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Shrimp 'n Grits

Hypocrisy thrives - Pericles accepted huge amounts of out-of-state campaign contributions in 2003
But the Palter & Chatter was silent!
Lee Walton

The Palter & Chatter can never be accused of lacking consistency, and its readers didn't have to wait long last week to be handed another classic example of its stinging, one-sided journalistic hypocrisy. Last Friday's "Candidates take out-of-state money" was another blatant example of a public, Page A-1 witch-hunt to denigrate a host of state and local Republican incumbents and candidates, because they accepted out-of-state campaign contributions from rich, single-minded donors or conservative PACs and other individuals. Starting with Governor Sanford, then working down to the local level, Adam Parker, the Palter & Chatter's latest hit-man, named six Republicans who had accepted what was inferred to be tainted money from "…outside groups promoting a policy that would destroy the public schools." Parker quoted one Democratic State House Member as saying "…by supplying certain individuals with money they will parrot the line of supporting vouchers and public dollars for private schools." Are these the twisted thoughts and impressions that the liberal owners and editors of the Palter & Chatter wish to plant in the minds of the electorate? Without political balance and unbiased reporting, the Palter & Chatter leaves its readers no other logical conclusion.

Last week's Shrimp 'n Grits referenced two recent Palter & Chatter editorials in which a City Councilman and School Board Member were each taken to the "wood shed" for what most would agree were inappropriate comments for which public apologies were in order. Shrimp 'n Grits took no issue with these reprimands, but did note the obvious and consistent lack of editorial and journalistic balance or fairness in the total absence of justifiable editorial criticism leveled at the Palter & Chatter's "…fair-haired Golden Boys or prized political sycophants." When one of their anointed few is caught with their hands in the public cookie jar or guilty of some all-to-frequent act of flagrant incompetence, the Palter & Chatter's editorial staff and political reporters either just look the other way and report nothing or slyly bury a small "blip" in the lower left corner of Section - C days afterwards.

Where were the Palter & Chatter's world-class watchdog political reporters when Mayor J. Pericles Riley filed his January 10, 2004 State Ethics Commission Campaign Disclosure Form after his 2003 winning mayoral campaign? With their heads stuck conveniently in the sands of selective journalistic amnesia, or worse, elsewhere?

For the sake of bringing political balance to the issue of out-of-state contributions, let's look at Mayor J. Pericles Riley's Campaign Disclosure Form filed after his November 2003 victory over his life-long political crony and Stalking Horse opponent Jimmy Bailey. For eye popping starters, Pericles reported a startling $963,430 in total campaign contributions to his mayoral campaign in this relatively small southern coastal city of just under 100,000 citizens; that's not only news worthy, that's disgusting.

Now for the interesting facts the Palter & Chatter didn't report - of the $243,062 reported for the last period of the 2003 campaign, $59,125 was from out-of-state contributors; that's 24.3% of this period's contributions alone. Of 127 separate out-of-state contributors, 29.1% gave the maximum allowable $ 1,000. The average out-of-state contribution was $ 465.55 during this single reporting period.

Contributors from 26 separate states were from as far away as Vancouver, Washington, Wayland, Maine, Long Beach, California and Dallas, Texas. Not surprisingly, there were also dozens of maximum $1,000 contributions from the New York City and Washington, D.C. metropolitan areas. There are probably hundreds of US House members, dozens of US Senators and many State Governors who would envy and covet such a broad nation-wide base of financial support as reported by Pericles.

If one were to assume a similar, but lower 20% of Pericles' contributions from out-of-state during the entire near $1 million campaign, Pericles in all likelihood received over $200,000 from citizens of most states in the Union who tried to exert their influence on a local mayor's race for the City of Charleston, South Carolina. There's something sinister, chilling and definitely wrong with this scenario, but apparently the Palter & Chatter didn't think so. It didn't report any of Pericles' whopping out-of-state contributions during his 2003 campaign. As usual, the Palter & Chatter did Pericles' bidding as it looked the other way and remained conspiringly silent. So much for an open, unbiased press.

Any bets on how much over $1,000,000 Pericles will collect and spend in 2007 to continue his imperial reign over his self-made Acropolis? Any bets on what the Palter & Chatter will report when the hundreds of thousands of out-of-state dollars start flowing into Pericles' Campaign War Chest during the upcoming 2007 mayoral campaign? With such out-of-state contributions flowing in like the tide, no other local candidate will have a chance to mount an effective challenge regardless of how qualified they might be. Is this the kind of open, citizen-driven government the Palter & Chatter wishes to endorse again?

How can the citizens of Charleston respect and trust the editors and owners of the Palter & Chatter as guardians of the First Amendment when they continuously witness such one-sided political mischief and control for the sake of maintaining a despot in power? Mercy!

Your Comments:

This is outrageous. What is to be gained by these out-of-state contributors? What is Lil' Joe promising them in return for their financial support?

Posted by: Tommy Manuel at October 30, 2006 02:40 PM

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