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.