Friday, January 20, 2006

Well of course

Writer Claims HealthSouth CEO Scrushy Bought Favorable Press Coverage During Fraud Trial

Makes perfect sense to me. After a half-dozen columnists are exposed as having taken corporate or government, the boundaries of what newspaper folks think they can get away with are effectively moved. That means two things: (a) we'll find out about cash buying favorable "straight" news, and (b) some chutzpah-enhanced, ethically challenged presstitute will go after a john for welching.

E&P presents:
Throughout the six-month trial that led to Richard Scrushy's acquittal in the $2.7 billion fraud at HealthSouth Corp., a small, influential newspaper consistently printed articles sympathetic to the defense of the fired CEO.

Audry Lewis, the author of those stories in The Birmingham Times, the city's oldest black-owned paper, now says she was secretly working on behalf of Scrushy, who she says paid her $11,000 through a public relations firm and typically read her articles before publication.

Documents obtained by The Associated Press show The Lewis Group wrote a $5,000 check to Audry Lewis on April 29, 2005 -- the day Scrushy hired the company. The head of the company, Times founder Jesse J. Lewis Sr., is not related to Audry Lewis.

The firm wrote another $5,000 check that day to the Rev. Herman Henderson, who employs Audry Lewis at his Believers Temple Church and was among the black preachers supporting Scrushy who were present in the courtroom throughout.

Audry Lewis and Henderson now say Scrushy owes them $150,000 for the newspaper stories and other public relations work, including getting black pastors to attend the trial in a bid to sway the mostly black jury.

Damned blogger ethics....


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