Apparently, popular sports talk show host Bo Bounds of Jackson has noted another disclosure lapse at the Clarion-Ledger. In a column written by Josh Peters in USA TODAY, veteran Clarion-Ledger columnist Billy Watkins and two others were listed as “contributing” to the Peters article which essentially asked the question, “Who is Hugh Freeze?” The conflicting perceptions are of a football coach who wore his religion on his sleeve or a flawed coach who cheating in recruiting and possibly cheated in his personal life. Billy Watkins of the Clarion-Ledger is the brother of W. G. Watkins, Freeze’s personal attorney. Nothing really surprises me anymore about the state’s largest newspaper that has also been very shallow in its coverage of the NCAA allegations against Ole Miss and the resignation of Freeze. (Editor’s note: In this original post, I said that Watkins had written several columns about the NCAA investigation of Ole Miss. That was not correct and for that, I apologize to Mr. Watkins. My next post will have additional comments about this issue.)
Mississippi neighbor as the next President of the United States?New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu called darkhorse and longshot to be Democratic presidential nominee in 2020 LOL
The Big Easy or easy to get mugged?
Once upon a time, there were three ambitious governors in the neighboring states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas. All three were considered hot national political property, all three were Democrats, and all three had degrees from Ivy League schools. There was also no question that Buddy Roemer in Louisiana, Ray Mabus in Mississippi, and Bill Clinton thought they were all going to be President of the United States. Roemer finished third in his re-election campaign for governor, Kirk Fordice derailed Mabus’ reelection bid in Mississippi leaving Clinton as the only one left with presidential ambitions. Interestingly enough, Clinton’s well-known reputation as a womanizer was expected to sidetrack his ambition. I remember being on a commercial flight to Washington, D.C. with Mabus and his security guard when Mabus openly talked about Clinton’s female problems. Mabus thought Clinton would not overcome the problem.Not long after that, but before Clinton won the Democrat nomination to oppose George H.W. Bush, I had a talk with Republican Haley Barbour. Barbour told me he hoped Democrats would nominate Clinton to oppose Bush for the same reasons cited by Mabus. They were
Condoleezza Rice: “Don’t sanitize history by taking down monuments”
The Washington Examiner recently reported that former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice criticized efforts to tear down monuments to Confederate leaders because she doesn’t believe in sanitizing history. The first black woman to serve as secretary of state told the newspaper, “I am a firm believer in ‘keep your history before you’ “. Rice added, “When you start wiping out your history, sanitizing your history to make you feel better, it’s a bad thing.” She added our nation’s founders should be viewed in the context of their time instead of through the prism of modern values. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were slave owners, but the United States is the greatest nation on earth because of these founders. Robert E. Lee was a great American despite being the commander of the Confederate Army. Of course, the good sense exhibited by Rice will not impress Mayor Mitch Landrieu, a Democrat, who pandered to black New Orleans voters by leading the charge, with approval from the city council, to take down the statues of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee, P.G.T. Beauregard and Confederate States President Jefferson Davis. Instead of taking down those statutes, Landrieu would better serve New Orleans if he did something about the rampant violent crime in the city. If you are waiting to read the comments of Rice in the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, Daily Mississippian, Mississippi Today or the Times Picayune in New Orleans, you will have a long wait. Mississippi Today is an interesting case. Alan Lange, the owner of the political site Y’all Politics, wrote a column taking Mississippi Today to task for being a “tax shelter extraordinaire”. He ridiculed the news site’s claim to be nonpartisan. I agree. Mississippi Today is about as nonpartisan as The New York Times, Washington Post and MSNBC.
A slow news day or just another chance to take a shot at Trump?
The headline on Jerry Mitchell’s story in the Jackson Clarion-Ledger said, “Comey leaves LA in a Mississippi jet.” And that’s a big deal? After being fired by President Trump as FBI
More than 30 years ago, I was editor and publisher of a weekly newspaper on the Gulf Coast that was owned by Gannett. A prominent citizen and former mayor, who had lost his re-election bid, died. I had to write the customary obituary editorial for the late mayor. I was never his fan. He was often nasty and mostly rude to the city aldermen that served with him. I decided not to be a hypocrite and the best I could say in my editorial was that he was a man who very much cared for the city of Ocean Springs. Earlier this week I recalled the mayor when I learned Bill Minor had passed at the age of 93. I was sad to hear of his death, and there is no question Minor made many contributions to Mississippi during his long career. After someone texted me Tuesday morning about Minor’s death, I went to the Clarion-Ledger online edition where I saw the headline on reporter Jerry Mitchell’s story. The headline was, “Bill Minor remembered as a model for journalists.” From my perspective, I would never consider Minor as a “model for journalists.” His left-wing politics was one thing, but I objected far more to his liberal bias and his frequent carelessness with the facts. During my days as an editor and syndicated political columnist, I was once on a panel at Ole Miss with Minor, the late Norma Fields of the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, and a TV anchor from Jackson. Every member of the panel was asked who they were supporting in the race for governor that was taking place at the time. I went last, but Minor and the two other journalists righteously wrapped themselves in a self-serving cloak of objective journalism. They refused to tell the students who they would vote for in the upcoming election. When it was my time to answer, I told the students not only would I tell them the name of the candidate for whom I would vote, I proceeded to tell them, correctly, who each of the other journalists supported. An outraged Minor then chased me across campus after the panel ended and demanded to know why I answered how I did.
A bitter man
Following another speaking appearance before a large group of students at Ole Miss, I was approached by a young black student. She told me she had heard Minor speak a few weeks
Pettus column – “New Yuletide lyrics to mark Trump regime” – Over the line and tasteless
Gary Pettus is a regular contributing columnist for the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. For many years, Pettus was a member of the newspaper’s staff. At the end of his Clarion-Ledger columns, it notes “Gary Pettus is a Jackson-based journalist and contributing columnist.” It should also be noted Pettus is a state employee and works in the public affairs office at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Why is this relevant? On Dec. 19, Pettus wrote a column entitled, “New Yuletide lyrics to mark Trump regime.” He suggests revised lyrics for a very popular Christmas season song. Pettus’ revision is entitled, “It’s the Most Trumper-ful Time of the Year.” Here are just a few of the comment Pettus labeled as the “new code” for president-elect Trump: “There’ll be few books for learning, Cause most will be burning – good times for bigots – Muslims they’re jailing, Latinos expelling – great times for the sociopath. – It’s beginning to look just like the Third Reich – A swastika there and here – Christians kissing a tyrant’s rear, Burning churches all aglow – It’s going to look like Nagasaki August of ’45 – The prettiest sight to behold is not traffic on the road, Cause no one is left alive.” The “lyrics” of the Pettus column go on with more lack of taste, but I think you get the idea about the column. Hillary Clinton calling Trump supporters “deplorables” is mild compared to Pettus tossing out terms like book burners, bigots and writing about swastikas and the Third Reich. Because the anti-Trump column crosses the line, it is logical to ask other questions. Why was the column published in the Clarion-Ledger in the first place? The obvious answer is that the executive editor of the newspaper, Sam Hall, is a Democrat partisan. Unlike most editors, Hall probably didn’t bat an eye if he reviewed the column by Pettus. Pettus has taken other cheap shots at president-elect Trump. Perhaps even more significant is he has taken similar shots at Gov. Phil Bryant and Republicans in general. Reminder: Seven of the eight statewide officials in our state are Republicans and the GOP has solid majorities in both the state Senate and House. Another reminder: The Senate and House make appropriations for state government and Gov. Bryant signs the appropriation bills.
Biting the hand that feeds you in a tasteless way
The next obvious question is if I raise an issue about Pettus being a state employee, what about Charles Mitchell and Sid Salter, two other former journalists who are state
In a previous post on May 16, I stated my opinion that Sam Hall, former executive director of the Mississippi Democratic Party, now executive editor of the Jackson Clarion.Ledger, is still a partisan hack for Democrats. That opinion was based on a lot of things that I seen in the left-leaning newspaper. In this case my comments were based on a particular commentary of Hall in which he wrote that there was a “bankruptcy of leadership” among statewide officials and the Mississippi Legislature. In a Tweet, Hall responded, “Partisan hack calls me a partisan hack. Irony lost on him.” Maybe so, but there is a big difference between writing a blog of political commentary and being the executive editor of the state’s largest newspaper. Hall’s comments also confirmed something I have known for many years. Journalists talk about politicians being thin-skinned, but editors and columnists like to dish it out but don’t like it when they get it back in return.
Liberal campus Gestapo leads anti-free speech march
Jason Riley is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a columnist for The Wall Street Journal. In the May 4 WSJ, Riley wrote a column entitled, “I Was Disinvited on Campus.” His column is certainly worth reading. It should also be noted Riley is not only a conservative, he is a black conservative. In April, Riley was invited by a professor to speak at Virginia Tech this fall. Last week his invitation to speak was rescinded because the department head of the professor who invited Riley objected to the speaking invitation. Other VA Tech faculty also objected to Riley being allowed to speak. So much for another case of liberal tolerance, support for free speech, and open mindedness to other views. Riley’s entire column should be read, but I particularly found interesting his comments about a book written by two political scientists. The book is entitled, “Passing on the Right.” The research of the two professor shows that in the humanities and social sciences, about 18 percent of college professors identify themselves as Marxists. That is nearly double the percentage of professors that describe themselves as Republicans. Does this really surprise anybody? (Note: Because of widespread national coverage by print and broadcast media, Virginia Tech has backtracked and now re-invited Riley to speak on their campus.)
Contributions and enrollment fall at the University of Missouri
Most people remember the turmoil at the University of Missouri when the inmates took over the asylum. Mob rule was the order of the day when students demanded the resignation, and got it, of the school’s president and chancellor. They were joined by 32 Mizzou football players who said they would not practice and would also boycott games until the president and chancellor stepped down. It is now worth noting that two Missouri dormitories have closed because of decreasing enrollment and contributions to the university have taken a nosedive. Should we be surprised?
Tea Party’s circular firing squad takes aim again
The Tea Party sends out frequent emails asking people to join that organization or make contributions. Currently, one of their hot button issues is to seek money to help them
Former ED of state Dems still pushes the party line
As I have mentioned before and most people are aware, Jackson Clarion.Ledger executive editor Sam Hall previously served as executive director of the Mississippi Democratic Party. During his tenure as editor, Hall has made it pretty obvious he intends to make the state’s largest newspaper an organ of the Democrat Party. The headline of Hall’s Sunday column was “Bankruptcy of leadership among state leaders.” It was a huge headline on the front page of the Perspectives section. I agree with a couple of text messages and emails I received about Hall’s column. One comment was do you think the Gannett newspaper would ever hire a former executive director of the Mississippi Republican Party? I think the answer is pretty obvious although I don’t know of any former EDs of the Mississippi GOP who have a journalistic background. Even if one of them had very impressive newspaper credentials, I think the answer is again obvious. During the most recent legislative session, Gov. Phil Bryant, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, Speaker Philip Gunn and the Mississippi Legislature did not meet the policy expectations of Hall. One person suggested if that is the case, Hall should run for political office. During many years in journalism, I knew many reporters who fashioned themselves to being smarter and more capable to govern than election officials. Very few took that opportunity to run for elected office. Another comment I received said that Hall is “nothing more than a partisan hack.” I fully agree. Also, it is clear the newspaper is out of step with many readers as The Clarion.Ledger continues to lose circulation. Perhaps even m0re interesting regarding the newspaper’s credibility is the circulation it claims in the Mississippi Press Association’s Newspaper Directory does not match up with the newspaper’s annual report it is required to file with the United States Postal Service. So much for objective journalism.
You may have heard about the crushing economic blow that Mississippi suffered last week. The Portland, Maine City Council voted to ban all non-essential travel by city employees to Mississippi and North Carolina. The action was prompted by what they claim, notice I say claim, that the two states have laws that discriminate against the gay and transsexual communities. Can our state survive this massive ec0nomic blow?
Hysteria continues over North Carolina’s “Bathroom Bill”
Here is the bottom line on the legislation in North Carolina that has created a national uproar, threats to boycott the state and on and on. Remember, this law does not tell any private business what kind of bathrooms they must have in their buildings. It is only directed at public bodies that would force transgender bathrooms. Do you want a person
Clarion.Ledger got it right; besides being a disgrace, it is “legalized bribery”
The 2016 regular session of the Mississippi Legislature recently adjourned. The women and children of the metro Jackson area are safe for the time being. I think very few objective observers would give an overall high grade to legislators for this past session. However, there is no greater embarrassment than the fact that legislators left Jackson when the House shot down campaign finance reform legislation. The Clarion.Ledger’s outstanding investigative series correctly called the current campaign finance laws “legalized bribery.” The series reported that elected officials spent campaign money on cars, clothes, apartments, expensive boots, personal trips out of state, tax bills, insurance, home improvements and no telling what else. Most contributions to these campaign accounts used as a second income for public officials came for lobbyists or other special interests. Prior to the House refusing to pass campaign finance reform, the legislation unanimously passed the Senate. Don’t get the idea that the Mississippi Senate is full of ethical angels. There are many state senators who use campaign accounts for personal expenses but they apparently fell in line when the measure was supported by Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and the publicity from the newspaper’s investigative series. A day before campaign finance reform died in the House, it was reported the House was going to negotiate with the Senate to come up with some kind of reform. It didn’t happen. What’s even worse is when the House killed the reform measure, they did it on a voice vote. While it only took a small number of House members, 13, to call for a recorded vote, only a couple members had the guts enough to stand up and call for the vote. You can also blame the weak leadership of House Speaker Philip Gunn for campaign reform dying in the House. Gunn is another legislator who apparently spends campaign funds for personal use. Comments by a number of House members were an embarrassment to that body. Jeff Smith (R-Columbus), a powerful committee chairman, said the Legislature should police their own campaign finances. That’s bad policing. According to political editor Geoff Pender, similar anti-reform comments were made by John Moore (R-Brandon), Mark Baker (R-Brandon), John Hines (D-Greenville) and Omeria Scott (D-Laurel). And note that Baker has also been reported as having an interest in running for state attorney general. That’s sad. Veteran Rep. Bill Denny (R-Jackson) said campaign finance reform needs to be studied. Why does something that is so wrong need to be studied?
Some would suggest that the most recent legislative session was one of the most partisan in recent history with Republicans having a supermajority in both the Senate and House.
A Reaction Of Near Hysteria Nationally And By The Press
Mississippi’s “Religious Freedom” Law (HB 1523) passed overwhelming by the Senate and House and was signed into law by Gov. Phil Bryant: The legislation was useless, worthless, dumb and should never have been passed and signed into law. Passage of HB 1523 could be described as political pandering. Yet, what is almost worse is the near hysterical reaction to the law by many people, various organizations, the LGBT community, national corporations and most of all, the press. Some of the same corporations that have spoken out against HB 1523, often with indignation and outrage, are companies that do business in countries that stone homosexuals. On the front page of the daily newspaper serving the Gulf Coast, it was headlined that a “No Hate In Our State” rally is planned in Gulfport. The law has nothing to d0 with “hate” and no supporter of the legislation has advocated hate of anybody. On Tuesday we learned that John Grisham and other Mississippi writers (however, Grisham lives in Virginia) released a statement calling for the repeal of HB 1523. Grisham and the others will have as much success with this line of advocacy as they did with their calls to change the state flag. In the same Clarion.Ledger article, a booking agent expressed concerned about gay friends finding a place to stay in Mississippi. Let me assure him, there is not one hotel or motel in the state that will ask if a person is gay when they make a reservation. No one dining out at any restaurant will be asked if they are gay before they are seated. The statement by Grisham and the other writers also talked about the “rhetoric of hate.” There is no rhetoric of hate in the HB 1523 or from those legislators who supported the bill.
North Carolina was the first state to get hit with the political correctness of the LGBT agenda. That state passed a law that prevents cities and counties from forcing businesses to give transgender people access to the bathroom of their choice. It is commonly called the “bathroom bill.” Do you really want a person who is biologically a male to have access to a restroom for women and female children? Of course, the governor of New York banned state employee travel to North Carolina, and now added Mississippi. This is the same governor that is promoting travel and trade with communist Cuba and its brutal regime that jails opponents left and right.
Pay Pal cancelled a major expansion in North Carolina because of the bathroom bill. PayPal might want to explain why its international headquarters is in Singapore where people engaged in private consensual same-sex acts can face two years in jail. It might also want to explain why it announced in 2012 that it would open offices in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). While North Carolina placed some common sense limits on public bathrooms, the UAE reportedly jails gay and transgender people. On the subject of New York, it is laughable that Mississippi ex-pats living in NYC cancelled the annual Mississippi Picnic in Central Park citing the passage of HB 1523 and expected protestors if the event was held as it has been for almost 40 years. Not so laughable: the Clarion.Ledger’s making a big deal of the comments about HB 1523 by the gay brother of a state senator who voted for the bill. On Tuesday, the daily Clarion.Ledger email to subscribers noted that “Lawmakers call for do-over on religious objection bill” and that first-term Rep. Jay Hughes of Oxford was calling a press conference on the issue. Not much chance of a do-over of a bill already signed into law. When he grows up, Hughes wants to be Nancy Pelosi. I am also confident that a lot of people who are outraged about HB 1523 have not read the full bill. Earlier this week I had lunch with a friend who agreed with me that the bill should not have been passed by the legislature. On the other hand he noted the hypocrisy of some opponents of the legislation. He told some people opposed to HB 1523 to read the entire bill and then let him know why they had problems with it. He added that they should read the bill and not go by what liberal Clarion.Ledger executive editor Sam Hall and others say what the bill says. He didn’t hear back from them. There is one positive side to the uproar over HB 1523. Because of the Clarion.Ledger’s own hysteria and obsession with HB 1523, at least the constant barrage of change the state flag stories has slowed.
Let’s be clear on one thing. The current LGBT issues and HB 1523 are not the same thing as the 50s and 60s in Mississippi. Those were days of segregation, racism and violence that will always be a terrible mark on our state’s history. Colin Powell had it right when he was chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff and Bill Clinton pushed his “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Although Powell has since changed his tune on gay marriage, at the time Powell said, “Skin color is a benign, nonbehavioral characteristic. Comparison of the two (black civil rights and gay rights) is a convenient but invalid argument.”
Not everyone who wanted Dan Jones removed as chancellor at Ole Miss wants to wave Rebel flags, bring back Colonel Reb, or sing Dixie. From the drum beating on the left you wouldn’t know that. There are three quick assumptions that can be made about the Dan Jones situation at Ole Miss: 1.) With the lopsided college board vote of 9-2 not to renew Jones’ contract as chancellor, there must be a strong justification for the vote. 2.) Jones did not make a graceful exit after the board voted not to renew his contract. His statement and actions since then have done nothing but harm the University of Mississippi and add fuel to the fire of the messy divorce. 3.) The coverage by the press, especially The Jackson Clarion-Ledger, has had a lopsided, pro-Jones bias and has also been harmful to the school.
In most cases it should not matter if a college president is liberal or conservative. In the case of Chancellor Dan Jones it does matter. Jones is an avowed liberal and those on the political left in Mississippi have rushed to support Jones. His support has not been just from those left-of-center, but liberals have certainly been leading the pro-Jones charge.
Clear pro-Jones press bias
An interesting point was made to me Friday morning. After the Mississippi Department of Corrections scandal and other state contracting problems, there was a lot of outrage at The Clarion-Ledger and other newspapers. Why haven’t we seen similar outrage about the contracting problems at UMMC?