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Thursday, November 17, 2005

THE ATLANTA JOURNAL CONSTITUTION GETS CAUGHT WITH ITS PARTISAN PANTIES DOWN

Cynthia Tucker, the Editorial Page Editor for the Atlanta Journal Constitution made a big partisan boo boo today. The AJC ran an OpEd today, critical of Governor Sonny Perdue (duh - he is a Republican after all) and his use of what they call "corporate welfare": Duck Corporate Welfare. [bugmenot.com is your friend]

You see, Governor Perdue is working to attract new businesses to Georgia and part of that includes offering tax breaks and other incentives such as work force training and University research and development partnerships. Georgia has put in place strict policies to ensure that if a company receives business assistance and doesn't live up to its commitments, it doesn't receive the assistance. Well the AJC just can't stand that. It's corporate welfare for God's sake! I didn't think they'd ever met a welfare program they didn't like, so obviously I missed something somewhere. My only guess is that if a Democratic governor was doing it then it would be okay.

In an uncharacteristic display of respect, journalistic ethics, and common decency, the AJC gave the Governor's office a heads up on the OpEd and asked if they'd like equal time to respond. Of course the Governor said yes, and his communications office emailed over a column: Incentives Give States A Competitive Edge.

The Governor's office heard back from the AJC later that night. The Editor, Cynthia Tucker, had decided that one sentence had to be removed. What did that sentence say? It reminded folks that when Cox Enterprises (the parent company of the Atlanta Journal Constitution) was looking for a place to build its new corporate headquarters in the summer of 1999, it did what any good company would do - it shopped around for the best corporate welfare package that government could offer. Creative Loafing, Atlanta's alternative weekly paper reported that "[t]he deal Fulton County came up with, as it turned out, was the sweetest. The county promised to cut permit fees, help with tasks such as sidewalk construction, and, most importantly, vastly reduce the taxes the company would pay on the new property." Fulton county got the headquarters, and all it took was what the AJC calls "corporate welfare." Here's the missing sentence:

"When Cox Communications, parent company of the AJC, returns the $6.7 million in Fulton County property tax incentives it received to locate its headquarters in the county, then it will have the credibility to make such judgments."

Now, what excuse do you think Cynthia Tucker gave for removing that sentence about Cox's own corporate welfare deal? She said it was inaccurate. She was right, it was, and the Governor's office admits that it made a mistake. You see, in the rebuttal they called the AJC's parent company "Cox Communications" and that is wrong - the company's name is "Cox Enterprises" and so Cynthia Tucker had no choice to but to strike that inaccurate sentence. No, I'm not kidding. Tucker is most definitely that biased and blatantly partisan. Just a little FYI, editors always reserve the right to do things like correct spelling or names before they print a letter, so Tucker could have simply inserted the correct company name. But accuracy was not her real agenda, partisanship and obfuscation were. Now, tell me there's no liberal bias in the mainstream media?

The good news is the Governor's office isn't taking it lying down and they are calling the AJC on the carpet. Quite embarrassing for the paper as you might imagine. It certainly won't help their circulation which has dropped more than any other major city newspaper except for the San Francisco Chronicle. Frankly, I hope it goes under completely.

Would you like to contact Cynthia Tucker to let her know what you think? You can reach her here:

  • Editorial Page Editor - Cynthia Tucker, phone 404-526-5432, cynthia@ajc.com

You can contact the Public Editor, who takes comments from readers about fairness and accuracy in news coverage and editorial pages here:

You can contact the publisher here:

Let's let them know what we think, shall we?

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