Looking Back at 2007: The Calm Before the Storm
Remembering how the South’s only progressive Governor became America’s #1 political prisoner.
For the next 107 days we will travel back in time, through the eyes of the media concerning the Don Siegelman Case to try to figure out what happened, how it happened, and whether it is happening in your state. (Don Siegelman’s earliest release date is on February 8, 2017. The BOP has final say on the date of release.)
The Calm before the Media Storm
The media – from the mainstream to the alternative – covered the Don Siegelman Prosecution with enthusiasm. However, that coverage did not start in earnest until the summer of 2007 when a republican lawyer blew the whistle on Karl Rove’s involvement in the Siegelman case.
Back in early 2007, that had not happened yet.
The Kiplinger Letter 3.28.01
In early 2001, The Kiplinger Letter posted that Governor Don Siegelman is the dark horse candidate who could wreck the Republican Southern strategy and emerge as the Democratic nominee “IF he wins reelection in 2002.”
There were already forces underground that were working to keep that from happening.
Local Media: Eddie Curran
In early 2007 the Alabama media was largely more sympathetic to the prosecution team in the Siegelman case. We all were. Our Justice Department would never set up a politician for prosecution to effect the outcome of an election! That is the methodology of dictators and despots! Exemplifying this local reporting was Eddie Curran at the Mobile Press Register (reporter ’88 to ’08.) Curran’s pieces attacking Siegelman began to appear back in ’01, a year after the investigation of Siegelman began in Alabama Attorney General, William Pryor’s, office. He wrote to convince readers that Siegelman was criminal, Bob Riley was the ethical candidate, the Siegelman prosecutors were sincere, and U.S. Judge Mark Fuller was honorable.
The negative journalism about Siegelman in the Alabama newspapers did have an impact on his career. His previous landslide victory gave way to a neck to neck battle against Republican contender, Bob Riley. Nevertheless, despite little backing from the local press, Siegelman won, albeit with a razor thin victory.
That is, he was declared the winner until a computer glitch gave the race to to Riley. The glitch was discovered after all the poll workers had gone home, and only changed the votes in the Governor’s column. But that is another story.
On the National Front
Far away in Washington, DC, the media was reporting on the Attorneys General Scandals. Allegations were made that Karl Rove directed the firings of AG’s for refusing to prosecute political enemies of the Republican party.
McCain Slams Abramoff at Senate Hearing 6.22.05
On another seemingly unrelated front, Abramoff and Scanlon were being investigated by the U.S Indian Affairs Committee. John McCain, who headed up the committee, questioned Abramoff about laundering $20M from the Mississippi Choctaws to …. where? And for what in exchange? That was buried in the Congressional notes.
It later came out that that money was laundered into the Alabama Governor’s race to defeat Siegelman and his lottery. The Quid Pro Quo was that Governor Riley would protect the Mississippi Choctaw’s gambling interests by keeping the education lottery and other gambling out of Alabama.
The Political Profiling of Elected Democratic Officials: When Rhetorical Vision Participation Runs Amok
In February of ’07 Epluribus Media published a survey that revealed under the Bush presidency, democratic officials are prosecuted 7x more than republican officials. This anomaly exceeds even racial profiling statistics.
Anniston Star 5.30.07
Editorial: Did Siegelman Receive Justice? paywall
The rare editorial, like this one in the Anniston Star saw a connection between the Attorneys General Scandal and the Siegelman Case.
The editorial opined that “. . in the Recent Justice Department e-mails and public statements from the key players in the Bush DOJ indicate that loyalty often was measured by the number of Democratic politicians a Bush-appointed prosecutor could drag into an investigation prior to election day.
The explosive testimony of Jill Simpson that set the media on fire.