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Taggart Says He’s Done With The Clarion-Ledger

October 12, 2011

In a post on the Clarion-Ledger’s Red/ Blue blog last night, Andy Taggart said he is done with the blog and the newspaper.

“When Sid Salter was still at the Clarion-Ledger, I was at least willing to continue to soldier on, because I had the sense that there was one voice of middle-of-the-road values who was pushing back against the left wing mantra of Gannett at the Clarion-Ledger. Now that Sid is gone, the balance is also gone…I’m done with them. Good night, and good riddance.” Taggart wrote.

Taggart’s specific, or at least most recent, beef was with the paper’s lead story, “Republicans kill Obama jobs bill.”

If Republicans and conservatives could essentially not cooperate with the paper ala Democrats and Fox News it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.

And certainly there is no denying the leaning of the state’s largest paper. The editorial director of the paper, David Hampton, certainly doesn’t hide his liberal feelings. Every column you know what you’re going to get. Fair enough…there is a conservative to balance that right?

Regular guest columnists include the likes of Bill Minor, an older and more bitter version of Hampton and Joe Atkins, a journalism professor at Ole Miss indoctrinating the next round of Hampton’s and Minor’s. Salter also still serves as a contributor, and as he long has been, is probably the most conservative voice among regular statewide columnists that the paper will offer, but I wouldn’t necessarily consider him a counter to Hampton. Even when he was a regular employee of Gannett. He was more conservative than the paper as a whole, but he wasn’t there to simply offer a rebuttal to the liberalism that drives the day.

And when you look beyond the Clarion-Ledger, look at the other columnists. Most are just traditional reporters who you can’t pin down, at least from my perspective. This includes Charlie Mitchell, Lloyd Gray, Bobby Harrison, Bill Crawford and others. Nothing wrong with that.

You can find conservatives around the state. Cory Wilson and Brian Perry write regular columns for the Madison County Journal. And there are others here and there. Just apparently none are worthy of a statewide gig. At least not as long as Hampton is running things.

But after all, a mere 51 percent of residents in the state consider themselves conservative. Why bother giving them a platform?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. catty14 permalink
    October 12, 2011 10:01 am

    WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG?

  2. Hank permalink
    October 12, 2011 11:20 am

    Bill Crawford ran as a Republican for the 3rd Congressional District seat in 1996. He lost to Chip Pickering in the runoff.

    I hope Andy will reconsider his decision when he realizes the headline was written by The Associated Press, not The Clarion-Ledger. But obviously, his problems with the newspaper didn’t start and end with one headline. If he sticks with his decision to resign, perhaps he’ll join Majority in Mississippi. It seems to be the most informative conservative blog in Mississippi these days.

  3. Steve Seale permalink
    October 12, 2011 11:21 am

    I understand what Andy is saying but some might feel it’s better to continue to fight the fight where you can in whatever forum … particularly one where yours may be the only contrary voice. It will be interesting to see how the CL responds. Clearly, any response will only be driven by the market. Will the public respond by commenting in letters to the Editor, or phone calls or stopping the paper? A downturn in sales will really get Gannett’s/CL’s attention.

  4. Keith Plunkett permalink
    October 12, 2011 12:06 pm

    The fact that it was an AP story does not affect the headline. The C-L has the right to put their own headline up as I understand it.

    While the online version of the paper draws in a few blog readers. The blogs are poorly set up in the websites infrastructure and don’t get nearly the traffic they could. Maybe that is by design from Gannett. Maybe that’s the way they want it. But, Andy and Jere could certainly do better in terms of exposure on their own.

    As to the liberal bias, just look back at any column written by Hampton. It’s obvious, but it’s always been there. The problem we conservatives have is not that there isn’t a counter weight to the C-L. It’s the fact that there isn’t a strong counter weight to the liberal spending messaging going on in Mississippi. They’re organized around a message and they are pushing it hard, with or without Hampton, Minor, and Harrison.

    We’re losing the battle on PERS before it ever gets started, and MAEP funding vs. Charter Schools will be next. Winning elections on the heels of a few well timed ballot initiatives, and by pouring a ton of money into a few races is one thing, but then what? You’ve got to win the war, not just the battle.

    Andy was a lone voice in the wilderness at the C-L. And he wasn’t given enough exposure to make up the difference of Sid’s departure. But, until we stop focusing on defense and begin playing a little offense, then we are still going to lose the battles that count for something.

  5. Hank permalink
    October 12, 2011 3:36 pm

    From Andy’s Red/Blue Post:

    “Forty six, count them, 46, Republicans voted against Barack Obama’s tax hiking bill. That’s a minority of the United States Senate.

    That means that Democrats — members of the President’s party — also opposed what he was trying to do to Americans and the American economy.

    The left wing crowd at the Clarion-Ledger blamed a minority of Republicans for the failure of Barack Obama’s bill”

    Since 60 votes were needed to overcome a Republican filibuster, 46 Republican votes did kill the bill. And discretion or no discretion, the reality is that the Clarion-Ledger is so understaffed that I doubt the web editor of ClarionLedger.com or whomever is responsible for approving headlines gave – or even needed to give – the AP’s headline a second look.

    I agree with Andy a lot more than I disagree with Andy, but accusing the Clarion-Ledger of “going over the edge” without providing concrete (or factually accurate) examples is the wrong way to leave. If, as Keith says, we’re in a war, we need people to articulate a coherent vision with well-reasoned, well-researched arguments. In this specific instance, Andy didn’t do that, but the unchallenged support he’s received from other Republicans suggests it may not matter.

    • Republican Dawg permalink
      October 12, 2011 4:24 pm

      Hank, I think Andy is receiving support from Republicans/ conservatives because they have been reading the paper long enough to know what it is all about. Was this one AP article the best piece of evidence there is against the CL? Probably not. But for Andy, I guess it was the nail in the coffin. And I don’t think selecting that story takes away from the larger picture Andy was going after.

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