Archive for the ‘Death of Journalism’ Category

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Another Death Rattle From The D-G

February 7, 2012

Interesting nugget from Sunday’s Democrat-Gazette: Mike Wickline reported that legislative reimbursements were down $350,000 in 2011.

And to what do we owe this welcome dip in illegal salary padding? Wickline explains:

Though not universally credited with causing it, factors leading to the reduction include:

Annual reports for years by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and other news media on how much legislators were being paid and who was getting the most.

The 2011 General Assembly giving the House speaker and Senate president pro tempore authority to decide on travel requests made to committee chairmen.

House Speaker Robert S. Moore Jr. suggesting that chairmen schedule their committees’ meetings after the session to “provide appropriate stewardship in the issuance of per diem and mileage reimbursement.”

Former blogger Matt Campbell questioning the constitutionality of some of the payments.

The Conservative Arkansas Political Action Committee questioning the constitutionality and, like Campbell, the Democrat-Gazette and others, posting reimbursement information on its website.

The Arkansas Public Law Center, formed to litigate issues of public importance, filing a lawsuit in September 2011 challenging the constitutionality of some payments to lawmakers.

So, wait . . . let me see if I follow. Years of “annual reports” by the D-G and “other news media” that simply listed gross totals and did not touch on the illegality of the payments were important in the changes that occurred in 2011?

Important enough to be listed first, ahead of things like Blue Hog Report’s investigation into the constitutional/statutory issues in the payments, Conservative Arkansas’ launching a website to inform voters and request that legislators sign a pledge to cease accepting the payments, or the Arkansas Public Law Center’s actually filing an illegal-exaction lawsuit to stop the practice?

You know, every time I think the D-G can’t become more ridiculous, they prove me wrong.