Louisiana Politics Everyday

Monday, July 23, 2007

Journalism 101: Checking Your Sources

LANewslink.com and Louisiana Political News Service Exposed

Controversy has surrounded two websites posing as legitimate online news sources for Louisiana politics. Smalltime political hack and state government subsidy, Pat Bergeron, has been operating both "independent, non-partisan" websites while on the payroll for several candidates. Operation Red November has uncovered numerous occasions where Bergeron has taken campaign cash in order to present one-sided propaganda, promote unfounded rumors, or falsely attack politicians opposed to his benefactors. Since the inception of these websites, Bergeron has received cash from Mike Francis for Secretary of State ($60,000), Peggy Wilson for New Orleans Mayor ($20,000), and Wayne "Spider" Carter for Commissioner of Agriculture ($8,000 and counting...). What do they get for their cash? Bergeron has used his websites to stretch and distort the news in their favor (and secure a 3rd place finish for Francis and 8th place for Wilson).

This is not the first time Bergeron has been involved in alleged unethical or possibly illegal behavior. As a ward of the state during the Suzanne Haik Terrell administration, Bergeron was in charge of the overtime scandal in which her staff rang up more than 2,270 hours in overtime with 1,000 of those hours coming in the final 120 days of her tenure. As Terrell's Chief of Staff, he was directly responsible for a payroll that doled out an extra $87,000 in tax payer dollars during those final four months with almost $14,000 going into his own pocket. The Secretary of State Fox McKeithen said at the time, "The majority of [overtime pay] developed when they knew they were leaving," he said. "The appearance is horrible."

What's our axe to grind? OrN has recently discovered that various members of the news media have begun to, in our opinion, irresponsibly rely on these and like sites for story ideas, background, or information. Whether stemming from curiosity or sloth, the disturbing trend of relying on paid political hacks as "independent" sources for unbiased news must be exposed.

In the interest of full disclosure, OrN has an agenda - to investigate, expose, and eliminate pundits, posers, and political scumbags. We are neither bought, nor paid.

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