Sunday, March 30, 2008

Don Siegelman coverage ~ The B'ham News is crowing and The Decatur Daily is speculating

On a recent Daily Kos post I asked How will Alabama's media explain Don Siegelman's release? Well, they are hardly eating crow if the B'ham News' A federal appeals court ruled former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman can stay out of prison for now and may have valid grounds to appeal his public corruption conviction is representative. They opine:

His release is no affront to taxpayers or to justice, assuming the court didn't give Siegelman any consideration it wouldn't give any other defendant. ...

The bigger issue is whether Siegelman's conviction will stand. ...

But it's foolish to predict victory for Siegelman at this point. ...

That doesn't mean the 11th Circuit has made up its mind. ...

In our view, Siegelman's actions leading to this case didn't serve the taxpayers' interests at all, and his justifications of those actions reflect a terribly cynical and sad view of political service. His actions as part of this criminal case haven't always reflected well on him, either.

With all the clamor about injustice in this case, a number of people already have decided Siegelman didn't get a fair deal. But the legal process must take place apart from the political sideshow that has accompanied so much of this case. It's important to note that most of the talk about political conspiracies and Karl Rove schemes hasn't come in court filings, at least so far.

But because so many of the political allegations have taken on a life of their own, the appeals court has an extra-important role to play in ensuring the federal government took no improper shortcuts and that the case against Siegelman can withstand scrutiny.

To get in a few licks after what they've done to Don seems rather shameless. How they manage to try to stand up for "the taxpayers" seems odd. How they remind us that the appeals process isn't certain seems like a way to merely fill space. What I'd have liked them to do is look through how they've opined about this case from the get go. They are due some crow eating but we get more crowing.

Finally, I'm somewhat troubled by the Decatur Daily's Politics put Siegelman in prison, politics get him out. Their pointing out that two Clinton appointees (see update below) ruled in his favor simply offends me. Do they really impugn these Judges' integrity so cavalierly? That's totally out of bounds. That they just label Judge Mark Fuller a Republican bothers me as well. He's an active Republican with ties to the Defense Department and GOP Congressman Terry Everett plus ... but they seem to be painting with a very broad brush. "Whether the threat of the government not allowing Mr. Siegelman out to testify had anything to do with his release is speculation." So why did this make it into print? I don't follow this paper very often so I'm not sure they've covered this case or politics in general.

Thank goodness for The Anniston Star. John Gunn

UPDATE ~ March 31,2008 - No eating of crow from B'ham News but the Mobile Press-Register's JD Crowe draws up Siegelman the Avenger giving The Don prison tats and muscle. Very cute.

UPDATE ~ April 3, 2008 - Bob Martin tells us "The two United States Circuit Court judges who signed the order were Susan Black, who was appointed to the court by President George H. W. Bush, and Stanley Marcus, appointed by President Bill Clinton. " I failed to try to verify The Decatur Daily's assertion and have yet to verify Bob's. However, his specificity makes me think he's right. As is so often the case, it would appear Alabama papers go out of their way to accept and even outright spin GOP talking points.

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