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Monday, March 27, 2017

Are jealousy and embarrassment the reasons Alabama's mainstream press is seven months late on the first anniversary of the "Luv Guv Scandal"?


Robert Bentley and Rebekah Mason
Alabama's largest mainstream news outlet has spent much of the past week writing about the "first anniversary" of the "Luv Guv" scandal, featuring the sexcapades of Gov. Robert Bentley and his married senior adviser, Rebekah "Home Wrecky Becky" Mason. For good measure, al.com has tossed in a few reports about the possibility Bentley will resign at any moment.

We're talking here about the Republican, "family values" governor of a Deep Red state perhaps stepping down in disgrace. The story has drawn the attention of The New York Times, The Washington Post, the New York Daily News, the Rachel Maddow Show, Esquire, GQ (classic headline: "The Love Song of Robert Bentley, Alabama's Horndog Governor") and other national news outlets, so it's obviously an important story. You would think al.com might take the time to get it right.

Alas, Alabama's mainstream journos are about seven months late to the party. The first anniversary of the "Luv Guv Scandal" was on Aug. 31, 2016. I know because I broke the story on Aug. 31, 2015. The first anniversary of stories about the misuse of public, campaign, and "dark money" funds, which could form the foundation of Bentley's resignation or impeachment, was on Sept. 1-2, 2015. I know because I broke those stories, too. (See here and here.)

Translation: Both the titillating gist and the substantive grit of the "Luv Guv" story broke on this blog, in the non-traditional press. So, why is al.com claiming the first anniversary dates from March 22, 2016, when the story actually broke seven months prior to that? Why the spate of stories such as these in recent days?

* "Robert Bentley to resign? Governor's office dispels rumors," March 17, 2017

* "Gov. Robert Bentley: A year of living scandalously," March 22, 2017

* "Gov. Robert Bentley resignation rumor: 'No intention of not doing what God called me to do,' March 23, 2017

* "Go ahead, Gov. Robert Bentley, tell your story," March 26, 2017

Reporters and editors at al.com probably would say, "Well, the story didn't really break until text messages and a recording surfaced of Bentley and Mason engaging in dirty talk on the telephone." But the texts and recordings showed that Bentley and Mason had engaged in a physical affair -- and we had reported that months earlier.

The words of al.com's own reporters -- in this case, John Archibald -- show the story did not begin with recordings. From Archibald's "Year of Living Scandalously" story:

In the span of 24 hours [Bentley's] transformation from family values grandpa to lecherous Luv Guv was under way. Even then it was impossible to foresee what a seismic year would follow.

At times the whole nation sat back and laughed as Alabama covered its face in sheer humiliation.

Earth to Archibald: The transformation of Robert Bentley, in journalistic terms, began seven months earlier than you want to admit -- and the "seismic" year already was well under way before your "news organization" took serious notice.

In fact, Archibald and colleague Chuck Dean had spent part of those seven months blasting me and my reporting. Archibald claimed my reporting "offered . . . 'sources.' Not proof or fact or anything more than smoke."

Dean, undoubtedly pissed that I had outed him as a customer of the the Ashley Madison extramarital-affairs Web site, offered this critique: "Despite no claim of infidelity in the divorce papers, the rumor traveled across platforms such as talk radio, Facebook, Twitter and in some blogs of dubious credibility purporting the unsubstantial rumor as fact." (Can someone define an "unsubstantial" rumor? I guess that is in contrast to a "substantial" rumor?)

This blog's credibility, as it turns out, could not be any higher. I actually was going after a story about the state's chief executive officer, not sniffing up Rebekah Mason's skirt like Chuck Dean. (The two were "besties" on Facebook.) By the way, Dean's journalism career seems to have gone into a nose dive. Can't remember the last time I saw one of the Chuckster's stories. Maybe they have him compiling bowling scores in the sports department's agate section -- you know, those statistics in really small type.

As for me, this post is getting dangerously close to an exercise in self-aggrandizement. (Full disclosure: I am scheduled for shoulder surgery later this week, due to excessive "patting of patient's own back.") The truth is this: The real journalistic heroes here are the anonymous sources who provided me with the details to break the "Luv Guv" story. If I deserve credit for anything, it's for developing relationships with some very smart individuals, folks who know Alabama politics inside and out. Once they started feeding me scoops on "Luv Guv" and "Home Wrecky Becky" . . .  heck, Dagwood Bumstead could have written the stories.

Perhaps that is why al.com reporters prefer to ignore that seven-month gap between the actual breaking of the story and their own acknowledgment of it. They know my sources have journalistic and investigative bona fides that far surpass their own. And they know my sources helped a one-man blog kick the ass of a fading corporate-media property.

If anyone doubts where the "Luv Guv" story began, consider these words from our post of Aug. 31, 2015:

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley engaged in an extramarital affair with his former communications director, leading First Lady Dianne Bentley to file for divorce last Friday after 50 years of marriage, sources tell Legal Schnauzer.

Rebekah Caldwell Mason, a married mother of three from Bentley's home base of Tuscaloosa, was the governor's mistress in an affair that sources say raises a number of possible legal issues--including use of the state jet and a state trooper's services for personal reasons that had nothing to do with Bentley's official role.

History has been kind to those words. The texts and recordings that surfaced in March 2016 were important; they added details about Gov. Bentley's mindset that made the public want to alternately laugh and puke. But the basics of the story were in the two paragraphs above, which we wrote seven months before anyone knew about texts or recordings.

How did that happen? It happened because of knowledgeable sources who care about justice, who care about unmasking corruption. It's about sources who know, if they contact a reporter from a corporate media outlet (especially one in Alabama), their message is likely to be ignored if it reflects poorly on a right-wing politician. Those sources know they can contact Legal Schnauzer, and their message will be heard -- and it will be taken to heart.

Reporters at al.com want you to forget about that seven-month gap in the "Luv Guv" story because it shows they are ethically compromised on stories about right-wing politicos, such as Robert Bentley, Bob Riley, Bill Pryor, Luther Strange, John Merrill, and Jeff Sessions -- to name a few.

We are not so compromised. And that has helped us attract sources that can kick al.com's ass most any day of the week.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Al.com never wanted to report this story in the first place. They wanted it to go away, much the way they ignored all the dirt under Bob Riley. Archibald only jumped on the train when Bentley became too big an embarrassment to ignore.

Anonymous said...

You kicked their ass. Of course, they don't want to be reminded of that.

Anonymous said...

@10:18 --

In that case, I'm pleased to remind them today.

Anonymous said...

This is the same bunch that had the John Merrill story and stuck it in a desk, hoping it would go away. They have no credibility.

Starter said...

I think your reporting, and the work Bill Britt has done on the Mike Hubbard story, reminds al.com reporters how irrelevant they've become.

legalschnauzer said...

Starter --

I think you are onto something. But I think al.com has helped make itself irrelevant. No one made them become a "daily newspaper" that publishes three days a week. No one made them become a right-wing noise machine. No one made them jump all over Siegelman/Langford/McNair stories while ignoring the rampant corruption tied to Riley. Those were all self-inflicted wounds, as were many others.

Anonymous said...

But . . . but . . . Bentley said he's done nothing unethical.

Anonymous said...

I want to know about the chick who went with Bentley to Washington, on Trump Inaugural.

legalschnauzer said...

@11:00 --

We're working on that.

Anonymous said...

The Bham News has been a racist outfit for years. The Hanson family is tied closely to Briarwood Church, which is a hot spot for Over the Mountain "nationalism."

Anonymous said...

Bentley still would be seen as a "family values grandpa" if it weren't for Legal Schnauzer and Donald Watkins.

Anonymous said...

Al.com probably moved ahead with the "Luv Guv" story when they got the OK from Rob Riley.

Anonymous said...

Al.com probably moved ahead with the "Luv Guv" story when they got the OK from Rob Riley.

Wouldn't they need to run that one past Big Luther too?

e.a.f. said...

now who was saying bloggers aren't journalists???? Great work! Finally the world in the U.S.A. has caught up with the work of one lone blogger and his sources! You as some of the bloggers in British Columbia, Canada do all the important work regarding politics and corruption. Long may you all type and report!

to A. 1:26 p.m. made me laugh, good line.

Anonymous said...

Associated Press has a report out today about the "one year anniversary" of the "Luv Guv" scandal. They are seven months behind on reality, too.


http://www.al.com/news/montgomery/index.ssf/2017/03/report_on_gov_robert_bentleys.html#incart_2box

legalschnauzer said...

@6:29 --

Thanks for sharing. Associated Press certainly is part of establishment journalism. AP used to actually break stories, etc., but they have cut staff to where I doubt they do much more than rewrite stuff from the MSM rags and attend the occasional news conference.

Anonymous said...

I would totally eat out Rebekah's cute box

Anonymous said...

Seems like if this blog posts allegedly newsworthy ding-a-ling pics then posting some newsworthy boobie pics would help to balance things out.

“You know what, when I stand behind you and I put my arms around you, and I put my hands on your breasts,"

Talk about get your motor running...JEEBUS!!!

Anonymous said...

Just a thought on the chick that went with the Bentley crew to the Trump inauguration. I think she ran interference for Rebekah, to spend a little "quality" time on her back grinding her cooter into old Bobby. Meanwhile, spineless John, is humping the decoy. Would be nice to know if they had adjoining rooms, making it easier to swap back and try the others partner as the evening progressed. You know they say, "Variety is refreshing"

legalschnauzer said...

@8:04 --

Did you used to write for Penthouse Forum? Hah! Not that I've actually read Penthouse Forum, but I hear it sorta has your style. Hah! Hah!

Seriously, you are getting at some pretty important questions here. How many rooms did Alabama taxpayers pay for, did Bentley have an overnight guest of some sort, and who was it?

Did the mystery woman pick up the tab for her expenses, and will her name be released eventually on the plane manifest. By law, I think it has to, but the Bentley admin doesn't exactly do things by the book.

BTW, saw in a story yesterday that Bentley says he and Becky didn't have a "physical affair" because they stopped short of intercourse. Hah! I'm not kidding. Let me see if I can find that.

A final thought: I'm not used to being the one taking the high road on stories like this. But you beat me to the low road, and you are real good at what you do, almost like a professional. Hah! Hah! and double Hah!

legalschnauzer said...

The bit about it not being a "physical affair" was in an AP story that came out yesterday:

http://staging.hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_ALABAMA_GOVERNOR?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2017-03-27-12-14-00

Here is key part:

"I made a mistake," Bentley said in a public apology to his family and state. He's denied breaking any laws and told The Associated Press it wasn't a physical affair, because they didn't have intercourse.

Anonymous said...

This is ole 8:04 just back from lunch and checking to see if my comments were published. I know this is a family blog, so I try to be careful with my words. I really didn't say much about Bobby earlier today, but I've got more respect for Jimmy Swaggert than I do for the Gov. At least he had the balls to drop down on his knees, admit what he did, and ask for forgiveness. As you probably know, his followers took him back with open arms and they are sending him checks every month. Luv Gov. gets caught with "honey" on his stinger and believes the public is stupid enough to believe he didn't stick her. Has he never heard," The truth shall set you free"

Anonymous said...

Most wives consider stink finger or eating at the Y with another woman (or man I suppose) to be substantially the same as dipping your wick in some strange.

But, for some reason, Governor Bent claims to have a different standard.