Perhaps a little introspection was needed. In an otherwise strong column this past Tuesday, The Tennessean’s Tim Chavez criticizes the Metro Police Department for failing to conduct a decent investigation after hearing that guards for a private security firm were beating and robbing Hispanics. He makes a good point, except for one little thing. Chavez himself might also have known about these allegations as far back as this past spring and done nothing until the Scene reported the story this month.
A former guard for the security firm, Detection Services, has told the Scene that he phoned Chavez to alert him to the abuse of Hispanics. He said Chavez promised to look into it, but never followed up. In addition, a source tells the Scene a letter specifically detailing the allegations was faxed to The Tennessean.
For his part, Chavez doesn’t recall either talking to the guard or seeing the letter, although he acknowledges that he might well have done both.
“If people said they sent me something, I’m sure they did. I wish I would have seen it or looked into it,” he says.
What about the phone call? “I don’t remember,” he says. “I get so many calls.”
It would seem, however, that Chavez would remember a tip about terrifying acts of abuse against Hispanics. After all, Chavez, who himself is Hispanic, is not just the liberal conscience of the paper, he is the same sensitive chap who railed against the Taco Bell Chihuahua commercials as ethnically insensitive. You would think that when actual examples of clear and present bigotry surface, he’d fire away.
If Chavez was alerted to the abuse of Hispanics and failed to nail this story, then he wasn’t any less negligent than the Police Department he took to task.
According to the Scene’s source, the news directors for Channels 2, 4, and 5 received the same letter that went to Chavez. They too didn’t go with the story until after the Scene reported the allegations. WKRN-Channel 2’s Matthew Zelkind says he didn’t see the letter. “I think that is something I would have remembered,” he says. The two other news directors did not return calls from the Scene.
On the subject of TV news, in true Jackie Judd-fashion, both Channel 2’s Jay Korff and Channel 4’s Jennifer Johnson have done commendable jobs advancing the Scene’s original report. Johnson has doggedly covered the Police Department’s ever-evolving response to the allegations while Korff has spoken live with Hispanics who have talked about horrifying episodes of abuse.
After four years with the team, Nashville Sounds play-by-play announcer Steve Selby was canned Friday by newly hired General Manager Tommy Moncrief. In addition to Selby, Moncrief fired five other employees in the front office.
“I was told that the new general manager wasn’t comfortable with me,” says a chagrined Selby. “This from being on the job two weeks.”
With 14 years in minor league baseball, Selby was well-regarded among his peers. In fact, on WTN’s Sportsnight, both host George Plaster and The Tennessean’s Joe Biddle lauded Selby and cited his firing as a bleak moment for the Nashville Sounds franchise.
GM Tommy Moncrief was not available for comment, but the Sounds did release a rather vacuous statement which noted that “when there is change, it often leads to difficult decisions and personnel decisions are always difficult.”
At a time when the governor’s tax plan is dominating the news, Teddy Bart’s Roundtable has done an excellent job lately debating whether it’s fair, effective, constitutional, or even needed. While TV arrived at the story late and The Tennessean has covered the matter rather selectively, the 1160 WAMB morning radio show tells you the kind of stuff that other media outlets don’tor can’t, for that matter. Teddy Bart and co-host Karlen Evins both do fine jobs, but the real delight lately has been former House Majority Leader Tommy Burnett, who does a better job promoting the governor’s tax plan than the governor himself. He isn’t exactly impartial, but only a yellow dog Democrat like Tommy can bark back at the boot-camp conservatives like Crom Carmichael and Forrest Shoaf, who seem to dominate the show’s guest list.
Isn't that romantic
Lest you think that The Tennessean’s stuffing of the ballot box in order to gain reporter Kirk Loggins a front-row seat to an execution ascends to new heights in tackiness, the paper may have been one-upped. The Salt Lake City Weekly wrote that a reporter for the area daily may have tried to bring a date to a prison execution. The Weekly wasn’t sure, however, whether the date was a romantic interest or just a “friend.”
You can contact Matt at mpulle@nashvillescene. com or 244-7989, ext 445.