Thursday, July 07, 2011

Tennessean ramps up the "rant" again about CM Hollin, insinuates that he could be punished when he cannot be

Tennessean headline on Hollin story. And it was all yellow.

Yesterday the editors at the Tennessean changed their original headline on CM Jamie Hollin's tongue-lashing of CMs Jim Gotto and Phil Claiborne from "rant" to "curses at", which seems to me closer to the idea of journalistic objectivity. This morning, they are back to sensationalizing the story like those kids you may remember from elementary school who would not just watch a fight, but would run up and down yelling "Fight! Fight!" to pull more kids into the audience as if they were aspiring promoters.

If that were not enough, Tennessean intern Adam Tamburin, writing more like the hall monitor, suggests the possibility that Vice Mayor Diane Neighbors could somehow discipline Hollin for yelling and cursing in a parking garage. As if the marm could send Hollin to the principal's office:

No disciplinary action will be taken against Metro Councilman Jamie Hollin in the wake of his profanity-laced argument with two council members on Tuesday, the vice mayor said.

Adam Tamburin reports cussing
Vice Mayor Diane Neighbors, who oversees council meetings, said Hollin would go unpunished for his “inappropriate” behavior during and after the last council meeting.

“There is nothing (regarding the punishment of council members) in our rules,” Neighbors said. “You are expected to be civil and respectful to one another, and that didn’t happen last night” ....

Neighbors said council members are typically informally asked to stop disruptive behavior in the chambers.

“I wish he had not yelled at the other council members, but he did it,” she said. “It was inappropriate.”

This event barely disrupts the Vice Mayor's generally robotic, orchestrated, and undemocratic meetings (democracy being a more rowdy and contentious affair). But how did the intern invent the premise that discipline was ever a possibility? And, seriously, are there not more significant pieces of news out there to cover on Metro Council that affect the public welfare than an extracurricular scrum over obscure council procedure?


  1. I wonder how many council members have urinated in that same parking garage after a council meeting?

  2. Coverage of the event is helpful in understanding who is representing us. Aside from votes (or non-votes, in the case of Hollin with the home-based business bill, right?), there's precious little we can know about these people.

    Campaigns and meet-and-greets provide a relatively controlled enviroment for the council member to express himself. I think the Tennessean's coverage in this case is useful, and not dissimilar to what is sometimes highlighted here on your blog.

    The fact that it is being covered at all is good.

    That said, I won't quibble with your admonishment on the use of "rant" or coverage that starts with a premise that punishment is an available option (when it is not). I probably agree with you.

  3. Gotto and Claiborne somehow think the South will rise again.