Thursday, August 16, 2007

WJTV: You are getting rather obvious. (WJTV Story) (McMillin ad)

Now that the election for the Hinds County Sheriff's race is over, I can say what I really think about something that occurred recently. On August 1, WJTV aired a report on Sheriff Malcolm McMillin that was definitely a hit piece. The Sheriff, who has an impeccable record of fighting crime, was the subject of an attack by the leader of the Axis of Melton (WLBT being the other member). Mr. McMillin has some patrol cars appearing in the background of his ad and some deputies appeared in the ad as well (Any identifying characteristics of the officers and cars are not visible except for the colors).

In the interview (which is worth watching),, the reporter, Carole Carr, is clearly out of her depth as McMillin takes her to task, accusing her of setting up the interview under false pretenses. Ms. Carr begins the interview immediately asking when the ad was made, who was involved in its production, and the time cards for the deputies. An ignorant Ms. Carr asked McMillin if the deputies could volunteer to appear in the ads of his opponents. Ignorant because, as a sharp friend of mine pointed out, Ms. Carr apparently did not know that all deputies serve at the pleasure of the Sheriff and he can fire them at any time if he chooses to do so.

An exasperated Sheriff finally lays down the law (pun intended), telling her that she had called to request an interview so they could discuss the campaign, not the use of deputies in his ads. A shaky Ms. Carr lost control of the interview even further as McMillin chewed her out for setting up an interview under false pretenses while not reporting that JPD officers were passing out handbills, which would be a violation of the law. WJTV said it would pursue McMillin's allegations about these actions by JPD officers, but never reported its findings.

One would think that if McMillin's allegations were unfounded, that WJTV would have jumped at the opportunity to prove him wrong. Since this story fell into a black hole at WJTV, one assumes that the Sheriff was correct.

It is obvious that this story was a hit piece on McMillin. WAPT, WLBT, The Clarion-Ledger, and the other Jackson media outlets ignored this story. It was mentioned briefly in some local internet forums. One should not be surprised by WJTV's tactics. They have earned the nickname The Axis of Melton for a reason. They have consistently ignored prominent stories that were less than flattering to Mr. Melton. McMillin's opponent, Tyrone Lewis, was backed by Mr. Melton, who hosted a fund-raiser for him at his home. Some of the more recent examples of WJTV's bias are:

The lack of coverage when Melton hosted a fund-raiser for Tyrone Lewis at his home. WLBT, WAPT, and The Jackson Free Press all gave coverage to this story. One would think that the Mayor hosting fund-raisers for an opponent of a popular Sheriff, a popular Sheriff who arrested him, would be newsworthy for WJTV. (See for commentary on the coverage of this story.)

The lack of coverage concerning Michael Taylor, Melton's young soljah who likes to display guns on Myspace, and his recent bouts with the law while associated with the mayor. (See for additional commentary and coverage.)

Of course, while WJTV tries to take down the Sheriff for Mr. Lewis, it completely ignored Melton harboring Michael Taylor when he was a fugitive from the law (there were outstanding warrants for his arrest, see When the Sheriff sent some deputies to pick up Taylor, who was at a gathering with Melton and JPD officers, Melton had JPD officers take Mr. Taylor away. There was no mention by WJTV of Mr. Melton keeping a thug from the authorities while it tried to attack Sheriff McMillin.

One must ask how long this broadcast blowjob of Melton by WJTV will continue. As its bias becomes more obvious, it ignores stories that are not favorable to Melton covered by the rest of the local media, while promoting stories that help Melton. It must be noted that the stories covered by WJTV are minute in terms of being newsworthy in comparison to the ones that are not favorable to Melton. These are the more recent examples of WJTV's bias as it has earned a reputation for pro-Melton Pravda-like coverage on several local internet forums. I didn't comment on this interview during the election because it was obvious it was a hit piece by WJTV on the Sheriff. The Sheriff was probably right when he said someone made a phone call to WJTV. The proof is in the pudding: no other media in Jackson covered this so-called story and WJTV did not provide additional coverage of the Sheriff's allegations concerning JPD officers.

One last question for WJTV: How thick are your kneepads?

Update: Just watched the interview again and noticed something. When McMillin twice said that his opposition had put WJTV up to these allegations, the info-boob didn't deny it either time. Interesting.


Anonymous said...

How does it benefit WJTV to look the other way re: Melton? What is the motivation? What is the reward?

Every media outlet looks the other way. Including the Jackson Free Press.

Tom Head said...

I think you're being a little hard on WJTV, and here's why:

The alternative media and blogosphere frequently take the mainstream media to task for "ignoring" stories.

Thing is that the alternative media and blogosphere have the luxury of choosing stories because they are under no obligation to provide comprehensive coverage of everything. The C-L covers many more news items in a daily issue than the JFP does in a weekly issue. So of course if you have a situation where an editor can afford to sit down and go "What do I want to cover?," you're going to have a different scenario than you do when there are daily, rolling deadlines.

I used to bash the C-L something fierce, but I didn't have to spend much face time with C-L reporters to realize that I wasn't being fair. Daily papers, and daily TV media, are run in a different way than media that provide more long-term, targeted coverage, and even with the can't-miss stories, it's hard to remember to drain the swamp when you're up to your ass in alligators.

There are ways for citizens to participate in the MSM. I have had great success, over the years, in correcting potentially misleading content by calling the newsroom and pointing out my concerns. (Email does not work as well.)

Most journalists are good, intellectually curious people. But the busier ones do need to be nudged in the right direction sometimes, and it's better to do that privately before the fact than publicly after the fact.

Kingfish said...

I understand what you are saying. However, I'm seeing a pattern out of WJTV. That was nothing but a hit piece. No one else in the media made an issue out of it. Their non-coverage of certain things that have something to do with a certain individual certainly stands out.

I disagree with you about reporters. Most of the ones I have met, and their have been more than a few, have their journalism degrees and don't know much about anything. I have found them to be poorly read, not intellectually curious, and not that good in terms of writing ability.

I do know Donna Ladd is always putting down on their writing. You know what? She SHOULD be a better writer than the local ones. She has a Master's from Columbia, attended law school, wrote for the Village Voice. I expect her to be a better writer than most of the local ones just as I would expect anyone from the WSJ to writer better than any CL ones if one was to move to Jackson and write here.

What is driving much of the blogosphere is people who are truly educated and well-read are tired of the poorly educated reporters writing bad stories and missing obvious angles.

Tom Head said...

'Fish, I hear what you're saying, but if you compare the amount of stuff Donna writes in a week to the amount of stuff a full-time C-L reporter has to cover and write in a week, and take into account the fact that the C-L does not get to choose his/her stories, the comparison reaches apples:moon rocks territory.

Donna is of course an intelligent and talented journalist, but what she does has nothing to do with what the C-L reporters do. I trust that when Michelangelo was painting the Sistine Chapel, he did not walk around Rome laughing at artists who only painted walls in one color because he knew they had to paint two or three houses a day, and he didn't.

As far as the C-L reporters go, I can think of five people I know from over there and I would not describe any of them as poorly educated or intellectually non-curious. I would describe them as busy.

Kingfish said...

We will respectfully disagree on this somewhat as I have a different view of reporters.

As for this story, yes, I was hard on the reporter but she needed it. She was very weak, asked stupid questions, apparently misrepresented herself to McMillin, and lost control of her interview. She deserved the criticism because I am sure her boss over at WJTV didn't criticize her as focused as they were on gotcha journalism.

As for WJTV, you are correct about story selection but I can also make note of a certain pattern that is appearing and question if it is true or not.

If you haven't noticed, I criticize all media at some point on this blog.

Tom Head said...

I agree that the interview warranted criticism, but I occasionally produce sucky content, too. See also George Lucas, Howard the Duck. Happens to the best of us. I would not view this as demonstrating any broader problems with the reporter, much less WJTV as a whole.

Recent Comments

Search Jackson Jambalaya

Subscribe to JJ's Youtube channel


Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS