HarbergateMost regular readers from East Tennessee have by now read the first two parts of Betty Bean's expose and interview with former Mike Ragsdale bagman Tyler Harber in the Halls Shopper News. Many have wondered whether the media will cover this continually developing story, and not a few (myself included) have speculated that the reason the story is receiving no coverage is not because it is a non-story, but because much of the local press is either A) pro-Ragsdale or B.) frightened of the Ragsdale machine.
As much as the mainstream media in East Tennessee wants to avoid this story, the hour may soon be upon all of them where they will be compelled to cover Harbergate out of necessity. Sources close to the situation who have asked not to be identified have informed The World that while law enforcement authorities have not yet chosen to inform the press, the promised investigation into Tyler Harber's conduct while he was an employee of Knox County is underway, and that ascertaining what Mike Ragsdale and/or Mike Arms knew about the activities of Tyler Harber and Adam Groves and how much of it was done at the behest of one or both. The World has been informed that Harber and Groves are both "singing like canaries" in ways not fully revealed to the HSN. Further, the investigation is apparently yielding some fruit, because we have been informed that higher authorities may want to examine the case.
At the very least, Mike Ragsdale's political career is finished, because the questions surrounding this investigation will follow him on any campaign for Governor, and so when his term expires in 2010 he will be removed from the employments of public life. At most, Mike Ragsdale could be in very big trouble, and has far more to be concerned with than whether he will be living in the Governor's Mansion in five years.
Finally, a few of you have asked me privately why I will use anonymous sources while not allowing anonymous commenters, some say I am exercising a double standard, and you have no way to know that I am not just making all of this stuff up. Firstly, blogging is still new in the journalistic world and it is not yet an exact science. I wasn't going to have people posting with no name claiming to be a high-ranking official (that happened on a couple of occasions) when I cannot track them without using time I do not have. (I note that blogger doesn't even require you to use your real name.) However, when I quote from anonymous sources to you, I can track the source myself, I know who told me. Withholding names upon request is an old journalism practice that I firmly believe in adhering to when asked because it is one way to earn and keep the trust of your sources. If, in the eyes of some, that makes me less credible, so be it. I intend to do things right, not play dirty pool like certain people in the political establishment do. My duty here is to bring my readers the truth as I see it, and in doing that I shall do the very best that I can.