I mean, don't get it twisted I do some dirt, too, but I ain't never put my gun on nobody who wasn't in the game.
~ Omar Devon Little
I've been getting many inquiries and much static, from just about all quarters, for my handling of the Sherri Goforth story. I've gotten emails. I've gotten phone calls. And, clearly, more than a few blog comments asking me just why exactly "The Story" didn't show up on Post Politics until after business hours yesterday when it had been the buzz of the blogosphere for hours and hours.
Was it because I was in the pocket of the Republicans? Was because I was covering for a "fellow racist"? Was I jealous because the Scene got to it before me? Was the rumor true that I had the email weeks ago and failed to post on it?
First of all, I don't make a lot of distinction personally between "new" and "old" media, professional and amateur journalism in this area. I try to be very conscientious about noting where I come across the links, news and commentary posted here and I don't much care who the source is. If it is a blogger, I link. If it is the Tennessean, I link.
This story was broken by Trace Sharp where I saw the story early in the morning. The distinction belongs to her and her alone.
If I were to be "jealous" of anyone it would be her because she was first. She is a serious blogger and a journalist. The Scene or any subsequent outlet who picked up on it would not affect my "editorial" judgment, as it were.
It's actually a silly accusation because while you will find original journalism on this blog most of what I do here is aggregation. I post stories from the Scene, the Tennessean, just about everywhere. This wasn't about the source or the competition, this was about the content. It was about the story itself.
I didn't believe it was one.
I still don't.
Post Politics received the email in question on June 1, 2009. It was forwarded to me just, as I imagine, it was to Trace Sharp. I made some inquiries into the matter. I ultimately decided not to run with it.
Why? It's quite simple really. Sherri Goforth is a civilian.
She is not a blogger. She is not a politician. She is not an operative. She is, essentially, a secretary. A secretary in the legislature for 20 years.
Now the email she sent was indefensible. I don't defend it. I will not defend it. It is authentically racist -- and I'm not even one who likes to throw that word around.
In my inquiries I found that Goforth had forwarded an email which was immediately recalled and deleted. Goforth was reprimanded and a letter was placed in her file. The email was, and I did look into this as well, the only email of this nature that Goforth had sent that anyone, my original source as well as others, could produce. There was no pattern of racist behavior in the workplace I could find and sanctions had already been taken against her.
Now, I'm not unfamiliar with how these things work. Had I gone with the story, what has now happened, would have happened. A career state employee would have her name on CNN and the AP wire. Calls for her termination would commence from people with an ax to grind and a political agenda to advance. She would in all likelihood be fired or asked to resign, if not immediately then after session was over.
Now, I have put people's mess in the street before -- Republicans and Democrats. But as far as I can remember, it has always been politicians, operatives and bloggers that I have pulled the trigger on. Have I linked to media reports which mentioned regular citizens by name before? Probably.
But, frankly, after making inquiries and coming to the conclusion that I did, I just didn't feel like piling on yesterday. Was that a mistake? According to many of you who value this website, it was. I understand that.
This blog, after all, is an amalgamation of the news, chatter and commentary going on in Tennessee politics. Yesterday, today and likely for the rest of this week, Sherri Goforth is "The Big Thing."
Everyone was and will be talking about it. Regardless of my personal feelings about pulling the trigger initially, was it my job to ride to the sound of guns once the game was on?
I don't know. If it was, it was a part of my job that I didn't like, and like many employees I elected to put it off until it could no longer be put off. As Trace Sharpe herself likes to say, I'll own that.
Now anyone who knows me knows that pageviews are more dear to me than anything. I have little love for either ideologies or political parties. But if I did, those loves would never trump that which I have for web traffic. It's what has kept me employed for as long as I have doing something I truly love.
I would never, not for one second, sacrifice pageviews to defend a political party. I sacrificed them because I didn't believe the story was news.
I sacrificed them because Sherri Goforth is a working woman. She has not put herself up for office, she is not crafting messages or legislation. She is not a political operator.
If some of the folks who received the email had sent it rather than received it, it would have been different. But that wasn't the case.
The legislature is not Congress. Not everyone who works there is working on bills, legislation and other "Real Important Business." Some folks who work there are just glorified secretaries. That is what Sherri Goforth is, no offense intended. All this hullabaloo, in the final analysis, is over a secretary who forwarded an email from one of her white trash friends. That's what this is. That's all this is.
Yes, her email does fit superficially into an ongoing narrative of the TNGOP as an organization right around the edge (which side of the line is a matter of opinion) of the line of racial propriety. As such, I see how it could be interpreted as news. But that's not the reality.
Sherri Goforth is not Chip Saltsman. She is not Bill Hobbs. She is not Robin Smith. She ain't even Scott Gilmer. She's not a player in game. In my mind, it would be akin to an infantryman shooting a enemy army cook in the back of the head.
I had the ammo, I took aim, but I viewed my potential victim as a civilian and I held my fire. That's what happened.
- ALEX B FRUIN INHERITANCE TRUST; CANDACE F STEFANSIC INHERITANCE TRUST; CANDANCE F STEFANSIC INHERITANCE TRUST; FRUIN, ALEX B TRUSTEE; FRUIN ALEX B INHERITANCE TRUST; STEFANSIC, CANDACE F TRUSTEE; STEFANSIC CANDACE F INHERITANCE TRUST; STEFANSIC CANDANCE F INHERITANCE TRUST
- ROSS, BRIDGETT D
- COOKE, ETHEN LANYARD TRUSTEE; COOKE, ETHEN LEWIS ESTATE
- JACOBS, JESSICA ALEXANDRA; JACOBS, ERIKA BESS