Friday, October 14, 2011

Star Columnist Pounds the Desk About Charlie White

Indianapolis Star's
Matthew Tully
Indianapolis Star columnist Matthew Tully pens an article this morning which he starts this way:
"Oh, Charlie White. You poor lost soul.

Our ill-equipped, scandal-plagued, felony-charged embarrassment of a secretary of state is at it again. This time he's taking his bizarre behavior to an even higher level, swinging desperately at enemies -- both real and imagined -- in a sad attempt to win back a career and a reputation that long ago were irrevocably battered."
There is a saying about argument that we lawyers have that goes like this:  "If you have the facts on your side, you pound the facts.  If you have the law on your side, you pound the law.   If you have neither the law or the facts on your side, you pound the table."

Tully in his column does the journalistic equivalent of pounding the table angrily over Charlie White.  To me that shows, he doesn't have the facts or the law on his side.

No one will accuse White of being Mr. Smooth when it came to how he handled this.  I think his self-imposed or attorney-imposed initial silence about the matter led people, such as Tully, to form opinions about the case against the Secretary of State based on information that came from only one side.  Now that White is trying to at the 13th hour present his side to the story, people like Tully reject it because they have already tried and convicted him.  They're closed-minded when it comes to additional information.

The fact is White was making a point, and a very valid one, namely that other prominent people are voting places where they clearly do not live, and yet they are being given a pass..  Ex Senator Evan Bayh's voting in May's primary using the Indianapolis condo address when he clearly lives in Washington, DC is just the latest example but not the only one.  There are, however, scores of other examples.

Did Tully address the Bayh situation in his column, pointing out why what Bayh did was not voter fraud.  Of course not.  Tully just very disingenuously ignored the point White made while pounding on the table.

Secretary of State Charlie White
But that is not the extent of Tully's disingenuous approach  He uses the indictment to suggest the criminal charges are valid.  I am even sure he knows the old saying that a grand jury would indict a ham sandwich, the process is that easy of a hurdle.  The grand jury doesn't have to be unanimous and it only hears the prosecution's case.  The prosecution does not have to introduce evidence favorable to Charlie White's case to the grand jury, and apparently did not.

Tully, of course, fails to note that the one quasi-judicial body, the Recount Commission, which heard all the facts relating to the five voter fraud type charges, including White's witnesses, found unanimously in favor of White, including the Democratic member of the commission Buddy Pylitt, a former Democratic judge.  That hearing revealed that White has four live witnesses that will testify that he was residing at his ex-wife's house. The prosecution has only a circumstantial case that he was not living there. How does Tully think those same facts are going to be received by a jury when the standard is beyond a reasonable doubt and a unanimous vote of guilty is required?

If that wasn't enough, Tully continues with his dishonest screed by suggesting the attempt to remove White is not political by citing the fact that Republicans have also called for his removal.   That doesn't mean it is not political.  Has it ever occurred to Tully that some Republicans, like Governor Mitch Daniels, would like White removed from office because they want to fill the vacancy with their person? 

Over at Advance Indiana, Gary Welsh has an interesting take on the Tully column.  My favorite is the final paragraph:
Tully can only continue to hang his hat on the fact that criminal charges against White are still pending, which as far as he is concerned is tantamount to his guilt. Has Tully ever actually sat down with a respected criminal defense attorney and discussed the substance of those criminal charges against White, particularly in light of the fact that the entire premise upon which they are based was completely shot down by the Recount Commission? Of course not. Tully, like everyone else who has preordained White's fate, will not be confused with the facts, let alone the law. Thank you, Matt, for once again reminding us why the Star and other newspapers like it is part of a fast-dying industry. You have lost the respect of the people whose trust and belief you require as a credible and honest journalist. Forget your colleagues public campaign to "Save The Star." You have earned the loss of that trust, and you will never get it back. Good luck in your next career, wherever that may take you.
I finally got around to cancelling all but my Sunday Star a few weeks ago.   The major reasons why are the lack of investigatory reporting, the poor reporting on local issues and the complete dearth of quality political columnists who are willing to even question the political establishment and conventional wisdom.   The Star's two political columnists are Matt Tully and Erika Smith.  Come on...we can't do better than that in a metro area well over 1 million people?


M Theory said...

You cancelled?

How will you live without the coupons and ads?

Jon E. Easter said...

Now you're pounding the desk, Paul. Tully's exactly right.

Marycatherine Barton said...

Dishonest screeder? Yeap, that is Matt Tully summed up. Thanks, Paul.

guy77money said...

Hmm the state of Indiana needs every bit of tax revenue it can get and Bayh with all his millions is cheating on his income tax. How pathetic!