GPB and the AJC: Partners in Crime?

Citizen-Kane--007by Brian Bannon

It’s now been almost three weeks since Rodney Ho’s in-depth look at WABE’s most recent fund drive results, its overall financial health, staffing levels, audience response to its format change, etc. Despite comments and calls for a similar look at scandal-plagued Georgia Public Broadcasting, no such investigation has appeared.

In the past, I’ve written critically of Mr. Ho’s reporting on GPB throughout its theft of WRAS in a secret, backroom deal that excluded the students who continue to fund the station. Now I can’t help but wonder if blame lies further up.

Are Mr. Ho and other AJC reporters being told not to investigate GPB?

I’ve exchanged emails with the AJC’s contact for press inquiries, Drue Miller, asking for a full disclosure of any partnership with GPB. Is it a formal, written agreement? Does it require the AJC to share stories and make its journalists available for appearances on GPB’s radio shows? When did it begin and what, if any, ethical guidelines are in place to govern against conflicts of interest?

No answers or statements on the partnership have been forthcoming.

GPB is widely viewed as a corrupt state agency. The AJC itself wrote of its cronyism throughout the Chip Rogers affair. Suddenly, once a new Atlanta outlet and statewide political and news programs started, the AJC reporters began making weekly appearances on GPB, and critical coverage of the network stopped.

Just this week, the paper’s education blogger Maureen Downey was a guest to discuss public schools “in the wake of the Atlanta cheating scandal.” Again. The AJC’s coverage of the APS story was certainly laudatory, as they’ll tell anyone and everyone over and over. But misappropriation of GSU’s student activity fees goes unexamined. Especially when it’s among friends.

The disturbing conclusion is that the AJC, whether willingly or out of willful ignorance, decided to partner with corruption rather than expose it.

Maybe if this were a scandal involving black, inner-city school teachers instead of white, well-connected political and media elites, the AJC would finally give a shit. For now, they’re covering up corruption like the dew.

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