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Biggest surprise is no surprise

By   /   January 17, 2012  /   Comments


This past weekend, Albany Herald metro editor Carlton Fletcher wrote in his column about something an anonymous source told him regarding what can only be described as voter fraud.  Fletcher’s column, coupled with the Journal article several weeks back, clearly indicate that something is going on in this town with regard to how elections are handled.

Despite comments from others made online and not directed to me that “credible journalists don’t hide behind anonymous sources”, I actually did take a great deal of time to consider the ramifications of using my information.  I have little doubt Carlton did as well.  You see, anonymous sources remain anonymous for a variety of reasons.  I’ve discussed it previously, as did Carlton.

In reality, there should be little surprise that anonymous sources are used.  What should be surprising to local officials is just how little surprise generated by the Journal article or the Herald column.  Frankly, there isn’t any.

For what it’s worth, I had heard the same thing Carlton wrote about.  The sources on those had no firsthand knowledge of what was supposedly happening, so I didn’t write about it.  I couldn’t get some confirmation and, despite what some may think, I don’t run rumors and without that confirmation, that’s all I had.

Fletcher and I have both hit on a key problem in this community, and that is that there is little trust in the election process, and apparently for good reason.  We were both approached by people with firsthand knowledge of the dirty nature politics, but from different angles.

The citizens of Dougherty County have known that our system is screwed up.  They know that there are serious issues with the election process.  The initial Journal story wasn’t groundbreaking except that it essentially confirmed what most in this community already knew.  They knew that elections could be bought, and they even knew some names that were doing it.  It was Albany’s worst kept secret.

However, now that this information is out there, there’s a chance we can do something about it.  Now there is an opportunity for the citizens of Albany and Dougherty County to step in and make things right.  We can do that, but first we need a bit of help.

These crimes need to be investigated.  They need to be investigated and any guilty party needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.  While many don’t rate this crime as heinous as murder or rape, they need to understand that these criminals are killing our democratic principles; they are raping our way of self governing.  Yes, they are criminals in every way one can imagine.

I applaud Carlton Fletcher for writing that column.  I suspect it wasn’t easy for him, but it was definitely needed. To those who believe that using anonymous sources is somehow wrong, keep in mind that anonymous sources have broken many important news stories.  Just because someone’s anonymous, doesn’t mean they’re wrong.

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