Governor of Goat Hill Presentation Summary
On Friday, Oct. 29, I made a presentation at the National Press Club in Washington called, "The New York Times Couldn't Find Alabama on a Map: An Examination of the Mis-Coverage of the Siegelman case in the National Media." (For more on this, see, EddieCurran.Com)
The trip and presentation, which I'll be writing about soon, was self-financed. I wasn't, for example, sponsored or invited by anyone to make the presentation.
Attendees were provided a booklet containing background information on various arguments I wanted to make. (I hope to have a video of the presentation in the not too distant future.)
Below is a rather cheeky summary of the presentation contained in the booklet:
On May 21, 2007, small-town, northeast Alabama lawyer Dana Jill Simpson drove across the state border to Rising Fawn, Ga., to sign an affidavit that was filed, not in a court of law, but with Don Siegelman and Richard Scrushy. From there, magically, it landed on the laps of reporters at the New York Times and Time magazine.
In what may be one of the most laughable examples of journalistic judgment at levels that high and regarded, the folks at the Times and Time reported the affidavit as if it were, well, true. Their similar stories came out on the same day.
Thus was born what I will call, to play it safe and avoid offense, “The Hoax that Suckered Some of the Top Names in Journalism."
If Hollywood's listening, think comedy. Phyllis Diller is too old, but in her day would have made a great Jill Simpson. Maybe a Roseanne Barr comeback vehicle? What about Will Ferrell as Siegelman? Rip Torn -- if he can get clean -- as Scrushy? Steve Carell as "60 Minutes" host Scott Pelley?
The mind spins with ideas. Above all, a chance for "liberal" Hollywood to spike the left and get the right out of its hair for a few days.
Most of Simpson's affidavit regards an outlandish tale about a 2002 gathering in Scottsboro, Ala., of the Ku Klux Klan. Far better known is her claim, made at affidavit's end, to have been privy to conversations in which a fourth K -- Karl Rove -- was revealed as directing the Justice Department to prosecute former Democratic Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman.
What’s remarkable – no, inconceivable – is that the scandal planting Rove behind the Siegelman case originated and continues to be rest entirely on the word of this Alabama Zelig.
Understand this: Karl Rove had nothing to do with the prosecution of Don Siegelman.
On this one, at least, Machiavelli is innocent.
And that "60 Minutes" report, the one where Simpson went on and expanded her story to include the preposterous claim that she conducted "intelligence" for Rove in Alabama; and that one of those assignments entailed following Siegelman for months trying to photograph the guv in the nude having extramarital sex?
I'm telling you, the comic possibilities for Hollywood are endless. For the reporters, editorial writers at the New York Times, Time, "60 Minutes," and on and on, we'll need lots of actors who can do deadpan serious and not too bright.
I apologize for the lack of respect. It's just that when one compares the evidence with the reporting -- including more than 40 Times' pieces, editorial and news side, about or remarking on the Siegelman case -- the only possible responses are laughter or scorn.
I choose laughter.
I'm making this presentation for two reasons: I'm going to be in Washington for the weekend anyway. I busted my tail on this book and figure I'll give it one final shot to try to get someone on a national level to take a look at the book or, in any event, the coverage by many in the national media responsible for the horrid journalism that allowed Siegelman to re-invent himself as a victim of a right-wing conspiracy at the highest levels of the American government.
I will also argue that this is worse than the Jayson Blair scandal. Blair invented situations that didn't exist, put himself in places he never went, and plagiarized like a lazy junior high student.
Blair, though, had little or no impact on the public's perception of any issues. While failures of oversight permitted him to go on as long as he did, ultimately, he was the only truly guilty party.
The coverage of the Jill Simpson-Siegelman-Rove matter involved dozens of reporters and editors/editorial writers at the New York Times, at Time magazine, at "60 Minutes," at Harper's, and too many other news outlets to count, especially if one includes the liberal blogdom. The much-respected Talking Points Memo produced some really awful stuff.
I dare anyone to attend my presentation Friday and walk away believing that Karl Rove had the first thing to do with Siegelman's prosecution, and, as a result, to have anything but scorn -- or laughs! -- for the melodramatic gibberish spewed by the "powers that be."