The most loyal readers of RTP (both of them) may have noticed that after a flurry of posts about rumors of senior aides and sitting chairmen accused of sexual harassment, RTP has gone uncharacteristically quiet on the subject over the last couple of weeks.
Hope you enjoyed your respite from the muckraking, because starting tomorrow we are going to crank it back up again. And just what has prompted us to revisit the controversy? Well, a couple of things.
One was today’s article in the Tennessean. It was a mishmash of rehashed re-reporting of Jeremy Durham — a story from which most people with actual lives had finally moved on. Reporters Boucher and Ebert dance all around the issue, decrying the “culture” that had allowed Durham to thrive. But in their rambling article they forgot to mention that the most powerful person in the House, who for six years has overseen and condoned the culture by covering up for her friends who were allegedly involved in drunken sexcapades with legislative staff, was none other than the Speaker of the House, Beth Harwell.
Remind us never to rely on the Tennessean to find the 5,000 lb. gorilla in the room.
The other reason for our renewed coverage was a rumor that circulated two weeks ago that a former senior staffer, in a desperate attempt to somehow save his own hide, was ready to “roll over” on leadership and their complicity in covering up for friends of the Speaker. The story our tipsters told us, was that the former aide was going to/did talk with a reporter from the MSM just before checking himself into re-hab. Gratified that the MSM had finally decided to get involved prompted the crew here at Rocky Top to back off for a while (the vote was not unanimous, however, with Mrs. Hot Chick wanting to bring the heat).
RTP admits to one of our rare mistakes: We trusted the MSM to actually do its job.
The interview – if it ever took place – never made it into any story. Our sources also tell us the former staffer is now incommunicado, hidden safely behind the well-manicured hedges of some sort of facility that specializes in helping people who do stupid things. The irony is every political reporter in the state knows exactly who RTP is talking about and they have proffered that name to numerous individuals. Reporters have said they need to “get confirmation” and to publicly “get someone on the record” to say the names out loud so they can report it. Funny, we don’t recall them holding such high-falutin’ standards of journalism when they were going after Rep. Pants Candy. Durham deserved his fate, but the MSM seem bound and determined to protect the Speaker and her cronies from a similar fate. Maybe if we start calling them “John Doe Chairman #2” and “John Doe former staffer #12” the media will get off its butt and report something. Also, considering the crack job the “John and Jane Doe” coding system did to protect the anonymity of the individuals involved in the Durham case, the identity and privacy of the latest miscreants should be safe for at least the 15-20 minutes it takes to crack the code.
Was RTP “played?” That’s certainly a possibility. But live and learn, we always say. Rest assured, we are back on the job and will continue to present mature and thought-provoking discourse on weighty matters of public concern.
Or more likely, we will continue run rockets up the nether-regions of preening politicians who reek of hypocrisy and malfeasance, regardless of whether the news media continues to playing pattycake with 5,000 lb. gorillas.