Time to Hit Re-set, Jackson

As I sit waiting for the returns on election night, I can't help but reflect on the mess that was the last four years—and what got us there. As much as anything else, the need for media sensationalism and pandering to the powerful put us here. I have spent an inordinate amount of time in the last four years researching Frank Melton's history in Jackson. I have read about everything ever been written about him—and the so-called journalism that allowed someone so unsuited for elected office to become mayor in a "landslide" four years ago tonight, as The Clarion-Ledger put it, was simply abysmal. The Ledger, especially, let down an entire city by pretending that Melton was a "folk hero" who could solve crime in 90 days. This corporate newspaper endorsed the man who the most powerful people in Jackson wanted in office. And it pulled punch after punch that could have alerted voters what they were getting into.

This election season, the Ledger followed its own lead, to a lesser degree, with its coverage and endorsements. It did nothing to help unearth what powerful special interests like the Better Jackson PAC was doing with secret (until Election Day) donations, and it barely reported on smear flyers and mailers sent out by that PAC and others.

This time, though, most of Jackson was ready for the Ledger's endorsement of a "dynamic" candidate who was running against the more experienced and ready former mayor, who happens not to think that crappy newspaper walks on water, and never did. Jackson said, "No, thanks, Ledger"; your endorsement means nothing to us. You have proved your absolute inability to endorse and report on what is important and factual in this city.

Since Johnson's resounding election in the run-off (which the Ledger did not call a "landslide"), the Ledger has backtracked, finally admitting what the JFP has been saying for weeks: After the Melton mess, we need a mayor who can hit the ground running, and that mayor is Harvey Johnson Jr.

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Thanks to the JFP for all of the detailed coverage the last four years. It piqued my interest in local politics, and I learned a lot more than I probably would have under different circumstances. Now that the tables have turned, let's see how things go and how the citizens respond to this changing of the guards.



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