Monday, April 17, 2017

John Archibald uses Rachel Maddow platform to perpetuate myth he broke "Luv Guv" Bentley story, producing LOL moments for Peter B. and me

John Archibald, discussing the Bentley scandal on MSNBC
What are the chances a print journalist would go on national television and admit he did not break a story he has been given credit for breaking? That is one of several questions related to the resignation of Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley that San Francisco-based radio host Peter B. Collins and I discussed in an interview last week.

Our questions ran from the probing to the absurd, and Collins and I decided the above question fell into the latter category. In fact, we were thinking along the same lines, and when that realization hit, it presented an LOL moment for both of us.

On a serious matter, Collins proved prescient about the direction any post-Bentley investigation might take. In fact, he essentially predicted the "no probable cause" finding on the "Luv Guv's" adviser and mistress Rebekah Caldwell Mason, two days before it happened.

At the heart of our journalism discussion was columnist John Archibald, who had appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show the night before and accepted credit for breaking the Bentley-scandal story -- which, of course, we broke here at Legal Schnauzer. This is not the first time this has happened on the Maddow Show, as she has been by far the most prominent journalist to shine a regular spotlight on the state of "affairs" in the Bentley administration.

To my knowledge, Archibald never has appeared on the show and said, "I broke the Bentley/Mason "Luv Guv" story." (Perhaps that's because he knows he didn't.) But he never corrects Maddow when she gives him credit for breaking it and heaps praise on both him and his ethically challenged "news organization." That led to the following exchange between Peter B. Collins and me.

Peter B. Collins (PBC) -- Maddow gave John Archibald full credit. Archibald himself didn't bother to say, "Well, you know, there was a blogger . . . "

Legal Schnauzer (LS) -- laughing . . . I can't help laughing because I thought of this same scenario.

PB -- Go ahead and laugh all you want, you deserve it. Here's Archibald being treated like a Pulitzer Prize nominee, and he doesn't have the good judgment and generosity to say, "Well, some other people broke the story, and I'm riding on their coattails."

LS -- I've imagined that same scenario -- and knew he wouldn't do it, wouldn't have the integrity to correct Rachel on the air and say, "I have reported on it, but I didn't break it, and my organization didn't break it, and for seven months we tried to squelch it. He said [my story] was "smoke" and "no fire, no facts, no proof." That's what's really galling. He not only didn't break it, he was seven months behind the curve . . .

PB -- And he was carrying water for Bentley!

As for Peter B's ability to foretell the future, consider this comment, made two days before the "no probable cause " finding on Rebekah Caldwell Mason:

PB -- My guess is . . . the way these things typically roll, now that [Bentley] has resigned, they will put it in a steamer trunk and bury it. There is no appetite to go further.

Talk about nailing it. Here are some other highlights from our discussion, where we either nailed it, missed it, or tried to act like we knew what we were talking about:

About Heather Hannah and her role as a hero in the Bentley scandal

LS -- For your listeners who might be football fans, she's the niece of John Hannah, who played for the New England Patriots and many consider to be the best football player to come out of the University of Alabama. . . . Bentley was attacking a member of what might be called "The First Family of Alabama football." Shows how stupid Bentley was. She's a very young woman, but she stood up to [the governor] and is a real hero in this.

On similarities between Heather Hannah's experiences and those of my wife, Carol, and me

LS -- As we read about Heather Hannah's experience, it was like having flashbacks. Bentley was trying to have her arrested, and we were arrested. She had vandalism at her home, which we had in the midst of our problems with the neighbor who has a criminal record. She had a rock thrown through her window, and we had a metal measuring tape thrown through ours. She had death threats written on her car, and we had death threats. 
I thought, "My God, this sounds a lot like what we went through. The big picture is the misuse of law enforcement. This young woman did not do anything like a crime. They were trying to get her on a criminal eavesdropping statute, but Dianne Bentley was the one who placed the recording device. And she had every right to do that, as co-owner of the property. You can put an eavesdropping device in your own home.

On the roaming eyes of Southern "Christians," and how the "Luv Guv" Scandal was broken

LS -- These people, it's like they eat hypocrisy for breakfast. [Bentley] and his wife had been married for 50 years, and that's how the whole story started; she filed for divorce.  . . . I talk about breaking the story, but to be honest, it wasn't a great act of shoe-leather journalism on my part. The minute Mrs. Bentley filed the divorce complaint, I had people -- who I knew were knowledgeable on politics -- calling me. All I had to do was sit there and listen. The story came to me more than the other way around. 
Peter B. Collins
 PB -- Was it like fishing on a trout farm, Roger?
LS --  Yes! I put a worm on my hook, and next thing I know, I started reeling them in. If I did anything right in all of this, these people knew they could call me, and I would listen and take it seriously. You call with a story about a Republican, and they just stick it in the desk drawer.

On my reporting about the Ashley Madison scam, and how it relates to the "Luv Guv" scandal

LS -- "I was astonished when reporting on the Ashley Madison story, how many familiar names I saw . . . "That guy's head of a bank" or "That guy's head of an engineering company. I tracked it down because I know the zip codes -- and the areas of town called Over the Mountain in Birmingham, where people with money and who vote Republican tend to live. 
"It's very two-faced. One of the first things Bentley did, on his Inauguration Day, was to say, "If you haven't been saved by Jesus, you aren't my brother, and I want to be your brother -- something outrageously stupid like that. Everybody thought, "He's a harmless grandpa, how much harm can he do?" Grandpa has impure thoughts, as it turns out."

On the price paid for reporting on conservative corruption in Alabama

LS -- I broke the Bentley story on August 31, 2015, and nine days later -- we were living here in Springfield, Missouri, by that time because our house basically had been stolen in Alabama due to a wrongful foreclosure, and we wound up here, where I grew up -- but nine days after I broke the story, we were the subjects of a terrifying eviction that was unlawful. Carol had her arm snapped like a twig, and deputies pointed an assault rifle at my head. You wonder, when that happened so close together, if the Bentley team had something to do with it. It's been reported in several places that Bentley used state and federal criminal databases to look up dirt on me. . . . That's an example of the blow back you can get. These Republicans in the South, it's a lot like organized crime. 

On possible criminal exposure for Rebekah Mason -- despite the "no probable cause"  finding

LS -- Usually, prosecutors cut a deal with the lower-level person to get them to testify against a person higher up the food chain. In this case, it seems to be working in reverse. I don't know what will happen with [Mason] or other underlings. But in a real justice system -- which Alabama does not have -- she would have significant legal exposure.
On a personal level, if someone on their behalf targeted Carol and me, we are going to be looking at a lawsuit. And they already are facing several lawsuits.
The big issue with this plea deal is they didn't respond to investigative requests. Hardly any e-mails or text messages were turned over. In the digital world, that's where many crimes now are revealed. They've gotten away with a cover up, so far. 

On the racism and classism that drive postmodern political corruption

LS -- We live in a country right now where if you are white and conservative, you get away with stuff. If you are white or black and liberal, watch out. The whole 14th Amendment stuff about equal protection and due process becomes a joke. That's been the theme of my blog for 10 years. 


Anonymous said...

Think about it for a moment; why Archibald and why only just MSNBC? Obviously noticeable nothing appearing of significance especially on Fox Cable or strangely CNN; it may very well could to be that Archibald was used, giving up his journalism integrity and public ethics for 15 minutes of air time at the beck and call of others.

Anonymous said...

You and Peter B make a pretty good comedy team. Take it on the road!

legalschnauzer said...

@1:39 --

Interesting point, one that had not occurred to me. Are you thinking Archibald was chosen as the "media source" because he could be controlled? Certain aspects of the Bentley scandal would not come up if Archibald was designated as the "media spokesperson"?

You might be onto something.

Anonymous said...

Was it like fishing on a trout farm, Roger?


Anonymous said...

Archibald and want credit because they want a Pulitzer. The company isn't making money anymore, but at least they can make a run at prizes -- on the backs of other journalists.

Anonymous said...

Somebody threw a metal measuring tape through your window? Jeebus!

legalschnauzer said...

Oh, yes. I'm pretty sure that was courtesy of some kids connected to our criminally inclined neighbor at the time. Carol almost cut her foot from stepping in the glass. Cops took a report and said the measuring tape had been stolen from a pickup truck about one street over.

So the little thugs were both vandals and thieves. Apples don't fall far from trees.

Somebody also tried to burn down our mailbox one night. We saw the scorch marks on the post and a lighter and fluid were left behind.

We've been dealing with terrorism for a long time.

Anonymous said...

"We live in a country right now where if you are white and conservative, you get away with stuff. If you are white or black and liberal, watch out."

You nailed it with this, Mr. Schnauzer. Mercy, can I get an amen?!!

Anonymous said...

Donald Watkins was way ahead of Archibald, too.

legalschnauzer said...

@4:07 --

Yes, he was, absolutely. Archibald was third on the story, at best.

Anonymous said...

I think Archibald was more like one of Bentley's peckerwood Hans Brinkers with his finger in the affair dike than a Pulitzer Prize worthy journalist.

legalschnauzer said...

Just did a little research. Looks like Archibald wrote on 3/22/16 about Spencer Collier saying he had seen and heard evidence of a Bentley/Mason affair. Yellowhammer News published the audio recording on 3/23/16.

Both were roughly seven months behind my breaking report on 8/31/15. They also were way behind my reports of 9/1 and 9/2/15 about the financial implications of the affair, which is ultimately what led to Bentley's downfall.

Archibald, it appears, was barely No. 3 on the story.

Anonymous said...

Archibald wasn't just slow on the affair story. He was cock blocking the story too.

Anonymous said...

"Media-controlled", absolutely! Not commonly known, if known of at all, is the organized media in Alabama, obviously not matters for everyday coffee shop discussions designed specifically to provide safe harbors from public accountabilities and responsibilities after having violated their offices' public trust; excellent case in point in Pandora's Box awaiting for former governor Don Seigelman's case to publicly resurface will in fact involved The Birmingham News' decisions to intentionally withhold specific and particular stories especially when involving the public's right, need to know. Media-control, we are living in it, right now.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone contacted The Birmingham News and asked how was it that they were chosen, that Archibald was determined to be spokesperson; who was it that the newspaper was in contact with that made and/or oked arrangements with MSNBC, but why only that platform; reminds me of the old New York Times reporter Campbell Robertson's hatchet job; one is left to wonder who pulled his strings?

legalschnauzer said...

@5:33 --

All good questions. It would be interesting if someone contacted and made those inquiries, perhaps to Archibald himself. I probably wouldn't be the right person to do that, but I wish someone would.

Campbell Robertson definitely did a hatchet job, and I wrote a post about the curious fact that NYT reporter Warren St. John is related to UA board member Finis St. John. Robertson and W. St. John appear to be buds, so that could be explanation of how that story to pass (gas).

I wonder where Archibald goes to appear on MSNBC. I have figured that he went to NBC affiliate in Bham, Channel 13. I don't, however, know that. Is there an NBC station in Tuscaloosa. Is someone at a local NBC affiliate selling the Archibald scam to Maddow Show?

e. a. f. said...

it would not surprise me if Archibald is getting "this reward" and will be given some others in due time because he won't be revealing "too much" of the truth. it may also help the Republicans get their ducks in order for the next administration, wonder who is getting paid and how much or perhaps is doing things on a freebie basis for more consideration at a future day. all very entertaining.

legalschnauzer said...

e.a.f. --

You can smell a scam all the way from Canada. Bravo!

FWIW, I've long suspected Bham News/ was involved in my termination at UAB -- or at least knew about it. Dale Turnbough, the woman who signed my termination papers, was head of media relations at UAB. A big part of her job was to interact with, and placate, reporters from Bham News.

At the time, there was a big Medicare/research fraud case at UAB, which had been put to bed but could be resurrected at most any time. It involved possible criminal and civil damages, and UAB had closed it up with a slap on the wrist. When I started publishing in support of Don Siegelman, pissing off the Riley Machine, I could imagine Rob Riley (or someone like him) asking to help cheat me out of my job. Would have been very easy: Reporter goes to Dale Turnbough and says something like, "We're set to launch an investigation into research fraud at UAB. Of course, that could be avoided by firing Roger Shuler."

Turnbough and president Carol Garrison would have gone along with that in a NY Minute. They had the kind of self-centered, lack of integrity to go along with such a scam. A real investigation of the UAB scandal, which Bush US attorney Alice Martin helped cover up, would have sent any number of professors and administrators to the Big House for stealing federal funds. Would have been a PR nightmare.

Of course, there are other ways I could have been cheated out of my job, but that one long has intrigued me. No doubt in my mind that has that kind of cozy relationship with conservative politicos and will even do political hatchet work for them.

One reason they might help manage the Bentley fiasco, is that it put Kay Ivey in the Governor's Mansion, and she is a pro-Riley flack. She just announced that Bryan Taylor, a big Riley bot, will be her legal counsel.

They also might be covering the role Riley Inc. played in ousting the moronic Bentley. It puts Rileys and Business Council of Alabama back in charge -- or at least that's how it appears from here.

Anonymous said...

More butthurt. Archibald stated in his story in the Birmingham News yesterday that "bloggers" started the rumors/stories about the affair, and that he initially dismissed it. He admitted that, even if he didn't credit you by name.

The reason Archibald is getting attention is because he is writing about the story and killing it with the later acquired investigation. You on the other hand just continually complain that you are not given proper credit for breaking the story to begin with. Archibald can write circles around you and anyone else in this state. That you beat him to the punch on the biggest story this state has seen for several years... well, kudos to you. Now quit your bitching and go back to your sources and break another story.

Anonymous said...

@8:17 -- Is that you Kyle?

legalschnauzer said...

@8:17 --

I've broken more angles on the Bentley story than I can count. I don't have time to go back and look if I was first on certain angles, but I'm pretty sure I was first on the following, just to name 2-3:

(1) That Bentley sought to have Heather Hannah arrested, even though a review of Alabama eavesdropping law shows that neither she nor Dianne Bentley broke any laws.

(2) That Bentley sent Ray Lewis to break up with Rebekah Mason for him.

(3) Baldwin Co. realtor Patti Austin was the mystery woman who accompanied Bentley to Trump Inaugural.

Those are just three quick, recent examples, off the top of my head. I've also broken other stories that Archibald won't touch. For example:

(1) I showed that, while in private practice, federal judge R. David Proctor helped Jeff Sessions get a black judge (U.W. Clemon) off a case in which Sessions faced possibly major liability. I've presented clear evidence that Proctor is corrupt and rules in favor of Sessions' associates, at a time when Sessions faces a criminal complaint and bar complaints for lying to Congress about his meetings with Russian officials. This is a story of national and international importance. Are you and John Archibald going to cover it, or are you going to cover for Jeff Sessions and corrupt right-wing judges in downtown Bham?

(2) Bham lawyer Rob Riley had me thrown in jail for five months, an action that was contrary to law in every respect. Judge Claud Neilson ruled contrary to law on every issue. Have you ever looked into that. A US journalist is incarcerated right in your backyard, and you do nothing of substance on the story? Unreal. Where is Archibald on that? Has he ever attempted to interview Rob Riley, Neilson, me -- others connected to the story?

I've been breaking stories. When are you and Archibald going to quit covering for John Merrill, Rob Riley, and other GOP clowns?

Anonymous said...


I'll answer your question. Yes, that is Kyle Whitmire, 99 percent chance. Kyle is Archibald's No. 1 protector. When Archy stepped in doo-doo by claiming not to know about his own bankruptcy, Kyle wrote all sorts of ridiculous things to defend him.

If someone is defending John Archibald, it's probably Kyle Whitmire.

legalschnauzer said...

@8:17 --

You are clueless on numerous fronts:

(1) You don't know what butthurt means. It means to be "unjustifiably offended or resentful." I'm justifiably offended, and you admit that I have grounds to be. Actually, I'm not that offended or resentful, but I just like to deal in truth. If you listen to the Peter B. Collins interview, we were laughing at Archibald and his blatant lack of integrity. He's become a laughing stock.

(2) Here is what Archibald wrote in yesterday's story: "And in October rumors of the affair began to blow up in blogs and social media. They were greeted mostly with disbelief."

a. First, the story broke in late August, not October, so that's inaccurate.

b. It didn't break with rumors, it broke with journalism. I happened to cite anonymous sources, but uses the same technique. I seem to recall broke the burner phones angle to the story. Did they name sources on that? I don't think so. Does that mean it was a rumor? No.

c. Archibald didn't say he dismissed it (which he did), he said it was greeted with disbelief. I'm not aware of any "bloggers" who wrote first about the story other than Donald Watkins and me, and I was first on the story.

(3) Rachel Maddow wrongfully credited Archibald with breaking the story months ago, in fact probably a year ago, after the tape came out. He's never corrected her, and any attention he gets has nothing to do with his recent reporting.

(4) "Archibald can write circles around you and anyone else in this state." What is that you are smoking? Must be a high-level of weed or crack.

(5) You miss the bigger issue here. Archibald is perpetuating a lie, and he knows it. Bloggers didn't break the story, I broke the story. He's repeatedly accepted credit from Rachel Maddow for something he did not do, didn't even come close to doing. At best, he was No. 3. In other words, Archibald's actions have been fundamentally dishonest and unprofessional.

(6) When has reported on key elements of the Bentley scandal (or other stories), I've repeatedly given them credit. I don't recall ever giving credit to the journalist who broke the whole damned Bentley story, including the affair and the first reports of financial irregularities.

(7) No matter how you try to spin it, Archibald has acted like a con man. You admit I beat him to the punch on the biggest story this state has seen in several years, but he's passed on multiple opportunities to set the record straight and give credit where it's due. That makes him a very small "man."
April 17, 2017 at 9:49 PM

Anonymous said...

I love to read AL.COM before bed, I like to go to sleep with nothing on my mind.

Anonymous said...

Those having stayed involved and concerned over the unlawful and illegal judicial persecutions of former governor Don Seigelman will always have the slightest memories of those individuals named CANARY, especially LAURA; but not for this message, REMEMBER HER HUSBAND WILLIAM "BILL", PRESIDENT, Business Council of Alabama; attached at the hip of bro ROVE and PRYOR late 1990s early 2000s.

Just recently witnessed hob-nobbing partying down with the well-to-dos in Dothan, Alabama, the little town that flew in Vice-President DICK CHENEY for one of their birthday parties, close to public, requiring a deplaning off ramp be brought up and back from Tindell AFB Panama City, Florida for the short visit. Huge monies [a lot of banks], strong influence, and political power[s].

Until other journalist have felt the their own personal stings of injustices and malpractices put upon them for nothing more or less than exercising of their constitutional freedoms and rights; it is more than reasonable for any average minded person to conclude others are not qualified to sit in judgment over one who at same time retained beliefs in their journalism character, integrity, and ethics standards, as best a human being can do. GOVERNOR SEIGELMAN'S CASE HAS LONGTIME BEEN A PANDORA'S BOX STRAINING AT WORN HINGES TO BURST WIDE-OPEN.............."POP GOES THE DRAGON"; as the governor has previously stated, his case is destined to equal and/or ascend the zeniths of "Watergate 1973".