[The] Tennessean prints article on $458,000 spent by a PR firm [McNeeley, Pigott, & Fox] lobbying council people on this project on page 5. Gaylord makes a $8,500 contribution to an organization critical of it and it's top middle of the front page.In his defense of media executives the other day, SouthComm CEO Chris Ferrell treated the influence of power brokers on reporting too literally by arguing that media investors are not directly involved in editorial decisions. Affiliations and commitments of media executives and investors have to have some sort of influence on the balance and accuracy of reporting even if that influence is unstated; especially when that influence is unstated.
Reporters and editors are accomplished and astute people. To say that their bosses' political stance would not at least subconsciously influence their professional behavior is unrealistic. If nothing else, the unequal treatment of convention center stories appears improper. The Tennessean should reflect greater balance, but it may not be able to given Ellen Leifeld's outside commitments.