Saturday, August 14, 2004

Another View of the County Pension Mess

Very behind-the-scenes column from Jackson Baker in the current Memphis Flyer about the Jones / Thorp / Lanier mess. unfortunately, Baker repeatedly makes "wink, wink, nudge, nudge" remarks like these:
Mayor A C Wharton gave a convincing representation on Wednesday of a man shocked, shocked at the perfidy of two trusted aides who, he indicated, had connived to shuffle papers and trim corners....

Well, A C certainly looked convincing in his profession of shock Wednesday and seemed for all the world to be close to tears.
In all honesty, I hate these kinds of teasing hints. If he knows something, say it! If he suspects something, say that. But to play these "There's stuff I know, but I can't tell you, sorry." games is just insulting to average Memphians. Time and again, I encounter folks downtown, in television or print news, or in radio who say that this or that breaking story has been circulating for months, or that there are stories they've been hearing but "can't" report. We need to change that.

Not to pick on Jackson specifically, but as good a summation and inside-view as his short column is, it also reeks of the cozy collegiality that exists between many of the news reporters and editors in this town and the officials they are tasked with covering. I despise that. It may be commonplace; it may be the way it's always been. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't fight it. It's why this blog got started -- to share with you what the well-connected already know. It's what the blogger at Memphis Media does and I welcome his posts. Peggy Phillip does something similar, if more circumspectly, at her blog.

I've often said here that the Flyer's John Branston seems to know a whole lot more than he ever reports. The same goes for Jackson Baker. They should do their duty to Memphians and Shelby Countians and share it with us.

How can voters make informed decisions when information that is vital to understanding our government and the people who run it is held back from us, or worse, shielded deliberately?

It's time to begin afflicting the comfortable, guys. Long past time.

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