Thursday, May 31, 2007


So, there's not a lot C&F or anyone else can add to the voluminous barrels of ink being senselessly spilled over the Trouble in Nuttistan -- except, maybe, that the people of Arkansas have obviously never been told why a circular firing squad is a bad idea.

Jimmy Swampkicker gets ready to watch the spring game.

SMQ has weighed in on the threat to Arkansas' open-records law, or at least to the usefulness of those laws when it comes to the university system. (As a journalist, C&F has to say it's amazing what people will put in e-mails and correspondence they know can be requested by the public.)

But C&F wants to focus a bit more on the Ivan Maisel piece that was pretty well picked apart by EDSBS, who pretty well destroyed the premise of a Rovian plot against Houston Nutt. Among other things, Maisel holds out this example as comparable to the swift-boating of John Kerry:

Three years later, the tactic has been imported to Arkansas and used against Nutt. Among the information made public: the fact Nutt had exchanged 1,063 text messages from Nov. 30 to Jan. 11 with Donna Bragg, a local TV news anchor.
Nutt wouldn't be the first head coach whose eye for talent proved as shrewd off the field as on. The incessant demands of coaching, when accompanied by its celebrity status, have strained plenty of marriages.
But if ever there was a guy unlikely to stray, it's Houston Dale Nutt.

Okay, so here's what we know:

Houston Nutt sent 1,063 messages to Donna Bragg in the course of 43 days. This is roughly 24.7 texts a day, or slightly more than one per hour. If Nutt never coached a game, slept or was actually by the side of his wife, who would (C&F would think) ask about why he was so intent on texting a female anchor.

I mean, we're talking Meyer-to-Tebow type numbers here.

In the AJC piece linked above, Nutt gives some pretty weak reasoning as to why it might be necessary to text someone 24.7 times a day. He gives good reasons for sending someone, say, six or seven texts a day. Or maybe 10. But not almost 25. Unless he was helping Bragg figure out who leaked Valerie Plame's identity.

HOWEVER. We can disregard all this. Why? Because, Maisel says, Nutt is such a gosh-darned nice guy. And if Ivan Maisel's penetrating ability to read personalities says Nutt's OK, well then C&F is ready to fall in line.

Sometimes, it's hard not to like a source personally, as C&F well knows. Especially a source as colorful and interesting as Nutt. But journalists are supposed to be able to look past that personal regard when covering a matter of public interest and do their reporting without fear or favor.

It might be true that Nutt is a nice guy. And it might even be true that Maisel is right, and nothing is amiss here.

But, with the facts in front of you, it's not possible to dismiss out-of-hand the idea that something's up. That defies logic.

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Blogger Biby Cletus said...

Cool blog, i just randomly surfed in, but it sure was worth my time, will be back

Deep Regards from the other side of the Moon

Biby Cletus

10:11 PM


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