The Big Picture –
By Glynn Wilson –
If the people of Alabama are really willing to depend on a pathetic monopoly news organization like al.com, the new conservative corporate entity owned by the Newhouse brothers in New York who won the newspaper circulation wars in the last half of the 20th century but hide out and don’t promote themselves like the libertarian Koch brothers, I had decided a few years ago to walk away. Sometimes you have to simply decide people get what they deserve.
Like supporting a non-government that is killing thousands of citizens a year for refusing billions in federal aid for health care. Like voting in a government that is willing to spend BP money for “economic development” that is supposed to be for “environmental restoration” by building a hotel-convention center in Gulf Shores and refurbishing the old governor’s mansion which hasn’t been used in decades.
But while wintering in Mobile again this year — and the anonymous attacks started back up against me personally from people who learned what a blog and anonymous comments are from this despicable excuse for a news outfit — I started paying a little bit of attention to Alabama. I had figured it was a lost cause, at least for another four years. Perhaps in 2020, about the time the newspapers stop publishing for good in print, that’s when enough of the old racists will have died off for someone with a brain to get elected governor. I still think that’s the case.
But it is very little sweat off my balls to step in and counter a hypocritical piece of dog shit that passes for understanding now making the rounds on Facebook and Twitter.
The new god of blogging in my home state, John Archibald, who is able to keep a little circulation coming to the newspapers in Mobile, Birmingham and Huntsville with three little 600-word columns a week, got my attention the other day with this Twitter headline.
“Why Mike Hubbard is like Don Siegelman.”
Archibald said — and I’m not making this up, you can Google it yourself – is that “He’s (Mike Hubbard, the corrupt Republican Speaker of the state House, is) just like those he ridiculed when he himself staked a claim to public service.”
“Like convicted Democratic former Gov. Don Siegelman.”
“They both refuse to acknowledge fault,” Archibald claimed. “They both refuse to accept responsibility. They point and blame, because they always used government as a way to service themselves privately instead of using it provide the public service they promised.”
Now I understand Archibald got all his information about the Siegelman case from two former disgraced reporters from the Birmingham News (Brett Blackledge) and the Mobile Press-Register (Eddie Curran). So that’s all he knows about the case. He never read the New York Times or Time magazine or Harper’s magazine or watched “60 Minutes” or MSNBC or read my stuff in The Nation magazine or The Locust Fork News-Journal.
And, he’s just a blogger-columnist, so he never came anywhere close to gracing the inside of any courthouse in Birmingham or Montgomery to find out what was really going on, you know, to actually do some reporting on the case for himself.
But as someone who covered the Scrushy trial in Birmingham for the New York Times and wrote about the Siegelman case for five solid years, including the definitive version of the story for The Nation, it is easy to take issue with his opinion about this.
Nobody, not even the Bush appointed U.S. attorneys who prosecuted Siegelman, not the ousted federal judge Mark Fuller, not even Blackledge or Curran ever alleged that Don Siegelman personally profited from his office. He was tried and eventually corruptly convicted in a political prosecution for appointing Scrushy to a hospital regulatory board he had already served on for three terms under two previous Republican governors allegedly in exchange for two $250,000 contrubutions to help pay off the debt of the organization formed to try and pass an education lottery.
None of it ever went into Siegelman’s pocket. No one ever even claimed it did.
If Archibald is so intent on people acknowledging fault, he should apologize and acknowledge that the Newhouse papers got that story wrong all along.
His predecessor on the editorial page finally after many years came back and apologized for the role the Birmingham News played in downplaying the rights of black people in the 1950s and ‘60s, and for not covering that story. It took the New York Times and CBS News to get that story out to the world. My good friend Spider Martin for years told the story of how he had film destroyed by the staff at The News when he tried to cover Bull Conner’s dogs and firehoses in Birmingham. He recently got famous long after his death for the use of the photos in the movie Selma.
But it took the New York Times again to tell people the real story of how the The Birmingham News, owned by the Newhouse family, which also sponsored extensive surveillance of local citizens, was in on a plot to kill the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth.
I wonder if Archibald ever read that story? If so, he didn’t write about it or share it with his readers. True, there’s nothing funny about it.
And he tries to pass himself off as a liberal and an environmentalist? His funny little column fits right into the Newhouse alley for “short, snappy, funny” news. That seems to make them lots of money.
Does Archibald sleep at night saying this crazy stuff — for money? If so, I don’t see how.
The people of Alabama should wake the fuck up and smell the damn coffee. You are being lied to for entertainment and profit. Rise up.
If the people want to fund a new media organization, get in touch. I might be willing to give it a go.
© 2016, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.