Saturday, October 20, 2007

Pravda of Montgomery

Some fascinating, and disturbing, stuff is coming out in the Montgomery Advertiser today. Leave it to Scott Horton, of Harper's, to put it all in perspective.

First comes a feature story on U.S. attorney Leura Canary that is perhaps the most nauseating puff piece I've ever read in a significant news publication. That this article would come out when serious charges of corruption are being leveled at Canary's office is an embarrassment to the journalism profession.

The Advertiser story presents Canary's family in the most glowing terms. But Horton helpfully points out that her family has a dark side that is not covered in reporter Kenneth Mullinax' story.

Turns out that Leura Canary's uncle was Si Garrett, perhaps the most notorious attorney general in Alabama history. He was known to have been involved in the murder of political opponent Albert J. Patterson and eventually checked himself into a Texas insane asylum in order to avoid prosecution. He also became deeply involved in the massive organized-crime scandal in Phenix City, Alabama, with connections to gambling, prostitution, and other sordid activities.

Horton also notes that Uncle Si was noted for practicing political prosecutions. Sounds like his niece learned those lessons well.

Meanwhile, Canary's office evidently is planning to indict Montgomery insurance executive John W. Goff, who has sued Governor Bob Riley and others for actions that caused the collapse of one of Goff's insurance companies.

Less than a month ago, Scott Horton reported on the Goff lawsuit and the considerable consternation it was causing the Riley administration. Horton reported that Goff was seeking sworn testimony on funding sources for Riley's campaign, and one of those sources included gambling interests in Mississippi. Goff's lawsuit, by the way, mentions Bill Canary, husband of Leura Canary and a featured player in Jill Simpson's testimony before Congressional lawyers about the Don Siegelman case.

"It's inexplicable that you don't investigate something for three or four years," says Goff attorney Thomas Gallion. "Then a couple of months after a lawsuit is filed by Goff--that mentions Bill Canary--they all of a sudden launch an investigation."

Goff put it best: "If these people can make you go away for their wrongdoing, it's a scary situation. If they're successful, I'll just deal with it. But I'm not scared. I'm going to fight them all the way."

Evidently a Congressional investigation has not slowed down the Republican slime machine in Alabama one bit. An indictment of Goff might be the grossest abuse of prosecutorial power by the Bush DOJ yet.

And one has to wonder about the leadership of the Montgomery Advertiser. Ironically, executive editor of the paper is an African-American female named Wanda Lloyd. She has an impressive resume, with stops at the Washington Post, USA Today, Miami Herald, and Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Lloyd's hiring was hailed as a major progressive step, a sign that "change was in the air." If she's caused any change to occur in Alabama capital city, I've failed to see it. Her paper has become little more than a mouthpiece for the entrenched conservative interests of Montgomery, and I see little evidence that Lloyd is doing much of anything other than picking up a paycheck.

She's responsible for the editorial content of her paper. And its content today is embarrassing.


Anonymous said...

The only person who should be more embarrassed is the writer of this blog who believes it is OK to pay judges to decide cases in your favor. Guess if Roger had a chance to do it all over again, he would have learned Paul Minor's technique then cozied up to his banker so he could hide a loan to his judge that the judge did not have to pay back. Hmmm.

Anonymous said...

You can tell when the republicans are worried. Change the subject and attack the massager. The Si Garret link to Lora Canary is potentially powerful. The two biggest scandals in Alabama politics - all in one family.

Robby Scott Hill said...

Pravda, like Russia, has cleaned up its act since the fall of the Soviet Union. The new Pravda is also exposing corruption in the Bush Administration. You and Scott should read it sometime.

Anonymous said...

Can you cite any examples? I looked through today's stories and found story after story giving positive spin on Putin saying this, Putin saying that, Putin saying something else. Oh, and Putin said that too. There is the story about "suiciding" the Air Force procurement officer, based on about as much fact as Bush's justification for the Iraq war. If they have cleaned up their act, they only removed one of many layers of dirt. Horton's calling the B'ham news the "Pravda of the South" is still an insult to someone claiming to be in the news business. An insult, I might add, that has been earned many times over.

Anonymous said...

If you want to end all this corruption, contact your legislature to publicly fund campaigns. Then all the corporate money that flows into the pockets of politicians can jump start our economy.

New York is setting a good, but not nearly perfect example. No money, perks, or promises should be accepted by public officials and judges. Then their entire financial record should be examined each year by a special committee.

Anonymous said...

I am so tired of reading the claim that Mrs. Canary has made about Si Garrett being her Uncle. As a member of the Garrett family, Leura Canary is not the niece of Si Garrett. She may be very distantly related, however she is not an immediate member of this family.