Thursday, February 07, 2013

Oconee Enterprise writer drinks G.O.P Kool-Aid to the exclusion of Democratic voices once again

I appreciate the long and storied journalistic career of Blake Giles at the Oconee Enterprise and other newspapers, but when are you going to start realizing that Oconee County does have another party besides the Republican? We are a two party county, and I hope his bosses begin to make him realize that. Could he take the time to call one/any Democrat or Democratic leader for a comment on this story? Evidently not. Let me make it easier for you Blake, my home phone number is 706-769-1131 and my cell phone is 706-372-1062. My email is danjmatt@bellsouth.net or danmatt@hotmail.com. I will be glad to comment on this or any story, but evidently I am not viable enough for him.

How does he know that I did not meet with President Obama last week to plan to run for this office? He does not, and did not check. How does he know that Congressman John Barrow is not going to run for the US Senate slot currently held by Saxby Chambliss? He does not, because he did not call him either. How does he know that Rich Rusk, or Becky Vaughn, or Samantha Purcell are not going to run for Paul Broun's soon-to-be former Congressional seat? He does not, because he did not take the time to ask anyone but the same old Republican good old boys spoon-fed to him by the party apparatus.

The headline of the story in today's Enterprise weekly newspaper declares that "Broun eyes Senate seat." Among other things I learned from this article written in a big hurry by Blake Giles is that Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols has moved to Oconee County from Winterville, and I welcome him here. Evidently he is not going to run for higher office anytime soon. He at least sent an email back to Blake in time for the deadline. Again, I welcome Commisioner Echols and his wife Windy and their considerable family to Oconee County. We need all the immigrants we can get here.

Blake Giles had time to call current State Senator Bill Cowsert, who did not return his call in time. He could not reach former State Senator Doug McKillip, who has law offices almost across the street from Cowsert in Athens. Most likely Doug will run for Cowsert's seat once Bill runs against John "Comtempt" Douglas for Paul Broun's seat in the US Congress. But once again Doug did not call Blake back in time to get a quote.

So who mentioned these names? I would wager the chair of the Oconee County GOP, but of course citing sources has never been the strong suit of this writer. Blake is a good and experienced journalist, and I give him credit for writing a decent article in a very little time under intense deadline pressure. He did get germane quotes from Oconee County commissioners Jim Luke and Chairman Melvin Davis, who we all know are not exactly best friends these days in the post-Chuck Horton era. I would urge Chuck to consider running for any one of the opening offices that will come open soon, but any encouragement I give him will be considered the kiss of death round these parts.

My biggest complaint is that Democratic candidates, leaders, and members of the Oconee County Democratic committee are not allowed to even enter the marketplace of ideas around here. I brought a sheet of our committee members to the office of the Oconee Enterprise to attempt to get some quotes or emails or at least a passing glance from Blake. I have talked with Maridee Williams at length about this perceived snub and how Democrats are largely ignored by the media in this county.

I may be making a mountain out of a mole hill, but all I want is a seat at the table. We have opinions, we have run for office, we may run for office again locally, but are never going to get there without a little bit of equal coverage by the county organ. I know Miss Vinnie Williams is an old school Democratic woman of courage and decency, and I hope she hammers home to Blake and anyone else that Democratic leaders in Oconee County should be consulted, quoted, cited, referenced and otherwise used as news sources just like their Republican counter parts here locally.

Once upon a time, back before Bob Smith was elected, Oconee County was pretty solidly Democratic with leaders like Frank Stancil at the helm. We still have meetings, we still have business owners, we still want the best for Oconee County. We still work in the county governments, we still work in the municipal governments and teach in schools and work in farms and grocery stores and libraries. But we can't get a reporter from the Oconee Enterprise to call us up unless we spend money on advertising. That's OK, the squeaky wheel does get greased and I will keep writing letters to the editor.

I was amused by some of the street poll responses including my good friend David Weeks, now a former Board of Education member, who wants Mack Guest to run for Senate. I would think he would be a better candidate for Congress or more likely Oconee County Board of Commissioners. People have a long institutional memory around here, but without a little bit of equal coverage.

I am listening to US Senator Saxby Chambliss (Republican - Moultrie) grill CIA Secretary nominee John Brennan before the public hearings about secret targeting killing of terrorists with drones beofre the Select Intelligence Committee. Blake Giles has a son who works at Git-Mo (Guantanamo) in Cuba.  I salute Blake's son for his service, and I think the world of Blake for his decades of journalism, but give us a little bit of coverage, please?
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