Last week, I read one of your reports about me in the Nashville Scene ("Dispatches from the Health Care Battlefield," Aug. 20). It copied a Tennessee Democratic Party press release that said I was a "child abuser." That is not true.
Isn't it normal journalistic practice to actually interview someone before writing about them? Isn't it also normal journalistic practice to check the facts?
Please be advised that I was never charged with child abuse.
Perhaps you could define your comment that I was "going all ninja on a student."
Are you aware that the student involved in the incident was the one that threw the only blow in the incident? (He tried to backhand me in the face. I caught his wrist when his fingers were about two inches from my eye.) All I did was restrain him (using minimal-force techniques) and escort him to the school office. Those actions were well within what I was allowed to do under the applicable state laws.
Inside the school office, the student picked up an umbrella and repeatedly tried to stab me in the face with the point of the umbrella. Under any logic-based analysis, the above acts would make me the victim of an assault. Instead, I was the one arrested—but only after I embarrassed the school district during a Channel 4 interview about the unfairness of my firing. (And that interview was two months after the incident. So much for "parental concern.")
I tried to file criminal charges against the student, but the District Attorney's office would not take my complaint while a charge was pending against me for the same incident. They call it a "cross warrant" situation. It is their standing rule, to prevent real criminals from instigating a "he-said-she-said" situation that impeaches real witnesses to real crimes.
The case was delayed for almost a year, and then the charge ("assault," not "child abuse") was dropped. Conveniently (for Metro Government), there is a one-year statute of limitations on both the misdemeanor assault charge that I had wanted to file against the student, and on the civil torts that I had contemplated against the Metro School District. (I did file a Notice of Claim with the district. Thus, if I should decide to file a federal civil rights lawsuit against them later, they have already had proper legal notice.)
So far, I'm not inclined to file a lawsuit against the Nashville Scene. You are only mimicking what the Democratic Party tells you. And, having read your newspaper a few times in the past, I know that is standard operating procedure there.
If you persist in these libelous reports and commentaries—even after the TN Democratic Party reworded their libelous online press release—then I certainly would consider a lawsuit against your newspaper, and against you personally, at some point in the future.
Please print both a retraction and an apology. Thank you for your attention.
Support for Kovach
Jeff Woods, your article accusing Tom Kovach of going all ninja on a student is irresponsible and slanderous ("Dispatches from the Health Care Battlefield," Aug. 20). You obviously did not check your facts.
By your other reporting, such as on the Tea Party Nation, you do not know what you are talking about. I suspect that you don't really care to know the truth in any matter.
You write as if you have predetermined what you feel, rather than what is fact. If you were an editorial commenter, that would be understandable. You are a reporter. Report the truth. You do a disservice to the Scene by slander.
I hope Mr. Kovach sues you and the paper.
Donald A. Westcott
Whipped Blue Dog?
I am very disappointed in [U.S. Rep. Jim] Cooper. Let's just go ahead and call a spade a spade. Cooper is scared to death of the people who believe the Fox TV and Rush Limbaugh lies. He is terrified that the insurance industry lobbyists will target him. He is afraid that Marsha Blackburn will do to him what she did to sensible people in the Tennessee Legislature when she served there. He does not have the guts to represent his constituents. He might tell us that he is representing us with his "Blue Dog" stance, but that is kind of talk is code for "I don't have the energy or guts to explain the truth. And what the sh-- do I care since I have great health care."
Cooper at high noon
I think what we are seeing here is an attempt to rough Cooper up and the beginning rumblings of someone who has already decided to run against him in the primary in 2010.
First, "rumors" are circulating around Nashville Democrats that someone is going to take on Cooper in a primary. Then local blogs and newspapers (like The Tennessean) have a large number of letters to the editor criticizing Cooper's health care stance (or lack of one).
Second, this weekend, we have a protest outside of his office in favor of health care, providing video evidencing some intense and organized constituency support for health care.
Third, a poll comes out on Monday, a week after the initial anti-Cooper stuff, and just two days after the Democratic, anti-Cooper, pro-health care protest outside of his district office.
Finally, later the same day, the blogosphere (HuffPost, Scene, Daily Kos, other local blogs) continues to run anti-Cooper stories.
My prediction is that the local news and Tennessean might follow suit with stories of "Is Cooper in trouble?"
Seems like someone is feeding the national and Nashville-oriented media beast against Cooper. Anyone think it is coincidental that (1) this protest against Cooper and for health care occurred this weekend, then this poll dropped on Monday, and that this all happened while there is a letter-writing campaign against Cooper to The Tennessean? Sounds like someone is mobilizing a primary challenge by getting people to believe that Coop is vulnerable. He needs to be scared about losing the primary.
No pigtails Pink, just pig.
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