Is The Clarion-Ledger the Worst Daily in the U.S.? | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Is The Clarion-Ledger the Worst Daily in the U.S.?

This thread contains analysis of the Clarion-Ledger's reporting on Melton, talk about Melton's record of drug arrests at MBN, and Ben Allen on the friendship between Kenneth Stokes and Frank Melton. Just call it a blog potpourri.

The Clarion-Ledger today did the predictable for a corporate newspaper and endorsed the candidate for mayor backed by the strongest Republicans in and around the city. In so doing, the daily newspaper relied on rethoric, abysmal reporting in the run-up to the election—with scant, if any, coverage of major campaign appearances.

This seemed to be a full-fledged coordinated assault on the more progressive of the two candidates, bringing to mind the Gannett newspaper's endorsement of George W. Bush last fall.

To paraphrase, even though he hadn't done a good job,, the paper famously argued then, Bush deserves the chance to fix the mess he made. Even columnist Eric Stringfellow again argued that Johnson has not laid specific visions and accomplishments—although we've seen Stringfellow at very few, if any, campaign events in the last three months. And the reporters who have been there have published superficial coverage of the races, including two "profiles" (here and here of the candidates that appear on page 1 of The Clarion-Ledger this week, and repeatedly reporting serious accusations of crime-reporting fraud by challengers without investigating the charges. This pitiful coverage of the vital mayor's race, leading to an endorsement based more on rhetoric than fact, is making the corporate Clarion-Ledger more of a liability in Jackson than an asset.

The Jackson Free Press is highly disturbed at the poor journalism we are seeing displayed at this extremely wealthy corporate newspaper (that is trying to gobble up local alternatives). We urge the home office of Gannett to once consider sending an ombudsman to Jackson to analyze the harmful role this newspaper is playing in Jackson—and to determine if the newspaper is being manipulated too strongly by outside forces either purposefully, or if the superficial non-civic journalism is resulting from mere incompetence and lack of concern for the results. The citizens of Jackson and Mississippi have the right to talk back to the corporate giant that continually shows itself more concerned with profit margins and sensationalist headlines than in actual progress.

Meantime, we urge bloggers to dissect their coverage here. Go to today's endorsements, "profilles," yesterday's story about crime, and the little archive of their city election coverage. Do not paste full stories here, but you can paste specific examples that you want to discuss here.

The Goliath role of this newspaper in this city, and in this state, needs to be challenged at every turn. Let's start right here.

Previous Comments

ID
86945
Comment

when the residents there see fit to vote as a bloc without seeming to put much thought into what the candidates are actually saying You don't know this. You can't see into their decision making. You don't know what these voters are evaluating. You have no idea to what depth their consideration process extends. You don't care for it when others put words into your mouth but you seem to be doing almost the same thing by concluding that a vote by these people is being made without much thought. Their process can be just as rigorous as your own and they still may conclude that a Melton vote is in their own best interests, and the best interests of Jackson. One person, one vote.

Author
Proud To Be Right
Date
2005-05-02T11:29:06-06:00
ID
86946
Comment

..."there is a real diverse "creative class" thing going on here. I truly don't believe he will help move this forward at all. I'm truly worried about our efforts being set back dramatically under Melton. We're all not going to stop what we're doing, but we don't need the city fightingn against us." Our?... who is "our"? Who is this creative class that is apparently solidly pro-Johnson? Part of the diverse creative class (whatever that means) includes me... young, creative, white, Christian, conservative. Don't lump the entirety of the Jackson creative class into your little clique of gay blacks and poor artists. And the media coverage complaint is moot. So is the "real Democrat" charges. I will guess that this election was over before any ads or debates took place. Both campaigns havent said anything,... yet Melton is leading H.J. in polls. Most Jacksonians knew what these fellows were about before the campaign to make an informed vote. How can anyone be anti-Leland Speed, and pro Virden Addition? Why do you and Harvey Johnson feel a need to create a class struggle between us and them? It seems to me the hyperbole is your imaginary world of rich white Christian Jacksonian men hell bent on destroying gay black artists drinking coffee in run down lofts. It quite simply doesnt exist.

Author
PUDDINTANG
Date
2005-05-02T13:00:00-06:00
ID
86947
Comment

I also know Robert Johnson really well and he doesn't get vocal unless the person on the other end pushes. Knowing him the way I do...I would say yes. No, JPF, he was a jerk from the second he answered the phone. I've been doing what I do long enough to know that I won't get anywhere by going around being a jerk. I was very nice to the people with the Melton campaign, but they were very rude almost immediately -- they seemed completely put off by the fact that there were media they couldn't control. I was shocked at how R. Johnson responded to me right off the batóI can't imagine that they helps them. Everybody I've dealt with associated with the Melton campaign seems extremely angry. I don't really get it. You don't know this. You can't see into their decision making. You don't know what these voters are evaluating. You have no idea to what depth their consideration process extends. Hmmm, PBR. Melton supporters are all over the polls done last week. What did they say about white Jacksonians? Was it 80 percent or some such? Now, add that to the fact that Melton has presented no real platform, or specific ideas, whatsoever, and has run an awful campaign and hid from the public, and just what does that tell one? That North Jacksoners seem willing to vote as a bloc for a candidate that has articulated very little? I stand by my conclusion, PBR, until shown otherwise. Now, I do agree with you that North Jackoners have decided that voting for Melton is "in their own best interests." What they think their "best interests" are is what I think we should be exploring moreóperhaps putting pictures of black men on billboards and making fun of the NAACP? Neither of those is in my best interest. Neither is putting the Convention Center between Two Lakes, or turning Jackson into Dodge City where constitutional rights take a backseat to crime rhetoric.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-05-02T13:03:52-06:00
ID
86948
Comment

Our?... who is "our"? Who is this creative class that is apparently solidly pro-Johnson? Part of the diverse creative class (whatever that means) includes me... young, creative, white, Christian, conservative. Don't lump the entirety of the Jackson creative class into your little clique of gay blacks and poor artists. I haven't. You just did. And you're wrong. "Our" means anyone not bent on tearing the city apart, and talking its successes and progress down, in order to gain political control for angry pockets of people. "Our" includes young, creative, white, Christian, conserviate, gays, blacks, poor artists and all sorts of other peopleóas does the JFP's readership.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-05-02T13:04:42-06:00
ID
86949
Comment

BTW, JPF, if you know why NoJa folks consider Johnson "the best police chief in 20 years," fill us in. What was so great about his policing tenure? Or, is this rhetoric from people who hate Harvey Johnson? Let's flesh it out. Ready, set, Truth Watch.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-05-02T13:18:27-06:00
ID
86950
Comment

Yeah, Puddintang is right. The creative class is much broad, highly diverse group of people with vastly differently ideological views. I'd venture people in the creative class are more socially liberal than the average Mississippian, but on economic issues, it's very hard to say. I would also venture to say people of Jackson's "creative class" are heavily concentrated in Northeast Jackson. People hear "creative class" and think Belhaven/Fondren, but I'd imagine Northeast Jackson has its share of young people who didn't want the suburbs, were priced out by some of the Belhaven / Fondren development, and found a home in one of Northeast Jackson's older neighborhoods. I'm glad Donna and Todd have been discussing the "creative class" in the JFP, but they must be careful not to describe this group of people in a way that the public views them, as Puddintang said, as "gay black artists living in downtown lofts." In 21st Century America, you can be bourgeois and bohemian. And it's the result of this fusion -- The BoBo -- that is the driving force of this so-called creative class.

Author
sny guy
Date
2005-05-02T13:54:37-06:00
ID
86951
Comment

Also, this board may be overstating the wealth of Ward 1 (Northeast Jackson). A lot of the prosperous families at the past have moved north and have a view of the golf course at Annandale or the Reservoir when they go to pick up their morning newspaper. Ward 1 has a huge number of retirees who probably support Melton more because of crime fears than for anything having to do with their economic interests. I think the viewpoints represented here aren't really indicative of the true feel of Jackson. We've got progressives from Fondren, folks from Northeast Jackson, exiled law students, NoCal attorneys, and a few suburbanites. I'd like to hear what people from middle-class Ward 2 or Ward 6 think about this election. It will be their opinions and values that determine Jackson's next mayor.

Author
sny guy
Date
2005-05-02T14:04:34-06:00
ID
86952
Comment

We didn't do that, sny. Come on: you're smarter than this. Right now, you're trying to find a reason to criticize us, but this one isn't hitting its mark. In fact, I say right above here the opposite of what both of you are saying. It's offensive for you to try to prove an elusive point by putting words in someone's mouthóespecially when the entire JFP every week belies everything you two are trying to make up right now. Lord. Secondly, I should note that I never say the "creative class" is "solidly pro-Johnson"óthat's something Puddintang made up on my behalf. What I did say is that there is a group of positive, hard-working people who don't talk the city downóand I believe strongly, at this point, that Melton is not the candidate that people like this should vote for. See our endorsements at the top of the site for our reasoning. Otherwise, though, both of you, stop making sh*t up on our behalf. That's silly.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-05-02T14:08:04-06:00
ID
86953
Comment

Also, this board may be overstating the wealth of Ward 1 (Northeast Jackson). I certainly haven't meant to. I think a lot of Republicans vote against their own economic interests all the timeóunless they make over $200,000 a year, the current Republican party does nothing for them, economically speaking. And that's getting worse. I think the viewpoints represented here aren't really indicative of the true feel of Jackson. Maybe, maybe not. I think it's funny, though, that you somehow are placing hands on your keyboard and knowing where bloggers hail from. You're good, sny. And all the way from whatever state you live in now. Also, I talk to people every day from all the wards; I spent a good part of the weekend in West and Northwest Jackson. Our paper hits the best cross-section of Jackson than any other paper in town. And that's been proven officially. Does that mean they all blog? Of course not.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-05-02T14:11:44-06:00
ID
86954
Comment

Hello???? Have the City of Jackson just shrunk! Don't we have other neighborhoods beyond NE Jackson, Fondren, and Belhaven? Are the other sections of the City invisible? And no, I don't think the "creative class is heavily concentrated in NE Jackson." Reading the various comments and definitions, I think it would be worthwhile to start having a "creative class" forum. Let's bring Richard Florida to Jackson. Memphis invited RF in and had roundtable discussion with the young professionals. That meeting served as the genesis for a lot great ideas for the city.

Author
joiedevie
Date
2005-05-02T14:20:25-06:00
ID
86955
Comment

In 21st Century America, you can be bourgeois and bohemian. And it's the result of this fusion -- The BoBo -- that is the driving force of this so-called creative class. I'm not quite diggin' that. The BoBo is a different thing from creative class -- some for of quasi-social class that was "imagineered" and then impugned by David Brooks is a book that, was, well...thin on research, thick on stereotypes. Latte-drinking <> Creative Class. The Creative Class (if we grant that it's a "thing" at all) is really more of a statistical, economic class than it is any sort of bald generalization about the people in it. The best way I've come up with to describe it is "people who have their economic fate in their own hands" -- entrepreneurs, professionals, accountants, attorneys, doctors, artists, singers, actors -- etc. There's also crossover between Service, Working and Creative classes -- a stylist who is thought of as an artist, the teacher or professor who creatively expands and enables minds, but takes a paycheck from the state and so on. Liberals? Sure. Conservatives? Yup. Populists? Let's hope. Individualistic? That's key. It would be asinine to suggest that anyone ever characterized them as "gay black artists living in downtown lofts." That's just a strawman both figuratively and, I would guess, in reality. However, one of the creative class principles -- at least, when applied to economic growth and development in urban environments -- is certainly *tolerance* for diversity, including tolerance for different racial and ethic identities, sexual orientation, gender and so on. Maybe even a celebration of those differences, insofar as people are allowed to express themselves as individuals. I would wholeheartedly add religion to that category, particularly in the South, where I've seen strong expressions of progressive and/or creative religousity, not to mention people who mix entrepreneurship and faith perhaps moreso than in other regions of the country. I personally think the negative generalizations and stereotypes work against an understanding of what may be a crucial understanding about the future of this country's growth and economic development, for one thing. "BoBo"s is one of those, IMHO.

Author
Todd Stauffer
Date
2005-05-02T14:25:30-06:00
ID
86956
Comment

What's offensive is your use of the word "Lord". And I never would attempt to speak on your behalf. Now you are making sh!t up. You used the term "creative class" to describe an urban anti-white young professional segment that does not want to elect Melton, and believes that the Johnson track is desirable. I simply say that your definition of the Jackson "creative class" is much more exclusive than mine.

Author
PUDDINTANG
Date
2005-05-02T14:27:08-06:00
ID
86957
Comment

Truthwatch back to you, Donna. Be more specific with regards to your post: What I've found out about him seems to be that he believes in antiquated, lock-em-up, mandatory-sentencing-type philosophies. Exactly what did you find out and name your source, date of information? Describer the antiquated, lock-em-up, mandatory-sentencing-type philosopies? And it's not just NoJa that believed in the leadership of Robert Johnson. There were so many others across the city that believed in his leadership that threatened Harvey. Infact, you will find - if you ask some of them directly - that even folks on Harvey's campaign told Harvey themselves that his biggest mistake as Mayor was firing Robert Johnson. And those people don't live in NoJa, they live in Fondren and Belhaven.

Author
JenniferGriffin
Date
2005-05-02T14:27:19-06:00
ID
86958
Comment

Reading the various comments and definitions, I think it would be worthwhile to start having a "creative class" forum. Let's bring Richard Florida to Jackson. Memphis invited RF in and had roundtable discussion with the young professionals. That meeting served as the genesis for a lot great ideas for the city. I'm for it. I imagine that all it takes is money. And I agree that the creative class is all over town -- there are probably even a few members in the suburbs. ;-)

Author
Todd Stauffer
Date
2005-05-02T14:29:52-06:00
ID
86959
Comment

:-) !!! I already have potential sponsor. Let's make it happen.

Author
joiedevie
Date
2005-05-02T14:35:24-06:00
ID
86960
Comment

Sorry, I gotta jump in on this one: You used the term "creative class" to describe an urban anti-white young professional segment that does not want to elect Melton,.... er...this earlier... It seems to me the hyperbole is your imaginary world of rich white Christian Jacksonian men hell bent on destroying gay black artists drinking coffee in run down lofts. Huh? Let's see...you make this into a religious, racial, sexual orientation crusade...but it's *Donna's* imaginary world? Whoa. Get this cat some decaf.

Author
Todd Stauffer
Date
2005-05-02T14:35:56-06:00
ID
86961
Comment

Hello???? Have the City of Jackson just shrunk! Don't we have other neighborhoods beyond NE Jackson, Fondren, and Belhaven? Amen, Sister. I've never said the "creative class" is relegated to those areas. It's not. I like the "creative class" forum idea, and I bet we could get Florida here. Todd? Otherwise, I'll let Todd take this one; "creative class" understanding is his balliwick. Pudd: And I never would attempt to speak on your behalf. Now you are making sh!t up. Yes. You. Did. Just above, and look you're doing it again: You used the term "creative class" to describe an urban anti-white young professional segment that does not want to elect Melton, and believes that the Johnson track is desirable. I simply say that your definition of the Jackson "creative class" is much more exclusive than mine. No. I. Didn't. Puddintang, you are making sh*t up again for me. (Drink!) I'm serious. Do not continue trying to put false words in my mouth, or anyone else's. It's rude, and it's obvious. People can read here. JPF, I've read what I could find about Johnson here in archives. There was at least one lengthy piece about how he favors a return to "zero tolerance" policing, which is based on get-em-off-the-streets-even-for-minor-stuff (to put it simplistically) more than forward-thinking ideas about prevention and community policing. That is, my research so far on R. Johnson is not matching the "best" rhetoric, nor is my dealing with him one-on-one. I asked you and others to provide more info above, so I can understand better why people like him. Why not answer my question rather than look for ulterior motives in the questioner? As for your last statement, looking back, it didn't look like he doing a very good job at making the city safer, and wasn't there a mess or two that he left behind? If you have evidence of what he was doing so well, why not present it? Specifics rather than rhetoric would be super.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-05-02T14:36:01-06:00
ID
86962
Comment

:-) !!! I already have potential sponsor. Let's make it happen. Absolutely. Let's talk.

Author
Todd Stauffer
Date
2005-05-02T14:38:04-06:00
ID
86963
Comment

While on the "creative class" topic, don't miss Todd's story about it from our very first issue.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-05-02T14:46:27-06:00
ID
86964
Comment

ladds post: "Yes, but Tom, it still takes leadership and knowledge to both hire good people (without antiquated ideas about policing), and to keep them balanced between protecting people's rights, preventing crime and making arrests. As for eco-devo, again, this is an everyday thing. I don't think Melton would just let it go; however, I don't think he is dedicated to it at all (Convention Center between Two Lakes!?!). He doesn't care about the environmental studies (said that at Bravo) of development; let's stop messing around, he says. And there has to be a vigilant effort to make sure the Leland Speeds of the world don't control it all, and turn eco-devo downtown into a white thing. And I do think Melton would allow that to happen, perhaps while he was out knocking downs down in Virden Addition or such ("let the experts take care of it"). I got the impression from watching his MAP appearance that he doesn't take young black professionals very seriously; he seems very condesending to themó"you're all my children, and I'm going to whoop your ass if you don't do what I want"ówithout understanding that there is a real diverse "creative class" thing going on here. I truly don't believe he will help move this forward at all. I'm truly worried about our efforts being set back dramatically under Melton. We're all not going to stop what we're doing, but we don't need the city fightingn against us. It is anti-white. It assumes the creative class is in favor of the Johnson track. I am not making sh!t up for you... I am stating my take on your statements... Give and take,... you know, tolerance. Again, I simply say that your definition of the Jackson "creative class" is much more exclusive than mine. I believe great chunks of both yours and todd's creative class is pro-Melton, and should not be shamed by it, nor painted as anti-downtown or bigoted.

Author
PUDDINTANG
Date
2005-05-02T14:49:56-06:00
ID
86965
Comment

First: It is anti-white. Second: I am not making sh!t up for you Come on, Pudd. You are arguing with yourself here and trying to prove your negative. As I've stated incessantly now, and for the last time, I am saying that I believe strongly, based on my research and my interaction with both Melton and Johnson campaigns, that Mayor Johnson is the best "creative class" candidate. You can disagree with me. That's not a problem. But if you continue to try to keep re-stating what I clearly did not say, I will consider you a troll and ask you to leave. Your choice: Discuss, or keep trying to put sh*t in my mouth. Last call.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-05-02T14:54:08-06:00
ID
86966
Comment

OK, maybe I see what PUDDINTANG is doing here. I'm going to try. Once. Donna: And I do think Melton would allow that to happen, perhaps while he was out knocking downs down in Virden Addition or such ("let the experts take care of it"). I got the impression from watching his MAP appearance that he doesn't take young black professionals very seriously; he seems very condesending to themó"you're all my children, and I'm going to whoop your ass if you don't do what I want"ówithout understanding that there is a real diverse "creative class" thing going on here. I truly don't believe he will help move this forward at all. I'm truly worried about our efforts being set back dramatically under Melton. We're all not going to stop what we're doing, but we don't need the city fightingn against us. PUDDINGTANG: It is anti-white. It assumes the creative class is in favor of the Johnson track. Now, after one close read of what Donna wrote, I didn't see it. The second time, this is what popped out: I got the impression from watching his MAP appearance that he doesn't take young black professionals very seriously; he seems very condesending to themó"you're all my children, and I'm going to whoop your ass if you don't do what I want"ówithout understanding that there is a real diverse "creative class" thing going on here. I truly don't believe he will help move this forward at all. So, giving PUDDINGTANG the benefit of the doubt, maybe s/he is reading here that Donna is saying the creative class in Jackson is all-black. That's the best I can do. But...s/he is wrong -- Donna is talking about a specific instance where Melton seemed to have trouble hearing the questions he was asked by a group of black men at a forum on Farish Street and then she's referring, separately, to the "diverse creative class" that Jackson has. "Diverse," you'll note, is an English word with a meaning. Now, how you get that anything Donna has said is "anti-white" out of any of that is your own little problem; also, how being on the "Johnson track" is "anti-white" is something else I don't get.

Author
Todd Stauffer
Date
2005-05-02T15:05:22-06:00
ID
86967
Comment

unless they make over $200,000 a year, the current Republican party does nothing for them, economically speaking You're opinion. Not backed with any facts. Our paper hits the best cross-section of Jackson than any other paper in town. And that's been proven officially. By what, Silver's survey? Nothing has been proven "officially". You hit a better cross-section that "the Ledge"? Doubt it. Never been proven.

Author
Proud To Be Right
Date
2005-05-02T15:11:08-06:00
ID
86968
Comment

O.K. If Jackson is such a creative class kind of town as described by todds, and your endorsement of Johnson for the creative class is based on research and interaction, then Johnson should win. The creatives wouldnt be so stupid as to vote for Melton, though, as you say, folks do often vote against their interests. Unless the reverse is true, as I have been saying, that the creative class might actually believe it is in the best interest of the city to vote Melton. I say one can be of the Creative Class, be pro-downtown, pro-tolerance, and pro-Melton. We will find out tomorrow evening. That is all.

Author
PUDDINTANG
Date
2005-05-02T15:12:17-06:00
ID
86969
Comment

todd, here is the anti-white part: He doesn't care about the environmental studies (said that at Bravo) of development; let's stop messing around, he says. And there has to be a vigilant effort to make sure the Leland Speeds of the world don't control it all, and turn eco-devo downtown into a white thing. So what if whitie wants to renovate downtown? Is that so bad? Thanks. jaybay.

Author
PUDDINTANG
Date
2005-05-02T15:16:30-06:00
ID
86970
Comment

Pudd, Pudd, Pudd. Of course, a member of the "creative class" could vote for Melton. Do you truly think I would argue otherwise? That's dumb, and it sure isn't what I said. I advised that they vote for Johnson based on everything I've seen to date. As for the anti-white B.S., you're just not getting it. We have to be vigilant about downtown development to make sure that it remains diverse, and has affordable aspects to it, and isn't taken over by a small group of developers. There are downtown projects in other places where white developers have come in, driven out the poor people of color, and made it a paean to a small group of elitists. This isn't what Jackson needs. Since when did anti-all-white become anti-white? Also, I must tell you that some of my best friends are white. I'm sick of arguing with you about this, while you're misstating and misinterpreting everything I said; Todd summed it up well. Bye, bye. BTW, PBR, Dr. Silver's survey of us is not the current source of our readership information. That's old news. We've gone a bit more uptown than that since 2003 (not to diss our old marketing research, of course.) And, yes, we have the proof of who our readership is. ;-D

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-05-02T15:24:05-06:00
ID
86971
Comment

And, yes, we have the proof of who our readership is. Then pony up the proof. Otherwise the claim of having the best cross-section is just your unsubstantiated opinion. I'll wait for you to get back to us on the unsubstantiated economic argument too.

Author
Proud To Be Right
Date
2005-05-02T15:34:50-06:00
ID
86972
Comment

Tell you what, PBR. If you're a business owner who would like a sales presentation based on our readership numbers, call Todd and make an appointment. He'll be happy to oblige. Otherwise, if you're just an anonymous blogger who is here to dispute anything we tell you about the JFP, no matter what the source, keep believing what makes you feel good. I don't feel any need to prove a thing to you. As for the economic argument, I don't have the time today (press day) to regurgitate arguments that have been made here and in articles numerous times now about Bush's brilliant economic plan and how many people it's actually serving. Why don't we save some time and just declare you Right, being that you're going to be RIGHT no matter what information one puts in front of you. And we hear you're Proud, too. ;-)

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-05-02T15:41:37-06:00
ID
86973
Comment

Why don't we save some time and just declare you Right, being that you're going to be RIGHT no matter what information one puts in front of you. Very good then. I'll adopt the same position you take daily. Tally ho.

Author
Proud To Be Right
Date
2005-05-02T15:52:38-06:00
ID
86974
Comment

I'm voting for Johnson, and I wouldn't describe myself as anti-white... But I do wonder: What's the deal with Leland Speed? Why do folks point to him as an example of what not to do? I don't know much about the guy; I'm just curious. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-05-02T16:11:14-06:00
ID
86975
Comment

Todd, always enjoy your input. I'd love to sit down with you one evening this summer and get your take on the blogosphere in its current incarnation. Donna, always enjoy yours too. You keep these board popping -- prolific, penetrating, and pertinent -- can't think of anymore asinine alliterations here. Ok, Donna, I'm generalizing? Pot. Kettle. Black. Yeah, yeah, I know, I shouldn't defend myself of something by accusing you of the same thing. I think we're all guilty sometimes of generalizing and stereotyping. Bottom line (no pun intended): creative class comes from all across the Jackson Metro area -- may be conservative or liberal, white or black, gay or straight, secular or religious. Some drives Beetles, some drive Escalades. Some are starving artists, some are prosperous attorneys. The more well-to-do part of the class would pass Brooks's Bobo class -- some wouldn't. Most know what New Urbanism is. They have common interests -- they want a vibrant, cultured city, and most don't consider culture an appearance by the Blue Collar Comedy Tour at the Coliseum. And some will say you've made the case why Harvey Johnson would be better as mayor, some will not. I'm not speaking for everybody, or even a representative portion of the population, but Harvey Johnson's background probably isn't as appealing as Melton's to a lot of the creative class. He's a technocrat -- probably a pretty good one -- but that doesn't inspire excitment among the creative masses. Melton was a business executive in journalism -- albeit broadcast journalism -- whose taken on a vareity of roles, from law enforcement administrator to community activist. Donna, you've had time to get to know them both, to see them speak, to hear their plans, but for a lot of people who haven't -- a lot of people in those so-called creative class -- Melton would seem to have an appealing track record. And one more point, Donna -- don't knock my analysis because I don't have geographic proximity to Jackson City Hall -- I've spent plenty of time in and around the city, and you know better than most the power of the internet to stay connected. I'm not professing to have my finger on the pulse of the city, but I know enough to offer an opinion. But I realize in most political arenas, 'outsiders' make poor pundits. I should keep quiet. With my luck, someone is making a file of everything I've written in the last five years and will use it one day to derail my bid for the local school board.

Author
sny guy
Date
2005-05-02T16:58:11-06:00
ID
86976
Comment

Donna, you've had time to get to know them both, to see them speak, to hear their plans, but for a lot of people who haven't -- a lot of people in those so-called creative class -- Melton would seem to have an appealing track record. I swear to to Buddha, sny, that you're arguing with your big toe. I truly don't even understand where your (and Pudd's) latest lob at me is coming fromónot from anything I've written. Allow me to recap: 1. The "creative class" is diverseóracially, geographically, sexual and so onóby its very definition (or Florida's). It was someone else (you, I think) who tried to limits its parameters. 2. Some members of the creative class might be attracted to Melton's bombastic rhetoric. 3. I believe they are wrong, however, and that Johnson is a much more positive force for the "creative class"-esque progress in Jackson. That's this kettle's whole argument. Done. Kaput. Ciao, Bella. Go brew some Earl Grey.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-05-02T17:06:52-06:00
ID
86977
Comment

On Police Chief: it's hard to judge who would be the best police chief of the past 20 years. External forces were different in each administration, providing varying degrees of challenges for each leader of the JPD. Ordinarily, if a chief becomes embroiled in personal scandal or presides over internal department corruption, history may judge him harshly. A citizen wll have a hard time knowing how effectiveness or ineffectiveness of a police chief is without talking to a wide cross-section of police officers and others close to the department who watched the different men in action. Otherwise, opinion is driven by media perception and internal biases. But we all make incomplete and inefficient decisions every day -- so picking one's favorite police chief with little or no substantive reasoning is par for the human course.

Author
sny guy
Date
2005-05-02T17:07:17-06:00
ID
86978
Comment

I find it difficult bordering on impossible to figure out how much of an effective crime policy is the mayor, how much is the police chief, and how much has more to do with people just plain not breaking the law as often. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-05-02T17:13:30-06:00
ID
86979
Comment

esanders Thanx for the message from Dan Camp...he is running for mayor of Starkville . Was the first teacher to give me a paddling [eighth grade] back when government schools would do that. Been buds ever since. Sorry Todd...you said this blog was a potpourri. Just got her message.

Author
Ben Allen
Date
2005-05-02T17:36:39-06:00
ID
86980
Comment

True, sny. And how in the world could you choose when it's the most political punching-bag appointment in the city (and in many other cities)? Isn't it 12 since the late '80s? Reading the archives from the early 1990s made this very clear. One thing seemed very clear from the Ledge stories alone: Jimmy Wilson came in here to clean up a mess, and wasn't politic enough with the status quo, and pissed off people. I haven't seen evidence, yet, that he was "crazy," however, although people will still say that, but then sputter when you ask for evidence. There was some perception going then, that was for sure. Another thing is for sure: Melton picked on police chiefs. And it's truly hard to believe that everything he was blaming on police chiefs were their fault. It sounded like he wanted the public to choose between liking him and the police, and it seems like he succeeded. This kind of whining is so easy to do, and it surely not getting at the hard stuff of preventing crime, which is the most important point. But no one wants to deal with that, not if they're just interested in politics, because truly what we do now is what will affect crime 10 years from now. A caller on Kim Wade's show today was talking about how many of our violent crimes are domesticóyet, she said rightly, the police/mayor get blamed for the high murder rate (not lax gun laws, not poverty, not education problems), but the fact that the mayor doesn't go around screaming his bloody head off. This kind of reasoning sure shows why Mississippi gets such a reputation for uneducated thinking. If Frank Melton becomes mayor, it's not going to lower domestic crime. It's just silly. Than Alan Lange comes on there talking about "national averages" in crime. This hurts my brain, it's so simplistic. It does no good to compare crime in Jackson to national averages: a poor city to a rich city; a city where people have more cars (thus more car crime per capita) to cities with walking cultures; a majority-black city to cities with different race demographics; a city where Jim Crow ended in 1970 to cities that never had legally enforced segregation; cities with home rule vs. cities ruled by state law; cities with strong gun control vs. weak; and so on. A criminal-justice expert I know told me once: "When you hear people talk about crime and national averages, you know they're just playing politics with the numbers. They're not interested in real analysis, or they would try to crunch the numbers in a more sophisticated way." That advice has stuck with me. BTW, I'd still like to hear specifically what Robert Johnson did so well? Surely, there are some examples of that floating out there.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-05-02T17:39:39-06:00
ID
86981
Comment

Some members of the creative class might be attracted to Melton's bombastic rhetoric. I'd expect that statement from one of the talking heads on cable news. Unfortunately, it's just bombastic rhetoric, too. Donna, you make not support Frank Melton -- I'd be skeptical myself -- but his popular support can be attributed to more than voters easily falling prey to his bombastic rhetoric. You have to have more faith in the voters of the city than you're giving them credit for.

Author
sny guy
Date
2005-05-02T17:40:04-06:00
ID
86982
Comment

What is a "government school," Ben? Is that where they teach you to be such a great public servant and serve effectively on the government payroll? ;-P

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-05-02T17:41:00-06:00
ID
86983
Comment

Donna, you make not support Frank Melton -- I'd be skeptical myself -- but his popular support can be attributed to more than voters easily falling prey to his bombastic rhetoric. OK, then tell me specifics. What are people attracted to other than anti-crime rhetoric? Really, I want to know. In fact, I've been asking people for weeks now. I'll give people credit when they answer the question.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-05-02T17:42:50-06:00
ID
86984
Comment

Dam# Donna lightn' up! Just a tongue in cheek poke at the ole' days when a good ass whackin' was the first of two you would get [if Mom found out]

Author
Ben Allen
Date
2005-05-02T17:47:00-06:00
ID
86985
Comment

Lighten up, yoself, Councilman. I was pickin' at ya, cowboy. ;-D Still wondering what in h*ll a "government school" is, though.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-05-02T17:48:16-06:00
ID
86986
Comment

"Government school" is framing language, usually for the pro-voucher crowd. "Public schools," presumably, sounds too comfy cozy. I've seen both hard-core Libertarians and religious-school voucher proponents use it. Better keep one eye cocked on this cowboy of yours. :-)

Author
Todd Stauffer
Date
2005-05-02T18:16:08-06:00
ID
86987
Comment

Ah. I thought our good local guv'ment official had spent his formative years in spy school or something.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-05-02T18:19:16-06:00
ID
86988
Comment

There's a government school on The Charles River. Maybe that's what they were talking about?

Author
sny guy
Date
2005-05-02T18:26:48-06:00
ID
86989
Comment

Found this article on Alan Lange's site: http://www.thejacksonchannel.com/news/4439744/detail.html Gist of it: Poll taken by WAPT says that 32 percent of whites and 24 percent of African Americans would ideally like to leave Jackson. Conventional wisdom says that the racial disparity should be much, much higher than that. Any thoughts? Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-05-02T21:26:48-06:00
ID
86990
Comment

Hello. Anyone who really cares about the quality of our daily newspaper in Jackson may want to read CHAIN GANG, One Newspaper Versus the Gannett Empire by Richard McCord. It is an excellent expose of the huge newspaper corporation and its sleaze tactics, how Gannett is NOT about good journalism, and is all about big profits at any cost. It is my belief that the Big corporate take-over of the media causing the downward spiral of professional news coverage and investigative journalism is the most significant factor in the corruption of our government, the decay of our culture, and the cheapening of our basic American values. Read the book, and support JFP!!

Author
Towanda
Date
2005-05-03T09:43:41-06:00
ID
86991
Comment

Agreed, Towanda. That's an excellent book about the Dark Side. Break the Gannett chains, people.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-05-03T09:45:46-06:00
ID
86992
Comment

The Rochester, N.Y., alt has a good article about problems with their Gannett paper. This is a TON of good info in this article, so be sure to read the whole thing. But here are excerpts: Though the paper's top managers says they enjoy a high degree of autonomy, the D&C is part of Gannett Company, Inc., which owns more than 100 daily newspapers in the United States and the United Kingdom, including USA Today. Gannett also owns 21 television stations, specialty publications such as Army Times and Nursing Spectrum, and Clipper, a direct-mail coupon publication. As the D&C's president and publisher David Hunke puts it: "We're an operating unit of a large multi-national corporation." Since Gannett is a publicly traded corporation, its first obligation is to its shareholders. For its stock to remain attractive to investors, Gannett needs to keep growing its profits and the business as a whole. So while all newspapers are being squeezed between the poles of profit and public service, newspapers owned by publicly held companies like Gannett are being squeezed the hardest. The Guild quotes a Merrill Lynch report putting Gannett Company Inc.'s profit at 25 percent. Hunke won't say exactly what the D&C earns, but, he says, Gannett doesn't set profit quotas for its individual newspapers. "It's a process of us agreeing first of all on our top-line revenues projections, our advertising and circulation strategies, and then the cost structure we're going to need to deliver that," he says. A Guild member insists that Gannett does dictate the profit expectations. "What they do," says that reporter, "is they'll set a profit target for each unit, each newspaper, each TV station, and then, by god, if you don't meet it the shit hits the fan." The profit target "may have come down a few pegs because of the local economy," says the Guild member, "but it's high; it's scandalously high." Several years ago, a reporter at Nashville's alternative newsweekly, the Nashville Scene, got hold of internal Gannett documents showing each title's pretax profit margin. The Democrat and Chronicle clocked in at 34.4 percent for 1996 and 34.6 for 1997. (That put the D&C well into the "above average" category, though it was by no means Gannett's most profitable paper. Papers in Binghamton and Utica scored much higher in 1997, at 44.8 percent and 43.6 percent, respectively.) Although the numbers may have decreased a bit since then, the line in 1996-1997 between above-average and below average was within a percentage point or two of Gannett's profit level today. Such profit levels are well above what Washington Post Editor Leonard Downie Jr. says newspapers need to make. Addressing a meeting of the Association of Newspaper Editors in early April, Downie said a 15 percent return ought to be sufficient, Editor and Publisher magazine reported. "That is much better than supermarkets or some other businesses," Downie said. "Most of the public is shocked when you tell them what the average profit margin is." The E&P article went on to describe Downie's criticism of owners whose papers were shrinking because they had cut resources "to maximize profit in the stock market." He didn't single out Gannett or any other chain as an example, but he did cite privately-held companies as those who still consistently perform good journalism.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-05-09T10:53:45-06:00
ID
86993
Comment

MORE ... Journalists, writes Ken Auletta, need to understand how important it is to make a profit in the news business: That's not only what pays the bills, but it's what funds more staff, more experienced staff, expensive investigations, and bureaus in outlying areas or in state capitals and Washington. But journalists also need to be able to argue against high profit margins, Auletta says. "They need to show how a 20 percent profit margin (versus, say, 15 percent) may mean cutting bone, not fat," he writes. "Shareholders want a 20 percent profit margin --- but not if in the long run it means they own a diminished asset." That's the argument the reporters, photographers, and copy editors at the Democrat and Chronicle are trying to make. The picture painted by sources in the D&C newsroom is of a paper that has largely abandoned its drive to be a comprehensive metropolitan daily in the years since the afternoon daily the Times-Union was shuttered, and its staff was folded into the D&C. (None of those sources, all non-management employees from the paper's editorial side, would speak on the record.) [...] The staffers also complain about the small size of the staff and the lack of time and resources to develop stories and go after context and depth. "Staffing is laughable," says another reporter. "There are two people working nightside in the newsroom --- a police reporter and an editor." That's down from two reporters, two editors, and two editorial clerks who regularly worked the evening shift a few years ago, the reporter says. Steve Orr, who spoke to City only in his capacity as union president, agrees with that description. "The biggest problem is just people," he says. "There just aren't enough people." Through attrition, the company has slowly but steadily diminished the number of reporters, Orr says. [...] Being responsive to readers is an admirable trait, and a time-honored tradition in newspapering. But turning the reins over to a focus group to set the newsroom agenda might compromise some of Magnuson's other goals, like being a government watchdog on behalf of the community. Low staffing levels also pose a potential problem for the paper's ability to fulfill what Magnuson describes as its watchdog responsibility. Magnuson points with pride to Steve Orr's reporting on the problems with CSX and its railway crossings after the death of a Rochester-area couple. "What you do is hire really talented people who know a good story when they see it and then ask their editor for time to drill down and cover the hell out of it," she says. "There's not a reporter in our newsroom that couldn't come to their editor or me or the managing editor, Jane Sutter, and say: 'I've got a great story here; here's how much time I need to go after it, and this is how I'm going to do it. Can I go for it?' And we're going to say, Yes." [...] Says Guild President Steve Orr: "We like the paper, but the problem we have, and I think the problem that a lot of people in the community have, is that it is not all that it can be --- that it's not as big, to put it bluntly, as it used to be or as it should be in terms of the amount of news that it has room to publish, the amount of information it can convey, the diversity of opinion that it has the ability to communicate. We think it can be better." The problem, says Orr, is that the paper's ability to "be better" is limited "by the approach that the Gannett company takes in Rochester." That approach: "To maximize the amount of money that it makes here to no particular local benefit, but --- as happens with many companies and industries all over the country --- to feed the beast, to go back into the corporate coffers." [...]

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-05-09T10:59:10-06:00
ID
86994
Comment

MORE ... Other initiatives designed to broaden the paper's appeal may not come from corporate headquarters in Virginia, but they have the same effect. They divert time and energy from newsgathering, and they can make the paper's content shallower in the process. One example is theD&C's strict guidelines calling for more mugshots and more quotes from minorities, women, and young people. One reporter relates this experience: After completing an article, "I was told at the last minute that I had to have a minority quoted in the story, and I had to have a minority's photo appear with the story. I was told to just go out on the street and ask an African American what they thought and take a picture. Then, 'just squeeze it into the story.' What message does that send to reporters?" "Overall, these are positive changes," the reporter says, "but we've gone off the deep end." On the Gannett website, the company bills itself as "The Information Company." But what does that mean? A page on the website hyping "young reader publications" (of which the D&C's Insider is one), says that twenty- and thirty-somethings "view advertising as content." If that's the case, perhaps Gannett's core business (and that of the D&C, by extension) is providing an advertising vehicle. That possibility crossed the minds of local journalists after the company selected current CEO Doug McCorkindale, "the first CEO Gannett's ever had who has never been a journalist," says Orr. "To us, it was kind of a symbolic letdown that probably says something about the directions of the company.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-05-09T11:00:37-06:00

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