Redacted Memories of a Better Georgia

Yesterday, AJC Political Columnist and GPB radio panelist Jim Galloway wrote about the progressive group Better Georgia’s legacy including its infiltrating a Republican state senate caucus with a presentation on “Agenda 21”

Galloway leaves the saga there and doesn’t mention the name Chip Rogers, but the story went national, at least to left-leaning blogs and media outlets, causing embarrassment for state Republicans.

Rogers soon left office to take a $150,000 job at state-run GPB.

A veteran GPB producer resigned in disgust.

Better Georgia kept after Chip Rogers while he was at the NPR affiliate.

And so did the AJC including the politics behind Rogers’ termination in April of 2014:

Just one month later, a “partnership” between GPB and Georgia State was announced giving the ethically-challenged, politically-controlled network daytime control of nationally-acclaimed, student-funded college radio icon WRAS.

The AJC’s coverage of that was hardly investigative or adversarial.

AJC reporters and columnists became regulars on GPB’s new platform from the start.

And my own Open Records Request shows the paper eager to get its own branded programming on the new NPR affiliate even as protests were ongoing.

In his column, Galloway mentions Better Georgia’s 2016 fundraising totals and top salary of nearly $100,000.

I’ll point to the Open Georgia database for a look at GPB’s FY2018 top salary’s and expenses.

Its highest paid journalist at $130,000 is the politically-connected Bill Nigut who out-earned Better Georgia’s head and GPB’s high-profile national hire Celeste Headlee — though she left the network mid-fiscal year.

And while GPB radio has lost millions, according to the last state audit, the network continues to pour money into its Atlanta radio effort with advertising expenditures to billboard company Outfront Media now topping $400,000.

That kind of money could fund a lot of journalists in Albany, Macon, Columbus, etc. to fill growing news deserts there instead of competing with WABE.

But it’s not about journalism or holding power to account. It’s about politics and propaganda. About knowing how to be a “political insider” and what you can and can’t say.

To keep the Boss Hogg bullshit going just a little longer.

Even if democracy dies in the process. And not in darkness, but on the AJC’s own watch.

Atlanta writer and comedian. Occasional citizen journalist. Diagnosed with Asperger’s at age 40. No relation to Steve.

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