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The Augusta Chronicle’s June 14th editorial “From witch hunt to snipe hunt” was superb and is reflective of how we feel, and we would like to commend Michael Ryan and the editorial staff for this great piece. Statements like “What a sad statement for journalism” and “ABC legal correspondent Jan Crawford observed that ‘at the end of the day, this e-mail release may say a lot more about the press and its views than it does about Palin'” are so true regarding how the media treats Sarah Palin and her entire family. No Palin is off-limits with the American media. What really drove the point home was, “How is America going to get its best and brightest to pursue productive careers in public life if they know the media are primarily lying in wait to smear them?” We wish that The Augusta Chronicle’s Columbia County publication would follow its lead and Morris Communications’ executives would show some leadership and step in.
What do we mean? We’re pretty sure that you know, but if you don’t, look no further than Barry Paschal’s writings in the Columbia County News-Times.
- Speaking of Scott Dean’s reelection bid just days before the election, “Those constituents in the sprawling District 4 are somewhat set adrift by this conveniently timed controversy. The seat is up for re-election nine days from now in the Republican primary, and Dean’s opponent simply is not a viable candidate.” Why? Because he’s not a slick smooth talking buttkisser? And, “conveniently timed controversy”? Please Paschal! Word was circulating long before you had to break down and report it. And if you recall, one news source found some credibility to the circulating words and decided to do his job and investigate. You all know the rest. WGAC broke the story, and Paschal had to speak of it.
- Just days before the 2010 Republican primary (no Democratic challengers, so this was for all the marbles), Paschal wrote:
In the rest of the county, there’s been an odd proxy war going on between Blanchard and Calhoun Real Estate and commercial developer and self-storage-business owner George Snelling.
Snelling is a rabid supporter of Brett McGuire, who is challenging County Commission Chairman Ron Cross in the July 20 Republican primary. Snelling recently sent a letter to fellow West Lake residents repeating McGuire’s attacks on Cross.
Outside West Lake, an easy way to find which commercial properties belong to Snelling is to look for the giant McGuire signs out front.
In what seems to be a direct response, many properties owned or managed by Blanchard and Calhoun around the area have sprouted Ron Cross signs.
I just hope the campaigns take them down after the primary. A pox on all their houses if they don’t.
It’s impossible to mention George Snelling during the campaign season without noting his bullying errand-boy: Jim Bartley.
The public last met Bartley when he ran as a Democrat back in 2000 against County Commissioner Diane Ford. Since then he’s busied himself with various political mischief – he says it is his only hobby – and is now both a member of the executive board of the Columbia County Republican Party and live-in companion of party chair Pat Goodwin.
Bartley was one of the people who orchestrated the ouster of former GOP chairman Lawrence Hammond, largely because Hammond was friendly to Cross. That opened the way for Goodwin’s ascent.
Bartley also is the person behind anti-Cross newspaper ads and direct-mail pieces from the “Columbia County Taxpayors (sic) Council.” Bartley incorporated the organization a year and a half ago. The address it lists on a mailer is one of Snelling’s many self-storage businesses.
OK Barry…”McGuire’s attacks on Cross”? What attacks? McGuire never attacked Cross. He did put numbers/data supplied by Columbia County on to poster board and showed increasing debt and other factual data. Yes, Paschal would call things like this an attack. “It’s impossible to mention George Snelling during the campaign season without noting his bullying errand-boy: Jim Bartley.” WHOA! Private citizen Jim Bartley is private citizen Snelling’s “bullying errand-boy”? How so? Proof? Libel? Defamation? So what…don’t fall in line behind Ron “Steve Spurrier look-a-like” Cross, Barry Paschal and Morris Communications will use the First Amendment to speak ill of you. Speaking of Jim Bartley, Paschal wrote that “he’s busied himself with various political mischief – he says it is his only hobby – and is now both a member of the executive board of the Columbia County Republican Party and live-in companion of party chair Pat Goodwin.” WHOA! Burried himself with various political mischief? What do you mean? Paschal stoops so low, that he reports the living arrangements of Bartley and Pat Goodwin. Who reports of living arrangements of two consenting adults? Who without proof (or with proof) implies that someone slept his or her way “to the top” as Paschal basically implied? But, don’t goose step behind Ron Spurrier Cross, you best be prepared to be on the receiving end of the Morris & Paschal First Amendment liberty. Perhaps we should report on the living arrangements of Paschal and his family? No. Not now. We’re better than that. Why did Paschal refuse to report about letters sent to entire commission districts by County Commissioners begging for votes for Cross? You can read the rest…but you see the evidence of Paschal’s bitterness towards those who oppose Ron Cross. And get this…HE’S THE PUBLISHER! Funny though, Paschal never ever spoke this way of Ron Cross, Cross’ errand-boy Scott Dean, Cross’ son-in-law and sparring partner, Mike “Where’s the camera and microphone” Sleeper, Judge Bobby Christine, or Trey Allen. Paschal obviously has an agenda and will have to explain his actions to his boss when the truth is discovered about those he refuses to write about in a negative way..
- Let’s file this under, it’s so self-explanatory: “There’s been so much nastiness heaped on this campaign season that friendships will be permanently broken”, and, “May the best candidates win. And if you’re curious, I’m voting for Ron Cross. Take that, nuts and crazies.” WHOA! A bit sensationalized? Hey y’all, if you don’t support Ron Cross, you’re a nut and crazy. Not just a nut. Not just a crazy. But a nut AND a crazy. So to all of you 6,125 people who voted for Ron Cross’ opponent, Dr. Barry Paschal labled you as being nuts and crazy,…oh, and rabid too (see next paragraph), and, violated doctor-patient confidentiality by disclosing his diagnosis of each. Our opinion is that Barry Paschal is nuts and crazy, and we have no medical records and observations to support this, but just look at how he belittles candidates, how he belittles candidates’ supporters, look at how he responds to people on forums, just look! Did you notice how Paschal makes grand allegations with such big words against McGuire but never states what McGuire allegedly did?
- And then we have, “Frankly, I’m surprised the rabid supporters of Brett McGuire didn’t make even the tiniest peep about news of the county’s $27.5 million ‘reserve’ fund.” If you support Ron Cross’ opponent, you are a “rabid supporter”. Quick, notify Pam Tucker and Animal Control and report that there are 6,125 rabid people roaming about Columbia County.
What those numbers won’t tell future voters is this: That six-point spread is as wide as the Grand Canyon. Make no mistake: This wasn’t just a win for Ron Cross; it was a royal beat-down for Brett McGuire.
Never before in Columbia County has there been a race as astoundingly, one-sidedly ugly as this one. A virtual tag-team of McGuire’s campaign, in tandem with Jim Bartley’s “Taxpayors (sic) Council,” pounded relentlessly on Cross.
Not only did they disparage Columbia County’s government and malign Cross’ stewardship in language that would be laughable if it wasn’t so caustic, but Bartley also bludgeoned Cross with long-dead legal issues dredged up from decades ago in Cross’ former private business.
This wasn’t even the usual faux-politeness whisper campaign that permeates politics; this was unhinged primal screaming.
Yet Cross won. They threw everything they had at him, and Cross still won. The gates held. The attackers failed.
If this were a poker game, McGuire’s people put all their chips on his victory and busted. But it goes much deeper than that; the losers so overplayed their hands that they bankrupted any future they might have had in Columbia County politics. They won’t be welcome if they try to return to the game.
That starts with the challenger himself. Brett McGuire is now officially a three-time loser. He lost to Bill Jackson. He lost to Lee Anderson. He lost to Ron Cross.
McGuire might be tempted to run again. But people like Jackson, Anderson and Cross stay in office because they have built a base of support, and McGuire has infuriated and alienated the base of three political veterans. There isn’t much red left on that apple.
As for Bartley, while he was merely tolerated before, he now is politically radioactive. No candidate in his or her right mind would allow this loose cannon anywhere near them.
Prior to this race, would-be kingmaker George Snelling had been content to just be the money-man behind candidates; this time he took it personally, including writing an angry anti-Cross letter and sending copies to fellow West Lake residents. So did Ben Jackson, McGuire’s campaign manager, who sent a near-identical letter to fellow Jones Creek residents.
But guess what: Cross won every West Lake and Jones Creek precinct at margins larger than his overall victory. With friends like those, who needs enemies?
A more immediate political punishment is looming for Lee Benedict.
Benedict has run for office on his own twice before and lost, and this year was an early, vocal cheerleader for McGuire. But like the rest of McGuire’s camp, Benedict also went too far. With inexplicable attacks aimed at Cross’ supporters, he seemed determined to alienate as many people as possible.
That wasn’t a bright move, considering Benedict has filed to run for the school board seat of the retiring Mickie Blackburn. Two other very good candidates also are running, assuring Benedict will join McGuire as a three-time loser unless he quits to avoid the embarrassment.
There were many others who participated in this travesty. It’s human nature to rubberneck at a train wreck, but McGuire’s folks who pulled up lawn-chairs and cheered will never be able to clean up their consciences.
Congratulations to Ron Cross, though I’m sure he’s questioning whether public service is worth such grief.
WHOA! Does Paschal work for Hallmark on the side? Man! He used the First Amendment, his personal agenda, and Morris Communications’ time and equipment to bash anyone associated with Cross’ opponent. Such flowery and sensationalized language…reminds us of how Chris Matthews, Bill Maher, and Keith Olbermann report about Barack Obama and anyone who dare question anything he does. As for the “angry anti-Cross letter”, Mr. Paschal, prove it. What was written in these “angry” letters? Your biased one-sided rant is not sufficient for our readers, so why did you not quote these “angry” letters? And, is there a reason for the people to be “angry”? We have proven numerous times that there are indeed reasons for people, commoners, to be angry with Cross and certain members of the media. But the kicker is Paschal’s big finish, his last line, the one we’ll remember…“And we wonder why more people don’t run for office, and why so few people vote.” What? Is he serious? Does he read what he writes? Does he give it any thought? We really like how he calls candidates losers. What class and professionalism. We really like how he still refuses to say one word about Judge Bobby Christine violating judicial canon…more than once, and Judge Willie Saunders who also violates judicial canon. Barry Paschall still refuses to report on Ron Cross’ sweetheart land deals. Take note of what he refuses to print and what he chooses to print and how he reports it. The National Inquirer isn’t this bad. And he wonders why people don’t run for office and why so few people vote. We suspect that most candidates can take the arrows and slander and vileness hurled at them by disgruntled media hacks and pseudojournalists who use the free press to attack anyone and everyone, perhaps to compensate for their own failures or insecurities. But we also suspect that many refrain from seeking office because they don’t want this rubbish directed towards family and friends. It’s just a hunch. Remember what we reported earlier about Paschal’s “Taxpayors (sic)” comments. Remember what we reported about Paschal’s false reporting of Georgia election law. Pretty sad isn’t it?
Wow…this is long. This is going to have to be a two-parter. We should have expected as much when we decided to write this piece. When you click the links, read the comments and observe Paschal’s attitude and treatment of those who disagree with him. It’s shameless! What’s worse is that Morris Communications permits it.