Thursday, June 02, 2005

Bump, Bump, Bump... Another One Bites the Dust

The news broke this evening. At the regular meeting of the Shelby County Democratic Party tonight, disgraced State Senator Kathryn Bowers resigned as party Chair. What I didn't know was that her term was set to expire in just six weeks anyway! More here and here, though all three stories are essentially identical.

That she went ahead and resigned anyway, leaving a mark on her tenure, shows she was either subject to a lot of pressure or didn't feel she could win a fight. To me, for a renowned scrapper to cave, that's indicative of her awareness of the strength of the case against her. I've heard that the video evidence is damning.

What's amusing in this is to compare two versions of what Bowers said to the party in resigning. From WPTY/24, it's:
"I don't want the problems that are besetting me or before me right now to interfere in anyway with the progress of this party because that is the most important thing to me,"
And from WMC/5, it's:
"I am insisting that I do not want in any way whatever it is the problem's that's besetting me, that's befalling me right now, to interfere with the progress of this party,"
Presumably both reporters were sitting in the same room with her, taking notes and with video cameras. Remember this when the mainstream media wants to criticise bloggers for accuracy.

Jackson Baker of the Memphis Flyer was there and filed a fuller report. He says:
The diminutive legislator was politely received and was interrupted several times during her remarks by applause that ranged from perfunctory to enthusiastic. Some did not applaud at all. The mixed reaction probably owed more to pre-existing factionalism on the committee than to specific feeling about her legal situation.
That's our Jackson, always willing to cut some slack to the Democrats. Baker looks into that division, its factions and the likely coming warfare over control of the local party. It boils down to Ford vs. Herenton. Given the Fords' fortunes of the past weeks, it's either going to be lopsided or bloody.

Thaddeus Matthews was also there. He writes:
When she entered the room some clapped, some stood,some remained seated, and some even booed.
Both Baker and Matthews note that Bowers claimed starting a regular SCDP newspaper as one of her accomplishments. In line with the indictments, allow me to tell new readers that the editor of that paper, Professor of Literature Dr. Roger Easson of Christian Brothers University, was caught by Half-Bakered plagiarising an article from the Internet! There are links to comparisons of the texts involved, so you can decide for yourself. More on that episode here. Bowers herself used that misleading plagiarised article for a story under her own name in the North Shelby Times. Bower's work isn't plagiarised, but derivative of Easson's work, which is.

We're now 1-3-1 in the standings. One indictee is still in her elected office: State Senator Kathryn Bowers. There are three resignations: Ford from the Senate; Dixon from the Wharton administration; and Bowers from the SCDP chairmanship. Lastly we have Barry Myers, who has no elected office but was tipped to run for Kathryn Bowers' old House seat. Given that Dixon and Bowers were expected to boost him, we can safely assume Myers' plans have been scotched.

And the next inning is due to start any day now....

AFTER MIDNIGHT, WHEN THE Commercial Appeal FINALLY POSTS UPDATE Had to wait for the CA to update their site at midnight. They have an even longer and more detailed report than Baker's, though it has some problems.
As the meeting began and she arrived, half of those in the room applauded and stood. The other half sat in silence.
That's the third description of the reaction of the crowd and it differs from the other two! Just think, in the old days, this would have been the definitive version, too.

Not only that, but we get the third version of what Bowers is supposed to have said:
"Regardless of what my personal situation is, I am not going to let that stand in the way of the progress of this party."
Not one of these versions closely tracks the others. This is the vaunted superior fact-checking and accuracy of the mainstream media? This one reads like the "what she meant to say" version.

The article ends with three paragraphs about Cherry Jones, who is only identified as "one of" several candidates to replace Bowers, but not by her faction nor her relation to Gale Jones Carson, who was mentioned earlier in the article. Both are Herenton partisans. Joe Young gets no mention at all.

And here I thought there was a neutral, fair, objective and balanced version of events that could be reported! That's what newspapers have been telling us for decades now. And here we have three moderately different versions, two by veteran reporters supposedly trained and certified in the guild arts.


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