Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tennessean Gives $15K to Music City Center Cause

Posted By on Tue, Jan 19, 2010 at 4:20 PM

click to enlarge oie_tennessean_780.jpg
Remember when McNeely Pigott & Fox was under attack for blowing a half-million dollars of taxpayer money to flack for the Music City Center? Among the other ridiculous expenses, reporters noted the galling tidbit that it cost all of us $2,500 for MP&F to coach Gail Kerr on how to write a puff piece for the new convention center, which she dutifully did. At the time, Tennessean editor Mark Silverman was outraged that any other media outlet would question the heretofore unsullied integrity of Nashville's mighty Gannett product. In a Sunday column, which is no longer available online, Silverman tossed out a slew of defenses. Among them: The paper's newsroom staff signs ethics agreements pledging not to favor one side or take gifts from anyone. So what are we to think now that the Music City Center Coalition has made public its list of donors? You guessed it--that little mom 'n' pop outfit known as The Tennessean is on the list for giving $5,000 $15,000.The ban on gifts must apply only to largesse coming in to the newsroom grunts. (Send back that fruit basket right this moment!) Bet the bigwigs at 1100 Broadway never suspected this list ever would go public. Whoopsies! Update: Silverman denies any knowledge. "I was as surprised as you were." So he checked into it. The Tennessean actually gave and gave and gave, he tells Post Politics--three times for a total of $15,000. Update II: Michael Cass blogs about the release of this list but neglects to mention one little thing that probably did pop into his mind as possibly newsworthy when he saw the names of the givers. Update III: In the comment section, Bruce Barry weighs in: "Silverman gets the ethics here stunningly and embarrassingly wrong." Update IV: Cass gets around to mentioning his paper's contribution in the morning's dead-tree edition but says it was "unbeknownst to the newsroom or the editorial board."

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