Rant About Local TV News Ripoffs


by Tom Aswell

CB Forgotston Research – Disguised Report

NO WBRZThere’s an adage that is held as a basic truth among veteran reporters: If you have not been sued or at least threatened with a lawsuit, you haven’t done your job. Such is the nature of the profession.

And when someone does threaten to sue a reporter, that writer can usually be certain he has struck a sensitive nerve.

Retiring Congressman Rodney Alexander’s protests notwithstanding, there are quite a few bloggers who do a pretty decent job of reporting. Some, in fact, even have proven award-winning experience with the mainstream new media as “legitimate” reporters—as recognized by Alexander’s narrow definition.

Thus, it was more than a little irritating to watch Baton Rouge television station WBRZ boast of its “investigation” of non-governmental organization (NGO) state grants on Wednesday (Aug. 14), trumpeting the fact that two of the NGOs are closely tied to State Sen. Yvonne Dorsey Colomb.

The absurdity of the TV station’s “investigative” story lies not in any inaccuracies contained in the story but in the fact that C.B. Forgotston jumped on that connection more than a week ago, laying out the details of those connections and how a spokesman for Dorsey had threatened to sue him for libel or some such offense. http://forgotston.com/page/2/; http://forgotston.com/page/4/; http://forgotston.com/page/5/

by CB Forgotston
by CB Forgotston

Forgotston is an attorney from nearby Hammond and formerly worked for the Louisiana Legislature, so when he writes something about state government, it’s a pretty sure bet the man is writing as the voice of authority and deep background knowledge. Said another way: He knows what he’s talking about.

So, Forgotston breaks the story, gets threatened with a lawsuit, calls out the would-be litigant and then, when the dust settles, WBRZ goes public with its “investigative” piece.

But did WBRZ, in its blockbuster “investigative” report give even a nod of acknowledgement to Forgotston for laying the story in the TV reporter’s lap?

Hell, no.

Instead, the reporter and the station took full credit for the “investigation.” Tacky, if not downright unethical.

But then one must consider that it is, after all, television news which seems to thrive on the latest drive-by shooting (complete with the victim’s family holding the deceased’s photo up for the TV cameras). Local TV news, it seems, exists for the sole purpose of keeping the cheesy car dealer and cheesier lawyer commercials from bumping together. And speaking of cheesier lawyer commercials, it always occurs to me that when a lawyer has to go begging for clients on local television newscasts, he must be desperate for clients.

That last remark will probably get me sued by a lawyer desperate for clients.

Sorry to go off like that, but it really irritates me to see someone who poses as a professional reporter capitalizes on someone else’s research. When someone such as Bob Mann, Elliott Stonecipher, the Crazy Crawfish, or C.B. Forgotston scores with a good investigative piece, I’ve been known to do a follow up but have always given credit to those who broke the story.

cavitysearchDo your story. The facts needed to be told, we don’t deny that. The more publicity the misuse of public funds receives, the better for all concerned. But at least acknowledge the efforts of those who laid the groundwork.

Even in the world of blogging, it’s called professional courtesy.

Bob Forward Note: Thanks Tom & CB for continuing to support independent journalism and research in the pursuit of truth. We make every attempt to credit when due and expect others to do similarly. More work in this area is required, and the continued diligent monitoring of the press and public news is required. We also believe that retelling the story of public corruption must remain our primary concern.