... and it's about damn time
This morning John Archibald wrote one of those columns that makes me sick — sick that I didn't write it first. He dug through Mayor Larry Langford's year-end campaign finance reports and teased out the money trail behind Langford's media strategy. In short, Langford had talk show host Frank Matthews, political hit man Washington Booker and Birmingham Times publisher Jesse Lewis all on the payroll.
As the Weekly reported last year, The Birmingham News has been under assault by Langford, before and after the mayoral election. Matthews participated in protests on the newspaper's steps, decrying the papers and its employees as racists. The protesters accused the paper of playing the race card, and why? Because the paper's cartoonist, Scott Stantis, had attacked Langford and Kincaid for playing the race card.
Meanwhile, Lewis was taking cash from Langford with one hand and penning his editorials with the other. This isn't the first time, Lewis or the Birmingham Times have been on the wrong side of journalism ethics. The last notable instance was in 2006, when Lewis' firm got caught arranging payola journalism for former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy.