Friday, February 20, 2009

Farewell, Mike Saccone

Daily Sentinel political reporter Mike Saccone is ending his all-too-short tenure on the Western Slope to take a job with Colorado Attorney General John Suthers.

I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Mike on several occasions. His expertise in reporting on political issues was something that the area really needed and benefited from.

Mike, I don't have much to say except that we as a community will miss your acumen on politics at all levels, combined with a reporter's insight and determination to get the information right, and get it into print.

While I have some concerns about you going to work for a conservative Republican Attorney General, after your predecessor left to become the designated apologist/spinmeister for COGA, I have nothing but good wishes for your personal and professional success.

As the Communications Director, it's probably a good bet that you will end up being the public face of the AG's office more often than not. Should a Press Secretary role be something that you find attractive for your future career path, my hope would be that you follow the example set by Bill Moyers, as opposed to say, Ari Fleischer.

Of course, an lot of this depends as much on who you work for as anything else. I do think that your taste in suits will help your chances, though.

Godspeed, Mike, and may fortune favor you in all your endeavors. Enjoy the Front Range.


Gene Kinsey said...

Please John - don't insult Mike by comparing him to Moyers.

There are few things more insufferable than Bill Moyers on PBS every week holding forth on how intolerant conservatives are. This is because given his history of political activities in LBJ's administration, he has no standing to do so. Moyers and J. Edgar Hoover worked together to illegally bug Martin Luther King jr. as well as leak unflattering information about political enemies to the press. Andy Ferguson wrote the definitive Bill Moyers takedown years ago, but sadly it's not online (it is collected in one of Ferguson's books). Anyway, in lieu of the main course, as an appetizer here's a very damning excerpt on Moyers from Morley Safer's autobiography.

Well, as it turns out things are even worse than that. The Washington Post has unearthed FBI files showing that Moyers might have been a party to investigating whether Jack Valenti and any White House staff members were in the closet:

Even Bill Moyers, a White House aide now best known as a liberal television commentator, is described in the records as seeking information on the sexual preferences of White House staff members. Moyers said by e-mail yesterday that his memory is unclear after so many years but that he may have been simply looking for details of allegations first brought to the president by Hoover.

His memory is "unclear"? Moyers' defense here is severely lacking given the charges that have been leveled at him over the years. How many progressives who worship at Moyers' talk-show altar are troubled enough by this to demand he explain himself? Will Glenn Greenwald stop appearing on his show? I'm not holding my breath.


Judge Larry Silberman had an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal a few years back about this very issue. Here's the money quote:
Only a few weeks before the 1964 election, a powerful presidential assistant, Walter Jenkins, was arrested in a men's room in Washington. Evidently, the president was concerned that Barry Goldwater would use that against him in the election. Another assistant, Bill Moyers, was tasked to direct Hoover to do an investigation of Goldwater's staff to find similar evidence of homosexual activity. Mr. Moyers' memo to the FBI was in one of the files.
When the press reported this, I received a call in my office from Mr. Moyers. Several of my assistants were with me. He was outraged; he claimed that this was another example of the Bureau salting its files with phony CIA memos. I was taken aback. I offered to conduct an investigation, which if his contention was correct, would lead me to publicly exonerate him. There was a pause on the line and then he said, "I was very young. How will I explain this to my children?" And then he rang off. I thought to myself that a number of the Watergate figures, some of whom the department was prosecuting, were very young, too.
In other words, Moyers didn't just use the FBI to dig up dirt on the sex lives of fellow members of the Johnson Administration. He used the FBI to dig up dirt on the sex lives of the president's chief political rivals. Notice also that Moyers's memory was a lot clearer back in the 70s than he admits today; he didn't have any problem recalling his involvement back when Larry Silberman was Deputy Attorney General.

John Linko said...

Thanks, Gene...I knew about these allegations and accounts through Wikipedia, and wouldn't insult Mike by comparing him to anyone. I said that I hoped that he would aspire to someone like Moyers over others who occupied that position who have perhaps been more duplicitous, or had to defend an even more duplicitous man than Johnson was.

I was also considering the lifetime achievement, not just the time in the White House.

Working for someone like Suthers, Mike may find himself in a moral quandary now and then. How he handles it will, like anyone, serve to define his life and those of who he works for, just as these accounts may sully the record of an otherwise brilliant journalist.
That's how I was thinking of Mike when I wrote that.

Have a good weekend.

CommonSense said...

I was personally pleased to note Saccone's departure as a local reporter. I did not approve of his "gotcha" style of journalism, which has become the standard in many community newspapers. He was typically biased in his reporting and quite often bent the truth in order to sensationalize events. He's a discredit to the ethical standards that good journalists should strive to uphold. Good riddance.