The Austin Chronicle

Headline News ... or, Ronnie Earle's Hometown Paper

By Nick Barbaro, October 21, 2005, News

On the day Ronnie Earle announced the indictment of House Speaker Tom DeLay, the editorialists at the Austin American-Statesman felt the need to defend themselves against DeLay's accusation of being "Mr. Earle's hometown newspaper." And since then, the editorial brass has been anything but friendly to their hometown boy. The story has been front-page, above-the-fold news nine times, and if reporter Laylan Copelin's reporting has been solid and balanced, you can't say the same for the folks who write the headlines, and control the spin on the front page. Even by Statesman standards, the anti-Earle slant has been remarkable – starting from day one, Thursday, Sept. 29, when the headline wasn't, say, "DeLay indicted on felony charges, resigns post" but:

Day 1: DeLay blames vengeful politics for indictment

Day 2: DeLay goes on media offensive
Former House Speaker claims Democrats, Earle colluded in case

Day 3: 'Crime story' documentary stirs political ire
Prosecutor gave filmmakers access to DeLay investigation to pump up his case, critics say

Day 4: Earle lost Kay; can he beat DeLay?

Day 6: DeLay indicted on 2 new counts
Defense says Earle wants a 'do-over' for 'illegitimate' case

Day 7: One grand jury refused DeLay charge

Day 14: DeLay's lawyers seek jury details
Defense subpoenas records in attempt to prove misconduct

And finally, over a photo of defendants Jim Ellis and John Colyandro consulting with their "media relations specialist" Melissa Hopkins:

Day 17: 'This is a prosecution that's run amok'

See, a media relations specialist can show you how to overcome that hometown bias.

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