Why the media is increasingly skeptical…

Posted on March 30, 2011


Going on some two years now, those of us in the press have been sitting back and watching all of these issues unfold in the judicial branch that invite the same consistent response – and that response is to form a committee.

God knows my own skepticism about huffman/vickrey committees is no secret.

In our discussions with other broadcasters and journalists, their skepticism is no secret either, yet in the interests of being as objective and unbiased as possible, those who haven’t been following the JC/AOC have a tendency to grant credibility to a body of people assembled to resolve difficult questions. Those that remain highly skeptical like myself and most of the other media covering the AOC over the past two years either surpresses that skepticism in their reporting or loathe to point out the results of previous committees formed to answer difficult questions or manage difficult problems.

Reporters generally loathe taking on the credibility of a body of work presented by a body of persons. We usually just shake our head at the results produced by these committees and mumble about the JC/AOC being an insular fiefdom that will do anything to protect its own. Tomorrow we will again try to continue to objectively report the news without making a whole lot of enemies on some committee and having our editors hand us our head for all the trouble we created for them.

This restraint that I speak of is fading fast and with ample reason. We all witnessed King George last year proclaim his dedication to transparency and accountability and in this bold proclamation he declared that this committee was being formed to deal with these issues. Yet, the only thing this committee managed was a retroactive pay increase? Excuse my biting cynicism. You’ll note that numerous reporters covering the JC/AOC now have the same skeptical view because the proof is in the pudding. The JC/AOC has given us numerous examples and has been fairly consistent about rotating in largely the same group of players into these key committees formed to find resolutions and adding a few new names we haven’t seen before. But they are dominated largely by the same key group of players time after time, committee after committee.

The latest SEC committee is no exception. We posted “Rocketman” from Sir Elton John to express our biting cynicsm about shuttling these people out to mars to take a good hard look at the AOC’s operations here on earth.

Yesterday, Cheryl Miller allowed her own skepticism to show for the same reasons. We’ve seen the same from courthouse news, metnews and the daily journal. Many of us in media are leary of these bodies of people being formed to meet that produce no – or unexpected- results. Whatever happened to management? The concept that the manager is in charge and is obligated as the manager to look after their own operations? Why even bother to assemble a body of supporters and evangelists at all if you’re serious and you want to come across as being credible?

What concrete steps as an “Accomplished Administrator” has our chief justice undertaken with respect to many of the items denoted on this site? What concrete steps is the SEC committee going to take to understand various AOC operations?

In our mind, Art Scotland’s committee lacks any credibility whatsoever if its first act is not picking up the phone and having discussions with a few whistleblowers as part of the agenda of the first or second meeting.

When the same aircraft falls out of the sky time after time, you don’t hear the FAA bragging about its safety record. You see the FAA immediately undertake failure analysis. Something happened and we need to figure out what happened in order to fix it. This does not appear to be the Judicial Council way. Rather, we will form a committee and never broach the subject of the several two-ton elephants in the room.

Failure analysis starts out with reaching out Michael Paul, Jon Wintermeyer and Paula Negley and several other employees terminated by the AOC and having a complete understanding of their observations before you go view those operations of the AOC.

A failure to do anything less is simply not credible.