Independent Jackie Green‘s decision to end his campaign for mayor and endorse Democratic candidate Greg Fischer has drawn more attention than any other endorsement or issue in the race.
There were conflicting accounts of what Green asked for, received and expected in exchange for his endorsement, with the two most disparate coming from the Courier-Journal and LEO Weekly. The CJ’s story did not include any references to an e-mail from Green to his campaign staff in which the candidate said there may be a role for the Green campaign team inside a Fischer administration. It’s unclear what Green meant by this, but the sentence has led to a conflict between the two papers that has–in the local media–nearly eclipsed the candidates’ controversy.
Fischer has released a television ad claiming vindication through the CJ’s story. The Republican Party of Kentucky has cited LEO’s story as a reason why the Attorney General’s office should investigate the Fischer campaign. (The Democratic party has filed a similar complaint against Republican candidate Hal Heiner‘s campaign over former Democratic candidate Tyler Allen‘s endorsement.)
So how could two media outlets investigate the same situation and end up with different results? The answer is one that draws us into journalism’s persistent quandaries of anonymous sources and the costs of access. The reporters who did the investigating have discussed their process in The Edit’s comment section:
- First, Courier-Journal reporter Dan Klepal posted his account of what happened, and responded to a LEO blog post that criticized the story.
- Later, LEO reporter Phillip M. Bailey responded to Klepal.
- And in between, former Green campaign manager Tyler Hess weighed in.