While Jack McElroy and Bruce Hartmann dined at Regas on the taxpayers dime. Mr. Paul Abraham dined on taxpayers dime at another downtown eatery. Reporters Rebecca Ferrar and Bob Hodge have dined on the taxpayer dime as well. McElroy, Ferrar and Hodge are editorial employees of the News-Sentinel. Hartmann is the Publisher of the News-Sentinel and Publisher for the other least desirable E.W. Scripps entities. Abraham is Vice-President for Finance of the News-Sentinel.
The article cites the News-Sentinel’s Editorial Code of Conduct as. “We should refuse any gifts, special treatment or any other thing of more than token value given in the course of professional activities. This includes … free meals. The general rule should be if the gift is, or may be, offered even partly because the recipient works for a newspaper, it should not be accepted.”
The good news is that Jack McElroy is quoted as saying. “We’ve redoubled our insistence on picking up all the checks when we have business meetings with any public officials,” That would be good since you obviously ignored it all together for the past year or two. So by re-doubling their efforts maybe they can hit 50% of compliance with the policy.
Ferrar explains that she intended to pay for her meal and the government employees meal the next time they dined together. Ok?
Another media lunch was Joe Sullivan an employee of Metro Pulse, an owned entity of E.W. Scripps Company. The lunch occurred this past year, however, it may have been before the sale of the Metro Pulse to E.W. Scripps. Other media that have been treated on the taxpayers dime include, Gene Patterson anchor over at WATE Channel 6. Bill Shory, News Director of WBIR Channel 10. Radio station WNOX employees including Hallerin Hilton Hill, this is the same station where Knox County Commissioner Mike Hammond is the Director of Operations.
So this establishes that the news media that profess to be so desirable to open government, have not really been that open or they would have disclosed prior to today that they have accepted these meals. The meals took place between June 2006 – July 2007. The News-Sentinel has sat on this story from July 2007 until today, November 13, 2007. Obviously aware that this story was about to break in an alternative news source, they bury it in the middle of this story.
To read the entire story, check it out here.