Recent job cuts at Alabama newspapers have been steep. The Birmingham Business Journal, which (ahem) apparently is not among the participants, reports that "Three of Alabama’s largest daily newspapers, including the Birmingham News, will lay off about 400 employees as they cut back their printing schedules and increase their focus on digital." The other affected publications include the Huntsville Times and the Mobile Press Register. The job cuts are on the order of 50%-60%.
Across the Alabama border in Florida at the Pensacola News Journal, cartoonist Andy Marlette did not handle the layoff news well, as will be seen after the jump.
Wednesday's CBS Evening News featured a report by correspondent Mark Strassmann playing up the reservations that some are having about the new law to strictly enforce immigration laws in Alabama.
After noting that a poll supposedly shows that Latino voters are dissatisfied because the Obama administration has deported record numbers of illegal immigrants, substitute anchor Jeff Glor introduced Strassmann's piece by playing up the "second thoughts" that some supporters of the law are having: "Mark Strassmann went to Alabama, where some are having second thoughts now about a tough new law."
Campbell Robertson cranked the melodrama up to eleven in his New York Times story on Tuesday on the upholding by a federal judge of a tough new immigration law in Alabama: “After Ruling, Hispanics Flee an Alabama Town – Fears Rise Over a Tough Law on Immigrants.” Robertson talked of “the vanishing” and dabbled in a little Creative Writing 101: “In certain neighborhoods the streets are uncommonly quiet, like the aftermath of some sort of rapture.”
Illegal immigration is prehaps the issue most likely to trigger the paper’s liberal bias, and Robertson doesn’t disappoint. In his dramatic telling, the flight from the town of Albertville, Ala., was like something out of a science fiction movie:
Matching the pattern set in coverage of Arizona’s immigration enforcement law, the broadcast network evening newscasts on Thursday night all framed their stories on Alabama’s “severe” new law around its victims, with ABC anchor Diane Sawyer and NBC anchor Brian Williams both describing it as “Arizona on steroids.” They didn’t mean it as a compliment. Sawyer mischaracterized it as an “anti-immigration law.”
ABC was the most one-sided, with reporter Steve Osunsami not mentioning a reason for the new law until his very last sentence. Instead, Osunsami intoned, “Across Alabama today, demonstrators were furious, calling this the Arizona law with an Alabama twist,” before showing a man who charged that “it says that our government promotes racism.”
New York Times reporter Campbell Robertson reported Sunday from Cullman, Ala., “Alabama Law Criminalizes Samaritans, Bishops Say.” The Times showed an unusual and convenient respect for Southern Christians who are taking a liberal and paranoid stand on a new state law against illegal immigration -- the issue perhaps most likely to bring out the Times’s liberal bias.
On a sofa in the hallway of his office here, Mitchell Williams, the pastor of First United Methodist Church, announced that he was going to break the law. He is not the only church leader making such a declaration these days.
Former USDA employee Shirley Sherrod says she will meet Tuesday with agriculture secretary
Shirley Sherrod, the former USDA rural development director for Georgia, said today she plans to meet Tuesday with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to discuss a new job offer.
... Sherrod today spoke in the Sumter County town of Epes at an event hosted by the Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund. Ben Jealous, executive director of the NAACP, shared the stage with Sherrod during a panel discussion.
Sherrod said she had no ill feelings toward the NAACP or President Barack Obama.
It the meeting does indeed occur, it will be an interesting test of establishment media credibility, given the accusations leveled at Ms. Sherrod and her husband Charles by Ron Wilkins at the leftist publication Counterpunch several weeks ago. Here are some of the specifics:
On Dec. 22, when Rep. Parker Griffith of Alabama announced he would be switching from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party, it was to be expected MSNBC, the so-called "Place for Politics" would spin it in anyway imaginable. But Rachel Maddow decided to use the left's favorite boogeyman, the tea party movement, to denigrate conservatives and distract from what could be real problems for House Democrats.
On Thursday, Chicago-based New York Times reporter Monica Davey reported on more controversy over Rod Blagojevich, the corrupt former Democratic governor of Illinois who tried to sell off the state's U.S. Senate seat that was left empty after Sen. Barack Obama assumed the presidency. In "Top Blagojevich Aide Pleads Guilty to Fraud," Davey managed to totally ignore Blagojevich's Democratic affiliation -- the word "Democrat" was nowhere to be found.
Turn the page, and one could read John Schwartz's story about the latest wrinkle in the bribery and corruption case of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman. But in this case, Schwartz made the partisan lines clear, quickly identifying convicted governor Siegelman as a Democrat and his prosecutor as a Republican, heightening the contrast and reinforcing the paper's long-standing, unfounded suspicions of a high-level anti-Siegelman conspiracy on the part of the GOP.
A Department of Justice whistle-blower who accused prosecutors of misconduct in the closely watched federal corruption trial of former Gov. Donald E. Siegelman of Alabama has been fired, and claims retaliation is the reason. The government denies that it was retaliating.
The whistle-blower, Tamarah T. Grimes, worked as a legal aide with the team prosecuting Mr. Siegelman and Richard M. Scrushy, the former chairman of HealthSouth, on bribery and corruption charges.
Both men were convicted in 2006 in a case that Mr. Siegelman, a Democrat, and supporters say was politically motivated.
You'd expect to see this in the liberal blogosphere or possibly some of the national mainstream media outlets with an obvious agenda. But now some of the preemptive strikes against Republican senators leading up to the Senate confirmation hearings and eventual vote to confirm President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Sonia Sotomayor, are finding their way into local newspapers.
An op-ed published in The Anniston (Ala.) Star on May 28 by Ari Rabin-Havt, the managing director of the left-wing Media Matters Action Network, attacked the new ranking Republican of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. He alleged that if Sessions and other Senate Republicans didn't commit to taking a filibuster off the table for Sotomayor's confirmation, they would be guilty of hypocrisy.
Southern-based New York Times reporter Adam Nossiter once again went hunting around for racially charged quotes from Alabamans, and bagged his limit, in Tuesday's front-page story from Vernon, Ala, "For South, a Waning Hold on National Politics."
Nossiter argued, with no doubt a little glee, that the South's rejection of Obama spelled the region's political marginalization for years to come:
Fear of the politician with the unusual name and look did not end with last Tuesday's vote in this rural red swatch where buck heads and rifles hang on the wall. This corner of the Deep South still resonates with negative feelings about the race of President-elect Barack Obama.
The New York Times has intermittently written up the strange allegations that former White House advisor Karl Rove tried to destroy a former governor of the state of Alabama, Don Siegelman. Siegelman, a Democrat, was prosecuted by the Justice Department and ultimately sentenced to federal prison for bribery. He was recently released on appeal, which probably spurred the paper's new interest in the case.
In a recent appearance on "This Week With George Stephanopoulos," Karl Rove was asked if he had a role in the Justice Department's decision to prosecute Don Siegelman. The former Democratic governor of Alabama was convicted and sentenced to more than seven years, quite possibly for political reasons, and there is evidence that Mr. Rove may have been pulling the strings.
There is fear in the halls of the Alabama State House. Your colleague may be wired. Somebody may be watching you. An indictment looms.
After a dozen legislators received subpoenas one day last month in a criminal investigation, an atmosphere of paranoia and anxiety has descended on the gleaming white building that houses the State Legislature, many of its occupants say.
Legislators are sweeping their offices for bugs. Routine horse-trading for votes is stymied, for fear it could be misinterpreted. A wary lawmaker agrees to meet a reporter only in a wide-open parking lot. After-hours get-togethers are off.
Gateway Pundit's Jim Hoft shares the news of another possible election year meltdown at CBS News.
"60 Minutes" recently aired the claim that former Alabama governor Don Siegelman went to jail not for corruption, but because he belong to the wrong political party, and that the investigations that landed him in jail for bribery were politically motivated.
One of the most explosive claims made was that Karl Rove was involved in an attempt to entrap Siegelman:
On Monday, President Bush honored a Cuban political prisoner, author Harper Lee, and former congressman Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), along with five others in a Medal of Freedom ceremony. Yet while Washington Post Foreign Service staffer Nora Boustany led her November 6 article with a focus on the Castro-imprisoned Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet, Post headline writers slapped a bland headline on the story, "Cuban Doctor Among Eight Honored at White House."
That's hardly an enticing attention grabber for your average Post reader flipping through page A14 while hunched over his corn flakes.
Arthur Bremer, the man who on May 15, 1972, attempted to assassinate then-Gov. George Wallace (D-Ala.), is scheduled to be released from a Maryland correctional facility later this fall, the Associated Press reports.
In 1963, during his first term as Alabama's chief executive, the Democratic governor famously declared: "I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever."
While Wallace recanted his segregationist views years later, in May of 1972 he still espoused racist rhetoric during his run for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Only a few days later, Newsweek's latest issue chose to print a quote from the Republican governor of Alabama in their "Perspectives: Quotes in the News" section.
"In Alabama we have had experience turning corn into alcohol for years."
-Gov. Bob Riley, joking about the state's history of moonshining as he filled up a Chevrolet Impala with ethanol-based fuel. About 2,000 state vehicles will start using alternative fuel to save money and help the environment.
Following a report on fisticuffs in the Alabama State Senate, CNN reporter T.J. Holmes cracked a joke about Sen. Lowell Barron (D) being on the receiving end of a punch to the face from Republican Senator Charles Bishop.
A little anti-gun bias on CNN. This week, CNN interviewed 11-year-old Jamison Stone who claimed he killed a “Monster Pig,” which was often compared to the other giant pig Hogzilla, but not everyone in the media was very receptive to the story of an 11-year-old boy using a handgun to kill a giant boar. CNN Newsroom correspondent T.J. Holmes was uncomfortable with the boy’s use of a handgun, asking, “Is it just me, or an 11-year-old with a pistol, is that OK?” (emphasis mine throughout):