By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
For almost two years, the Alabama Political Reporter has accurately reported the misdealings of Republican Mike Hubbard. Through thoroughly researched reports we have made evident Hubbard’s many unscrupulous schemes to use his office and position to circumvent the law and enrich himself.
When we first began to bring to light the many dubious affairs of Hubbard, he met our reporting with simple denials. We were dismissed as up-starts, looking to cause problems. As our reporting progressed, Hubbard had his people try to smear us personally.
Then his minions contacted our advertisers, such as Troy University and informed them that the Speaker of the House did not want them to support us with advertising dollars. We lost Troy University and others.
His campaign of destruction went so far that a lobbyist for ALFA was heard saying at the State House, “Don’t get close to them, they are on the Speaker’s hit list.”
Imagine, a representative of one of the most powerful and respected organizations in Alabama, warning against association with members of the press corps because they were on the Speaker’s hit list.
What is even more outrageous is the fact that the Speaker would be so desperate to cover-up his activities, that he would try to destroy members of the press; personally and financially. Trying to cripple the press has been a pattern all-too familiar in the history of our State and Nation. When simple denial of fact fails, the would-be felon turns to destroying the messenger.
Hubbard made it widely known that not only were we, the Alabama Political Reporter, on his hit list, but that we were “wrong and crazy.”
Not only did he put “the fear of Hubbard” into those who might advertise with us, he enlisted a host of so-called media personalities to smear our reputation with lies, half facts and innuendo.
When these ham-fisted tactics did not stop the flow of reporting on his vast network of self-enrichment and using his office for personal gains, he even tried to have our press credentials at the StateHouse revoked.
For this he used such men as Senators Phil Williams and Bryan Taylor.
Yes, the Speaker used every means he could employ to distort, destroy and stop our reporting.
The one thing Hubbard and his surrogates have never done is challenge our facts. Once it became apparent that the facts of our reporting were being taken seriously and that Hubbard was in real legal trouble, a new method of intimidation was employed.
A disparate Hubbard hired the high-priced, criminal defense attorney, J. Mark White. White brought with him a team of lawyers and investigators to exposes and prosecute those who were making so-called “libelous” statements against the Speaker and his family. Hubbard and company even tried to solicit member of what he called the legitimate press to speak out against us and any who might speak the truth about him. White called some in the press corps in an effort to have them help in discrediting “bloggers.”
At the Alabama Political Reporter we do not consider ourselves bloggers. We are not merely expressing opinions, nor are we hobbyists with an agenda. The men and women who make-up the core of our news reporting are veteran journalists, who follow the best practices of our trade.
But Hubbard and company are not content to just accuse us of some dire motivation. Lately, he has been saying that Matt Hart, the head of the State’s white-collar crime division is “crazy and unstable.” He has gone so far as to say that Attorney General, Luther Strange, has arranged his prosecution because Strange wants to be Governor someday.
The Hubbards of the World are what make the people distrust government. The fact that not one politician stood up to Hubbard’s corruption is perhaps the worst insult added to the injury.
The fact that Hubbard has been exposed and may soon be prosecuted is a testament to our country’s First Amendment, where no would-be prince or dictator is exempt from the relentless investigation of a free press.
When a free press is joined by honest law-enforcement the state is better for it.
That AG Luther Strange and his staff would have the courage to face down those who would use their office for personal gain shows that Strange and his people are driven by principle and not party.