April 21, 2006
The Chattanooga Times editorial page blasts Littlefield's "defamatory" comments
I'm assuming that this is by Harry Austin, but it doesn't matter. The opinion page on the left just comes right out and says what many of us were likely thinking when we heard or read Mayor Ron Littlefield's disparaging remarks about TFP reporter Michael Weber.
Here's what I wrote last week:
I'm starting to become really uncomfortable with the mayor's tone and his barely submerged verbal signals.
And here is the far more direct approach preferred by the Times opinion writer:
[I]t is not a reporter’s, or this newspaper’s, pursuit of facts that is unprofessional. Rather, it is Mayor Littlefield’s defamatory public statements and his egregious reference to Mr. Weber’s work "in Brooklyn" (Mr. Weber worked once at Newsday in New York) that are wholly unprofessional and contemptible. That slur can be read both as anti-Yankee and anti-Semitic, since attacks on the Jewish community in New York traditionally referred to the acts of people "in Brooklyn."
Mayor Littlefield’s action managed, in a single stroke, to offend all responsible journalists here, to draw coverage to the anti-democratic attitude and thin skin of Chattanooga’s mayor, and to demonstrate his bias against northerners and Jews.
There's more to this story, as of today. A commenter (#4 on this article) on the Pulse website suggests that Tom Griscom really failed to stand up for his journalists in the face of these attacks, and that he even did some "research" on the person with whom he was corresponding.
Tom Griscom's claim that he is just seeking the facts in Mayor Littlefield's despotic action is belied by a reply to an email I sent Griscom the day after this story broke. In his reply he rose to Mayor Littlefield's defense, asserting that the Mayor never said Michael Weber was "from Brooklyn" but had said that he was "a northerner." [...] I challenged his assertion, citing press reports from Chattanooga, and received another reply that noted that since I was teaching in Columbus (never mentioned in my email) I lacked access to all relevant information.
So at the same time Griscom was "collecting the facts," he was researching the backgrounds of those who challenged him and inaccurately defending the Mayor to critics via the Internet. No wonder the TFP staff is demoralized by his dithering.
This thing ain't over, y'all.
Government | By joe lance | 03:54 PM