melton? He was supported by these organizations prior to the election probably because they knew that he would be this type of lighting rod and thus provide good stories. It appears that the C-L editors are little kids holding a grudge. Come on, C-L! Support the Jackson metro. What's good for Jackson is good for you! As a long time reader the Clarion-Ledger, I am sorely disappointed in the immaturity the Ledger has shown in it's reporting about Mayor Frank Melton. When the paper perceived insult by the mayor, the reporting changed to what seems to be offensive and low class attack tactics on their part.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-04-14T12:01:36-06:00
ID
121656
Comment

The Clarion-Ledger's PR problem here is that it looks like they're having a lover's spat with the mayor. They wouldn't report on the Meridian lawsuit, ostensibly because they were involved with it. They sugarcoated everything Melton did or said for the last year. They wrote a puff piece about him right before the election last year with little substance (and even allowing him to misrepresent *my* reporting, which I pointed out to them). David Hampton writes that he would endorse him again. They ignore how Melton was treating other media, such as ourselves. They didn't report on it when his bodyguards escorted Adam out of City Hall. They barely questioned his raids, his badge, his guns, his Command Center. Now, suddenly, they're going after him with both barrels—coinciding with our interview series—because he mistreated them personally. There's decent reporting in there, finally, but the people aren't stupid here about *why* they're doing it now. Insiders say they were also furious that we were allowed on the Command Center. Babies. The Clarion-Ledger had the resources to cover Melton long ago, and didn't do it because they didn't think it was the popular thing to do. Remember my blog thread, "Is The Clarion-Ledger the Worst Daily in the U.S.?" when they endorsed Melton? They have done nothing to dispel that notion.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-04-14T12:09:48-06:00
ID
121657
Comment

They have to be jealous and furious at the same time that a nobody (in comparison to size and money) got invited to dinner with the King and they didn't. Then the King became so enamored by the nobody that he took nobody all around his castle, then had the nerves to tell nobody all kinds of secrets about him he never told the big boys. I wish I were a fly on the wall over there at Ronnie's playground. I bet they're saying something funny is going on between you and the mayor. This victory is of biblical proportions. I'm not the Bible scholar Tom is , but I bet he could easily tell parallel story from the Bible. Show them some love. After the next visit and crime ride, send them some scraps from Melton's table.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2006-04-14T12:25:45-06:00
ID
121658
Comment

I know one. David killed Goliah.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2006-04-14T12:28:40-06:00
ID
121659
Comment

I bet it really ticks them off that the king is saying that the nobody has done the "fairest" coverage in town of him -- even though the nobody has done the toughest. There's a journalism 101 lesson in there if anyone is interested. We're not here to win popularity contests. We are here to tell the truth. Period.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-04-14T12:33:23-06:00
ID
121660
Comment

So happens, I'm headed to the castle now for another interview. Maybe I'll get 'em a doggy bag of sound bites, since that's the Ledge editors hunger for. ;-)

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-04-14T12:34:23-06:00
ID
121661
Comment

Oh, and I'm rather fond of the Goliath story myself. Ta. (BTW, I'm armed with questions from JFP bloggers for today's interview. Thanks for the help everyone. This is a community project.)

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-04-14T12:37:03-06:00
ID
121662
Comment

However, no one is fooled out here. Where has The Clarion-Ledger and the attorney general been all these months!?! Why now, Ledge? It couldn't possibly have more to do with getting beaten badly by a little weekly paper than it does with actually doing something to help the community, could it? - Ladd I think the JFP could definitely be sparking some fires at the C-L but I'm still under the impression that they deliberately endorsed him for the news it would produce. Think about it... Anyone with an ounce of information or knowledge of Frank's tactics would know he would produce headline after headline (whether those headlines are good or bad). With Johnson, it took a while for a headline and they were often good ones involving development, decrease in crime, etc... Minus the headlines involving sensationalized crime that they had to spew, re-package, and spew again to keep the paper running. BTW, WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE ABOUT COMSTAT? Seriously! From the conservatives that financed Melton to the Clarion Ledger, there seems to be no loud screams for crime stats like there were when Johnson/Moore were at the helm. A true shame! Even the "Packing and not Moving" site was dead most of last year and most of this year. To be honest, I'm a little surprised *and* upset Lange didn't keep the momentum and stern position. He truly seemed passionate about this city being safe and now there are banks and businesses being robbed blocks from many of our homes (and his). WHERE'S THE OUTRAGE? Of course, what do you expect when the only headlines they post over there have to deal with smearing liberals while our president is now basically guilty of treason! Don't stir the sheep, please. Attention Jacksonians: Get your heads out of the Yazoo clay before it's too late. I'm not just referring to the city but the state and the nation too!

Author
kaust
Date
2006-04-14T12:53:27-06:00
ID
121663
Comment

As I walked in the front door of Keifer's I saw Ronnie Agnew, Mr. Ledge himself. I even sat near hoping I would hear a comment about JFP. But he and his two friends talked about homes and other things. I was tempted to say while you're over here eating, Donna is with the King, and beating your sorry butts to stories once again. But I resisted. I go to tchurch with Ronnie, and has sent him emails about some of the sorry stories or editorials he writes. He wnts me to introduce myself to him, but I'm still resisting. I talk far too much crap to have everybody recognizing me.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2006-04-14T14:10:54-06:00
ID
121664
Comment

I was tempted to say while you're over here eating, Donna is with the King, and beating your sorry butts to stories once again. But I resisted. Giggle. Ray, I love you, man. Really. We're back from the chat in the "batcave," which was actually light and airy during the day. Mr. Melton had a meeting with Mr. Danks so this one didn't last forever -- just an hour and a half. Good chat, though. Yes, the mayor talked about The Clarion-Ledger, too. Tune in next issue.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-04-14T15:05:04-06:00
ID
121665
Comment

Why do I think it'd be funny if the next JFP was completely done in comic book depictions with the interviews in those little speech bubbles? ;-)

Author
kaust
Date
2006-04-14T15:07:35-06:00
ID
121666
Comment

Ronnie shouldn't be so blind or run-of-the-mill considering his born-with exception or difference. I must say I thought he was white until I ran across an editorial a few weeks ago. I was chagrined, to say the least.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2006-04-15T11:26:09-06:00
ID
121667
Comment

So, the Clarion-Ledger's David Hampton is complaining on his blog about Melton's "meltdown." Don't forget that this is the same man who wrote recently that he would endorse Melton again despite his occasional mess-ups. Could someone tell me exactly what Mr. Melton is doing this week -- save the shotgun on Batman's mama's porch -- that he hasn't been doing, or promising, for years now? Why is the Ledger just now starting to notice? This is really pathetic. Hampton: But he is headed toward crash-and-burn failure if he does not get control of himself and focus on the job at hand. I talked with him recently and he rambled on for 30 minutes about these two-bit street thugs with whom he seems so obsessed. I know he is frustrated about crime, about the system and about his inability to wave his gun and fix things. So is everyone else. But he is wasting his time and the city's in his paranoid pursuit of these gang thugs above all else in the city. His jack-boot methods make for good pictures, but they are ineffective.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-04-15T17:51:14-06:00
ID
121668
Comment

Oh, and the "two-bit street thugs" comment is nice, real nice, Hampton. You have officially lost all respect from me now.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-04-15T17:52:21-06:00
ID
121669
Comment

I'm trying to figure out if the Clarion-Ledger is really so petty that it's going after Melton just because it knows he's been interviewed by the small city alternative weekly, or if Melton knew the Clarion-Ledger was about to flip-flop and that this was a factor in his decision to go on and do the interviews. Dunno. The timing is certainly strange. And agreed on Hampton and "thugs," particularly given his repetition of the word. I mean, saying "thug" on occasion is one thing, but labeling a bunch of folks who haven't been convicted yet as "thugs," over and over again, just seems stupid. And suspect, though I'm not quite sure what it is I suspect him of doing. Let's not even talk about what the word "paranoid" is supposed to mean in this context. I mean, is Hampton just throwing words together at random, like speechwriters do when they call suicide bombers "cowardly"? Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-04-15T18:47:25-06:00
ID
121670
Comment

"Small"? Don't forget that our circulation is close to theirs in Jackson. ;-) Otherwise, I think it's a combination of factors—Melton is bashing them and the paper that has challenged them to start doing real journalism about him for over a year suddenly has better access -- and is still not fluttering our eyelashes at his every sound bite. Imagine. And I hear from the inside that our interviews, and access, are really pissing off the powers-that-be there -- especially being that Melton is criticizing them in the interviews in the JFP, the paper they despise so much (remember the petty stunt in the Northeast Ledger about the Friendship Ball). And they're embarrassed to get beat on so many stories about him. I mean, how long did it take them to catch on to the Walker angle!?! Now, they'll pretend they came up with it all. LOL. Yeah, the "thugs" thing is just weird. It's not the kind of language respected journalists use to talk about people accused of crimes. That doesn't mean that the men aren't guilty -- but you can call them alleged criminals, or even alleged "drug dealers" without resorting to the very troublling "thug" rhetoric. That's the uninspired language of screech radio. I'm surprised to see Hampton stooping to it, but then again maybe not. He has done little to impress me of late.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-04-15T19:38:07-06:00
ID
121671
Comment

Donna writes: "Small"? Don't forget that our circulation is close to theirs in Jackson. ;-) Now, Donna, you know that a Jacksonian only counts as three-fifths of a subscriber in Gannett terms! Otherwise, I think it's a combination of factors—Melton is bashing them and the paper that has challenged them to start doing real journalism about him for over a year suddenly has better access -- and is still not fluttering our eyelashes at his every sound bite. Imagine. I'm getting flashbacks to Captain Renaud from Casablanca: "I'm shocked--SHOCKED--to find gambling going on in this establishment!" ("Here are your winnings, sir." "Oh, thank you.") And I hear from the inside that our interviews, and access, are really pissing off the powers-that-be there -- especially being that Melton is criticizing them in the interviews in the JFP, the paper they despise so much (remember the petty stunt in the Northeast Ledger about the Friendship Ball). I'm curious: How much of this is the JFP and how much of this is the Gannett monopoly mindset? I just did a search for "Northside Sun" and, short of actual matches having to do with the sun (tinted windshields and whatnot), all there seems to be within the past 5 years is a couple of token mentions in articles about the Mississippi Link controversy. Zero matches within the past five years on the phrase "Planet Weekly." Zero matches at any time for the phrase "Jackson's Christian Families." It's as if they're working very hard to make y'all Unpersons. Not very responsible journalism, but a classic approach of journalistic monopolies. They seriously need some new management over there. Yeah, the "thugs" thing is just weird. It's not the kind of language respected journalists use to talk about people accused of crimes. True. I guess the question is whether David Hampton should still be regarded as a respected journalist. I know Sid Salter has officially jumped over the moon--not just on political issues, but even on the recent business with the new MSU president. You know, I predicted a long time back--and sounded absolutely ridiculous doing it--that you're honest enough, and the C-L editorial board dishonest enough, that sooner or later you would find yourself taking on a role where the JFP becomes best known for defending Melton from unfair criticism. We haven't quite reached that point yet, but you have to admit the prediction looks a heck of a lot more realistic now. Which is not to say that there aren't plenty of things to criticize about Melton, but he should remember King Lear: The daughter who really loves the king is the one who criticizes him. The other two are just looking out for themselves. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-04-16T02:30:03-06:00
ID
121672
Comment

Now, Donna, you know that a Jacksonian only counts as three-fifths of a subscriber in Gannett terms! Hilarious!

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2006-04-16T09:33:10-06:00
ID
121673
Comment

Yeah, Tom, your flashes of brilliance are hot. And what's so sad is how true that statement is, and how that affects their reporting on the city. As for "defending" Mr. Melton, I predicted during the campaign that when Mr. Melton's antics started swaying public opinion (and it became clear that crime rhetoric is simply crime rhetoric) that the Ledger would suddenly shift and become his biggest enemy—because that would sell more newspapers. Todd called it "sticking their finger in the wind," I believe. They anointed Mr. Melton with their pitiful and biased (and incomplete) reporting, and now will try to present themselves as the watchdog newspaper who is trying to keep him from ruining the city. See Ronnie Agnew's column today. Can we impeach the Ledge? Oh, never mind, they do that themselves on a regular basis. What's truly amazing is the contempt they show their readers with this bait-and-switch. But Jacksonians are smarter than the Gannett Corp. gives us credit for—people know what The Clarion-Ledger has done, and not done, and when. I'm hearing people talk about them this week as much as they're talking about Melton. They have massive egg on the face—just in time for Eastter.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-04-16T11:35:25-06:00
ID
121674
Comment

Here's one more statement from Hampton in his "meltdown" blog: I worry that Jackson truly is at a crossroads and that Melton's success or failure will have decades-long effects. He worries about that? Now? I, personally, have been worried about this a good 14 months. I've got to go meditate (actually to an Easter brunch). This is just pitiful -- from one extreme to another.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-04-16T12:18:51-06:00
ID
121675
Comment

I'm really starting to like you poeple. why? because you're waking up the bullsh*t and corruption this city has had to endure since I was a baby pooping diapers. Lspd2 has pointed out major flaws in Franks' diatribe, things that I wanted to point out so badly, but my zeal for truth is just too strong and some of you would've gotten me banned before you felt where I was coming from and I hate to be misunderstood. so, thank you Lspd2

Author
JSU
Date
2006-04-17T08:28:20-06:00
ID
121676
Comment

I'm trying to figure out if the Clarion-Ledger is really so petty that it's going after Melton just because it knows he's been interviewed by the small city alternative weekly, you are correct. or if Melton knew the Clarion-Ledger was about to flip-flop and that this was a factor in his decision to go on and do the interviews. Dunno. The timing is certainly strange. a Hunch? no. a gut feeling.

Author
JSU
Date
2006-04-17T08:34:23-06:00
ID
121677
Comment

Where can we in the Queens get a copy of the JFP. they CL is out here but we don't know where the JFP is. We need to be able to read the entire paper. HELP

Author
jada
Date
2006-04-17T10:13:10-06:00
ID
121678
Comment

Where can we in the Queens get a copy of the JFP. they CL is out here but we don't know where the JFP is. We need to be able to read the entire paper. HELP Go to Family Dollar on Northside Drive. The stand is next to the pay phone.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2006-04-17T11:01:04-06:00
ID
121679
Comment

Also in that same shopping center (Junction Mall, right?) we drop papers at the liquor store, the chinese restaurant and the men's store (can't remember the name...) all three of those are on the east side of the center.

Author
Todd Stauffer
Date
2006-04-17T11:35:46-06:00
ID
121680
Comment

Thanks LW and Todd for the location info. I am on my way up there now I hope there are some papers left.

Author
jada
Date
2006-04-17T17:00:14-06:00
ID
121681
Comment

Jada, this issue is out all over the place ... but you can pick some up at the office here if you can't find any. We have a few left. Call for directions: 362.6121.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-04-17T17:03:53-06:00
ID
121682
Comment

Also, be sure to recommend good spots -- convenience stores, etc. E-mail to [email]publisher@jacksonfreepress.com[/email] .

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-04-17T17:04:28-06:00
ID
121683
Comment

Family Dollar on Clinton Blvd.

Author
jada
Date
2006-04-17T17:54:56-06:00
ID
121684
Comment

Forgot to say I have a copy of the last one someone picked it up down town and gave it to me.

Author
jada
Date
2006-04-17T17:57:51-06:00

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