Monday, September 26, 2005


John Fund is setting the record straight. "No state turns out better demagogues than Louisiana.." he intones as he examines A Swamp of Corruption. Starting with Aaron Broussard and the sad story of his colleague's mother drowning because of the Federal delays - a story that was "embellished." It's a way of life in Louisiana.
Louisiana ranks third in the nation in the number of elected officials per capita convicted of crimes (Mississippi takes top prize). In just the past generation, the Pelican State has had a governor, an attorney general, three successive insurance commissioners, a congressman, a federal judge, a state Senate president and a swarm of local officials convicted. Last year, three top officials at Louisiana's Office of Emergency Preparedness were indicted on charges they obstructed a probe into how federal money bought out flood-prone homes. Last March the Federal Emergency Management Agency ordered Louisiana to repay $30 million in flood-control grants it had awarded to 23 parishes.
Did you know any of this? It was, in fact, in the newspapers. The New Orleans Times Picayne covered all those stories and more. The Times Picayne covered every clumsy misstep by the Mayor of New Orleans and the Governor of Louisiana. The stories are in Lexis Nexis. We may not have access to Lexis Nexis, but you can bet the baby that the New York Times does. You can bet that MSNBC does. And the Los Angeles Times. And ABC. And CBS. And NBC. And every newspaper in the country.

So why didn't you hear stories of the corruption in Louisiana or the number of mayors --15 at last count -- in New Jersey who had been indicted and tried? Why don't you hear that the Homeland Security coordinator for New Joisey was unqualified for the position and was a foreign national who couldn't attend the briefings but he got his $110,000 a year anyway? How come Cokie Roberts knows Edwin Edwards, former governor of Louisiana, is in jail and she doesn't hold him in contempt for his fraud but is mildly admiring of his ability to get things done?

Corruption in Louisiana and Mississippi is just not newsworthy to a mainstream media that plays by the same rules.

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