Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Poster Child for Local Media's Shameless Double Standards

For the third story in a row on the Metro Council's votes to approve the Mayor's proposed Convention Center Authority, City Paper reporter Nate Rau refers to Mike Jameson's invocation of council rules to delay authority approval as "obscure." Rau seems bent on spinning our interpretations of CM Jameson's actions as somehow concealed, occult, or unaccountable. Or maybe I'm just giving Rau too much credit. Maybe he doesn't know any less pejorative terms to describe rules that don't get used very much except on controversial votes.

Either way, he fails in yesterday's story on the council's second vote to be balanced or neutral in his description of Vice Mayor Diane Neighbors' use of an "obscure" rule to defeat CM Jameson's attempt to delay:
Council held Friday’s special meeting after Jameson used an obscure procedural rule to force the legislation to be reconsidered at its next meeting. Vice Mayor Diane Neighbors, at the request of several Council members, called the special meeting for Friday instead of waiting until the next meeting on Sept. 2.
Too bad no one at parent company SouthComm Publishing is motivating Rau to reconsider the truthiness of his reporting. You see, the Vice Mayor acted on the evocation of another little used rule to call a rare special session to beat CM Jameson at his own game. I give you the Vice Mayor's own exercise in "obscurity":
Pursuant to Section 3.04 of the Charter of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County and Rule 34 of the Council Rules of Procedure, we, the undersigned Members of the Metropolitan Council, respectfully request that you call a Special Meeting of the Council for the purpose of considering the motion to reconsider the vote on Resolution No. RS2009-881.
And with that Diane Neighbors (if I may apply Rau's own terms) "forced" the convention center authority plan back on the Mayor's fast track. But Rau doesn't report that Ms. Neighbors forced anything. Instead, he reports that the council "officially approved" it. As if a minority's use of the rules does not really ever count as "official."

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