No Mention of Peters in Ledger Editorial? | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

No Mention of Peters in Ledger Editorial?

OK, this is weird. The Clarion-Ledger's Jerry Mitchell reports that Ed Peters may have taken a million-dollar bribe from the Scruggs clan to get Judge Bobby DeLaughter to rule in their favor. Then, today, the Ledger writes a predictable deer-in-the-headlights editorial about how all this mess means that "the state's system begs reform." (Not mentioning had badly our "watchdog" press needs to reform.) The editorial re-states the basic facts so far, starting with an incoherent lead section:

Booneville lawyer Joey Langston's guilty plea and former State Auditor Steve Patterson agreeing to plead guilty to corruption charges is hammering home a theme begun last year with a judicial bribery scandal that Mississippi's legal system is in serious need of reform.

Subject-verb disagreement, clichés and misplaced phrases all in one sentence, oh my.

That's the not the real travesty, though. Where is Ed Peters? DeLaughter? It's long been clear that Clarion-Ledger editors are hesitant to criticize Friends of Frank like his long-time defender, Ed Peters. And they—and especially Mitchell—have such a cozy history with DeLaughter that they are probably quaking at the thought of reporting negatively about a hero they helped create.

But, come on. Their own paper reported that the former Hinds County D.A. is accused of taking a huge bribe to influence a prominent judge—and THAT doesn't make it into this editorial?

What is up?

Previous Comments

ID
116348
Comment

Donna I'm sure you have noticed by now that the CL is loyal to their "heroes". Peters and DeLaughter fall into that category. Melton was a member of that category and while he was enjoyed immunity from truthful reporting by the CL. You may recall that it was not until Melton kicked a CL reporter from one of his press conferences that the CL finally started to report the ridiculous acts of FM. Like Melton, Peters and DeLaughter are favorites of the CL. They have gone to them for quotes when they wanted to bash other public officials such as Faye Peterson, Tommie Green and Winston Kidd. Now they realize that if they report negatively about their "heroes" someone might say, "hey, aren't those the guys that the CL used to rely on for expert guidance." After all, no one wants to learn that their heroes are human, much less corrupt.

Author
clarkkent
Date
2008-01-15T14:46:26-06:00
ID
116349
Comment

Melton was a member of that category and while he was enjoyed immunity from truthful reporting by the CL. What a way with words, Clark. Of course, you would. ;-) You may recall that it was not until Melton kicked a CL reporter from one of his press conferences that the CL finally started to report the ridiculous acts of FM. I know that well. I also know that they ratcheted up their coverage *the very week" I was riding around with Melton on the Mobile Command Center. They'd had months—no, years—to do honest reporting on him. And they didn't, until someone else was doing it, and then they were being made fools of. Many people who work there say that. Like Melton, Peters and DeLaughter are favorites of the CL. They have gone to them for quotes when they wanted to bash other public officials such as Faye Peterson, Tommie Green and Winston Kidd. True. And that went on for years. It wasn't until until right before the run-off, right, that the editorial board *finally* got that they were wrong all those years about Peterson and that they were hawking the lines of Melton et all against her. By then, it was too late. The damage was done. Now they realize that if they report negatively about their "heroes" someone might say, "hey, aren't those the guys that the CL used to rely on for expert guidance." I don't get that, though. Don't they get that they can make up for some of that by doing good coverage now? They can always blame the old-timers at the paper (although the same names now show up in the archives, fully aware of old problems they will know longer report: Mitchell, Simmons, Hampton). They have no excuse.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-01-15T15:23:40-06:00
ID
116350
Comment

All this said—and this in no way excuses them—but how many people have had so many things laid out in front of them by us and others at this point that they simply will not believe. Or, worse, care about? I've shared before that a prominent, progressive-minded Jackson leader told me soon after Melton was elected that he believed some of the worst rumors about him—and still voted for him. If that is true, more is broken here than the media and the power structure. If the things being alleged about Peters are true, and we don't know, what else is out there? Do people want to know? I mean, the entire world views of many people in Jackson, especially North Jackson, could unravel here. And I'd posit that that may not be a bad outcome.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-01-15T15:27:42-06:00
ID
116351
Comment

Speaking of Ledge silliness, here is a little "breaking" news story they just posted about the "98 legislative and statewide and county candidates who failed to file a campaign finance report on time." But they didn't mention any of the candidates by name or include a PDF of the list, yet. The only commenter under it says: "Why didn't you include the list?" Methinks the Ledger criticism has moved to their own site of late. I've really noticed it since they moved to the 1.8 version recently. I don't think they made friends of their readers with the new confusing site, and it's damn clear where they're putting resources these days. And it ain't in good reporting.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-01-15T16:17:43-06:00
ID
116352
Comment

One of the main obstacles to truthful reporting about Faye Peterson and Frank Melton has been the Metro Editor, Grace Simmons. It appears that Ms. Simmons is good friends with Melton. I know for a fact that several good articles about Peterson and her administration were chopped up by Simmons. Likewise, several derogatory articles about Melton were also vetoed or watered down by her. It bothers me when any group of people would rather believe a fantasy about their leaders rather than the cold hard truth. I steadfastly believe that the majority of people would rather believe empty promises about solutions to problems as long as they (the people) don't have to get involved; rather than the truth that solutions are not simple and that the people must themselves take some responsiblity and get their hands dirty in order to solve the problems. In short, most people want a "Messiah" to solve all the ills of society for them. This frailty is what ushered in the Melton regime and what also aided Smith's election. Ofcourse the inaccurate reporting of the CL only added fuel to the flame. As far as the CL reporting the truth, there are four possible reasons for its shortcomings: 1) the CL believes that the majority of its readers are not smart enough to understand what is really going on in Jackson; 2) the readers don't want to know what's really going; 3) the CL staff isn't smart enough themselves to figure it out ; 4) or the CL is too proud to admit they have been duped by Melton, Peters and DeLaughter. Irregardless of the reason, the true victims are the citizens of Hinds County.

Author
clarkkent
Date
2008-01-15T16:24:03-06:00
ID
116353
Comment

Well, there is no question that the state-metro reporting buck stops at Simmons' desk; she is the metro-state editor. And there seems to be no secret, including in her Meridian deposition, that she has been friendly with Melton. The question becomes: Why is she leading a news desk that is so selective about what it covers? Why do they leave her there? As for your last graf, I'd argue that it's a combination of those reasons. They clearly think Mississippians are stupid, and the editors there (I've heard Simmons say this at a forum) don't think they should give readers news they don't want on situations like Melton. As for the smart-proud dilemma, well, I can't really say. But I will say this: I know as a journalist and an editor that you have to understand a topic well in order to communicate it. You study report, study, think, learn, and then distill complicated issues into compelling stories that people want to read (thus, the dulling tendencies of passives, cliches, etc.). The Ledger does an abysmal job of this. I remember the tort-reform stories; there was no indication that any reporter there actually understood the issue enough to turn it inside out. They didn't report some of the most rudimentary stuff that even other Gannett papers were covering. They completely left out the insurance-reform part of the equation in California. As a result, their articles were simply cheap advocacy for the U.S. Chamber. Did the reporters know that? I can't say. There is another way, but it is anathema to corporate media-think. If you don't know a topic well enough, admit it when you're asked. Then ask questions and go spend time getting to know the topic, allowing the intellectual chips to fall where they may. Forget about what the powers-that-be might think, the party you identify closest with, or even your boss at the paper—then fight like hell (or quit and go into PR) to get the real story into print. Take it all the way to the home office if you have an incompetent editor. Blow the whistle. Honor the tradition of journalism and its place in preserving what is special about the U.S. Instead, Ledger reporters fall prey to that fake "objectivity" excuse—pretending they're not taking a position by doing exactly that by how they choose to use their reporting time, and then pretending they're telling the whole story. THAT, friends, is the worst kind of subjectivity and bias, and it has infected corporate media across America. I've never seen it worse than Mississippi, though—and I'd posit that that is where contempt for the intelligence of Mississippians come in. It is also where we come in. They will lose that game if we don't let them win it. It's that simple.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-01-15T16:50:41-06:00
ID
116354
Comment

It will be very difficult for the CL to continue to keep this cover over these judicial wolves. It is so unfair to think that the CL gets so much pleasure, it seems, out of reporting the wrong doings of some: A man/woman who robs the convience store and makes off with 100.00 worth of cigs. Some of the folks (lawyers/judges) have made off with millions. This is a very sad day for MS. If you can't trust the people to whom the system puts at the head to ensure law, honesty and order, WHO CAN WE TRUST???????

Author
justjess
Date
2008-01-16T11:38:32-06:00

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