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FCC to Police America’s Newsrooms

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Birmingham/Hoover area talk-radio personality Michael Hart, 101.5 FM, spoke Thursday night, February 20, 2014, to the Rainy Day Patriots about an Obama administration plan that would put government researchers into newsrooms across the country to report back to the Federal Communications Commission about the reporting at the TV or radio stations. The FCC has long claimed jurisdiction over those newsrooms because of the necessity of their having to have a license in order to operate. The FCC however is extending this reportedly ‘voluntary’ study to include legacy media such as newspapers as well as internet media outlets like the Alabama Political Reporter.

The stated purpose of this study is to “identify and understand the critical information needs of the American public, with special emphasis on vulnerable-disadvantaged populations.”

Michael Hart said this news, “Was absolutely stunning to me.”  Under the terms of the FCC’s Critical Information Need (CIN) the FEC will begin to sit inside TV and radio and newspaper newsrooms.  Hart said that it is, “Unbelievably dangerous to how constitutional rights are being encroached upon.”

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai writing in the Wall Street Journal warned that the May 2013 plan would stifle the freedom of the press.  Pai wrote, “The American people, for their part, disagree about what they want to watch,” wrote Pai, appointed to the FCC’s five-member commission in May 2012 by President Obama. “But everyone should agree on this: The government has no place pressuring media organizations into covering certain stories.”

Hart warned that this could eventually lead to the loss all of our free press rights.  “Newspapers will not be exempt.  There will be federal monitors in every newsroom beginning in two months.”  “This administration has run positively amuck.”  “Government is making an effort to seize control of the media.”  “All broadcast facilities are on constant lockdown by law to protect against seizure by a foreign government in case we are invaded.  Our own government is now making an effort to seize control of its own media.”

105.5 FM talk radio host Leah Brandon said, “Talk Radio is their target. The only newsrooms where conservative journalists still work. They know that station mgmt will cave and we will cover their man made global warming nonsense, give out false Obamacare numbers, stay quiet on Benghazi, drop the IRS targeting scandals, report lies about the unemployment numbers, wont dare mention the AP Wiretapping scandal or The NSA scandal or Fast and Furious and will quit whining about the debt. That’s just for starters. Conservative journalists will quit before doing that. They will quit when the monitor shows up. As for FOX NEWS….this President has a pen and a phone. Jurisdiction?”  Ms. Brandon posted a link to the Commissioner Pai editorial.

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Hart said that this, “Is happening on our watch.”  “If you are a Christian this should scare the Hell out of you.  “The nation that we grew up in is lost.”

Critics of the plan warned that it could lead to the revival of the 1949 Fairness Doctrine, which stifled debate at TV and radio stations throughout the 1960s and ’70s.  The agency stopped enforcing the policy in the late 1980s, and then-FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski eliminated it in August 2011.

Although at this point the plan is reportedly voluntary, Michael Hart said that the TV and radio stations have to have their FCC licenses renewed every eight years.  Hart compared this plan to tactics used by repressive regimes all over the world, including in the former Soviet Union.

The Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, Jay Sekulow said, “This is an extremely troubling and dangerous development that represents the latest in an ongoing assault on the Constitution by the Obama administration.  The federal government has no place attempting to control the media, using the unconstitutional actions of repressive regimes to squelch free speech.”

News-talk radio host Steve West said on Facebook, “When it becomes illegal to criticize the government, will THAT finally wake Americans up to the reality that their freedoms are gone? Nothing else seems to.”

The new project is expected to start this spring with a field test in Columbia, S.C.

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with eight and a half years at Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook. Brandon is a native of Moody, Alabama, a graduate of Auburn University, and a seventh generation Alabamian.

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Judge refuses to dismiss Roy Moore lawsuit against Sacha Baron Cohen

A federal judge last week refused to dismiss a lawsuit against Sacha Baron Cohen, Showtime and CBS filed by former Senate candidate Roy Moore.

Brandon Moseley

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Roy Moore, left, and Sacha Baron Cohen, right, on Cohen's now-canceled show "Who Is America?" (Showtime/YouTube)

Federal Judge Andrew Carter last week refused to dismiss a lawsuit against Sacha Baron Cohen, Showtime and CBS. The lawsuit was filed by former U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore and his wife Kayla Moore, who claim that Cohen slandered Moore as a pedophile on his now-canceled show “Who is America?”

After the judge denied Cohen’s request to dismiss the $95 million lawsuit, the case will now proceed to discovery, where the Moores announced that they intend to take the depositions of and obtain evidence from Cohen and other relevant individuals at Showtime, CBS and their related entities.

The Moores had put the defendants on notice that if they aired the offensive and defamatory interview by Cohen, who posed in disguise as an Israeli Mossad agent, that they would be sued for large damages. When the defendants did not heed the warning and aired the interview anyway, the Moores brought their lawsuit.

The case is being litigated in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York after it was transferred over a year ago from a federal court in Washington D.C.

“We are gratified that the Court is allowing the Moores’ case to go forward and we look forward to putting Cohen and the other defendants under oath,” said Larry Klayman, founder of Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch, and a former federal prosecutor. “The alleged defamation of Chief Justice Moore was malicious and despicable and it is time that a jury of the parties’ peers allow justice to be done. Great harm has been caused to my clients, which must be addressed and remedied.”

In 2017, Moore, the former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme court, was the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate. The Washington Post released an investigation that alleged Moore sexually abused young women in the 1970s. Moore denied the accusations.

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Elections

Sessions: Tuberville’s fraud scandal “can’t just be swept under the rug”

Jeff Sessions criticized Tuberville’s actions as a “major fraud scheme that bilked large sums of money from hardworking people,” which “can’t just be swept under the rug.”

Brandon Moseley

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GOP Senate candidates Jeff Sessions (left) and Tommy Tuberville (right).

After The New York Times published an investigation into a financial fraud scandal involving Republican Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville, his opponent, former Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions, criticized Tuberville’s actions as a “major fraud scheme that bilked large sums of money from hardworking people,” which “can’t just be swept under the rug.”

“This is an astounding story,” Sessions said. “Based on the facts already uncovered, it is clear that Tommy Tuberville was one of two partners in a major hedge fund fraud scheme that bilked large sums of money from hardworking people, including Alabamians.”

Tuberville’s partner was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the scheme by the court in Opelika, while Tuberville was sued for fraud, paying out a sum of money in a private settlement that has been kept out of the public eye.

“This can’t just be swept under the rug, and Tuberville can’t just brush it aside by falsely claiming he was some innocent victim,” Sessions said. “Indeed, he was a victimizer and held himself out as the ‘managing partner’ of the firm. Tuberville must give a full and complete accounting of this scandal. The people of Alabama deserve to know the complete truth now, before the election, about the man who is asking to be their senator.”

This scandal has been widely talked about in Republican circles for months or longer, but The New York Times article details the allegations for one of the first times in the national spotlight.

Tuberville became a full partner in a hedge fund with former Lehman Brothers broker John David Stroud. Their ventures included TS Capital Management and TS Capital Partners. The T stands for Tuberville and the S for Stroud.

Tuberville did not pick which stocks to buy or sell, and as the head football coach at Texas Tech University and later at the University of Cincinnati, he was not even a frequent presence in the office. Tuberville introduced Stroud to potential investors and even had business cards identifying himself as managing partner. He also leased a BMW and got his health insurance through the company.

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The firm’s offices in Auburn were filled with his coaching memorabilia. In 2010, he traveled to New York with Stroud to meet potential brokers, and was kept in the loop on decisions about hiring. A source told APR that a number of SEC coaches were among the people defrauded by TS Capital.

When the money was all lost, Stroud was sentenced to 10 years in prison and Tuberville was sued by the investors for fraud and failure to carry out his fiduciary duties. Tuberville reportedly lost $450,000 of his own money and then had to pay out more than $1 million to the investors. The New York Times reported that his total losses were more than $2 million.

The financial scandal has many Republicans concerned about the viability of Tuberville’s general election campaign to unseat incumbent Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama.

“I think that Tuberville did not do anything wrong,” said Rev. John Killian, a conservative activist. “He is a good man, but the Doug Jones campaign, they would use this to the ninth degree.”

“They will shoot Tuberville up in 30 second and 60 second TV spots,” Killian added. “I don’t think Tuberville is crooked, but Doug Jones has $10 million to spend. I think they are lying in wait for Tuberville like they were for Roy Moore.”

Killian said that he will support Tuberville if he wins the Republican nomination, but that he is supporting Jeff Sessions in the primary because he is the strongest general election candidate to face Jones.

Tuberville supporter and Trump Victory National Committee member Perry Hooper Jr. was dismissive of assertions that Tuberville could be vulnerable.

“Coach has a commanding lead. He will win the run-off, and he will crush Doug Jones in the general election in November,” Hooper told APR.

Tuberville maintains that he was a victim of the fraud — not a perpetrator.

“They sued me because I invested in it, and he used my name to get other people to put money in,” Tuberville said. “There was nothing ever implicated by anybody that I’d done anything wrong. I felt bad that he used my name.”

The New York Times has asked Tuberville to release the plaintiffs from their confidentiality agreement. Tuberville to this point has declined. Stroud has been released from prison but has not commented on his relationship with Tuberville. Tuberville faces Sessions in the July 14 Republican runoff.

President Donald Trump has endorsed Tuberville, and Tuberville is leading Sessions in most available polling.

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Lauderdale Republicans pass resolution defending Florence Confederate monument

Lauderdale County Republicans responded to calls to take down a local monument by passing a resolution urging elected leaders to oppose its removal.

Brandon Moseley

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Confederate statue in Florence, Alabama. (via Library of Congress)

The Lauderdale County Republican Executive Committee passed a resolution Thursday, by a unanimous vote, urging the Lauderdale County Commission and Florence City Council to take a stand and defend the Confederate monument in Florence.

The monument was erected to Alabamians who fought and died for the Confederate States of America during the Civil War. A growing number of people today say that they fought to defend slavery and that Confederate monuments instead are symbols of white oppression over Black Americans and should be removed from public places.

The Lauderdale County Republicans responded to these calls to take down their local monument by passing a resolution urging elected leaders to oppose removing the monument.

The Lauderdale County GOP said in a statement that they are taking “a stand against the ‘cancel culture’ Marxists and passed this resolution.”

“We are urging the Lauderdale County Commission and Florence City Council to honor their oaths of office and follow the law! We are also calling on all of our elected officials to declare their position on the matter,” the statemeant read.

The resolution states that, “The Lauderdale County Monument to the men of the County who served in the Confederate Army in the War between the States 1861-1865 fought against oppressive taxation and for states’ rights in an army that included African-Americans in support and combat roles, was dedicated in 1903 and has stood in front of the county courthouse for 117 years.”

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The resolution alleges that: “There is a movement of liberal and radical organizations, not representatives of the majority of citizens of Lauderdale County which currently are attempting to destroy the  record of the courage and sacrifice of our ancestors in the United States.”

The cities of Birmingham and Mobile have already taken down their Confederate monuments in open defiance of existing state law in the state’s Memorials Preservation Act.

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Elections

Prichard Mayor Jimmy Gardner to run for reelection

Brandon Moseley

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Prichard Mayor Jimmie Gardner.

Prichard Mayor Jimmie Gardner said Monday in a statement that he will run for re-election. Gardner announced that he will deliver the letter announcing his intention to seek re-election, along with all qualifying documents, to the Prichard city clerk today at 10 a.m.

Gardner will hold a press conference after qualifying. He is promising to provide additional information about the campaign next week.

Gardner’s qualifying letter simply reads: “To Whom It May Concern: I, Jimmie Gardner, on this date, July 6, 2020 do humbly submit this letter to affirm that I will be seeking the office of Mayor for the City of Prichard, Alabama in the 2020 election.”

Gardner was elected mayor in the 2016 municipal elections, defeating incumbent Mayor Troy Ephriam.

“I have spent my entire career over 35 years protecting and serving the community in which I love,” Gardner stated. “My mission as Mayor is to ensure that the City of Prichard receives the recognition that it deserves. We are a strong, resilient people who care about their neighbors and want to see our city move in a positive direction.”

“As your Mayor, I pledge to give 100% to ensure that the progress this city deserves will begin,” Gardner continued. “I am not promising an overnight fix, but in time through prayer, hard work and dedication from everyone, The Change Will Come! Please patiently work with us as we make critical decisions for the betterment of the City of Prichard.”

The city of Prichard is in Mobile County and had a population of 21,531 in 2018. The city of Prichard had a population in 1993 of 38,410, but like much of Alabama, outside of pockets of prosperity, has been in decline in recent decades.

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Prichard was incorporated in 1925. The city boomed from ship building and the paper industry in the 1940s and 1950s, peaking like Mobile in 1960, but since then, the city has been negatively impacted by the decline in American shipbuilding and the closure of the International Paper and Scott paper mills in the 1980s.

Improving roads made it easier for people to commute to work so much of the city’s middle class has moved to new developments outside the city limits.

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