Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Fly-Over "Journalism" From The LA Times

I have a new column up at PJ Media about the LA Times' lame attempt to report on former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman's recent failed appeal of his corruption convictions.  Here's a preview:

Much of [reporter David G.] Savage's article is downright funny (although not always in a ha-ha way) if you were previously familiar with either Siegelman or Alabama.  In attempting to explain the strange creatures from this mysterious hinterland to his La-La Land readership, Savage tosses up this doozy:
Siegelman was the rare Democrat who could win in Alabama. He had also won election as Alabama's secretary of state, attorney general and lieutenant governor. But his career ended when Republican-appointed U.S. attorneys charged him with corruption.
Well, I suppose that's one way to put it.  That is, if you either (a) don't actually know anything about the political history of Alabama, or (b) are anxious to put a pro-Siegleman spin on the whole affair. 

While all of Alabama's statewide offices did flip--and severely--to the GOP in the 2010 elections, prior to that watershed year "Dirty Don" was far from rare as a Democratic officeholder.  The state legislature had been majority Democrat for an astonishing 136 consecutive years prior to 2010.  The lieutenant governor's office, which Siegelman held from 1995-1999, has had exactly two Republican occupants (the last Democrat was Jim Folsom, Jr., who served until 2011) in the state's post-Reconstruction history.

Savage also gets plain points of fact wrong regarding Siegelman's prosecution, claiming of the first of two corruption trials for Siegelman, "To the surprise of many, a jury in Birmingham acquitted him on all the counts in 2005."

But that's not what happened.  Savage didn't even get the year of Siegelman's first trial right.
The 2004 (not 2005) case never went to a jury.  The charges were summarily thrown out by now-retired Carter appointee U.W. Clemon, an old political associate of Siegelman's, and in his day one of the most nakedly-partisan Federal Judges in the country. 

Here's the whole thing.

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