As our reporters have peeled away the layers on an embarrassing sexual harassment case in his office, Attorney General Jeff Landry has been furiously trying to change the subject.
First, he sued reporter Andrea Gallo for filing a public records request seeking several documents, including a complaint against Pat Magee, the head of the criminal division and a longtime Landry pal. That didn’t work, as 19th Judicial District Judge Tim Kelley in Baton Rouge quashed the assault against Gallo and released the document.
Then he falsely accused Gallo of revealing the identity of the whistleblower who filed the complaint, when in fact Landry’s staff had done that, presumably inadvertently, by failing to carefully redact public documents before releasing them. But later Landry said that the complainant was not a whistleblower at all, which would mean he had no quarrel with Gallo even if his accusation were true.
Thursday, Landry offered up a 31-word tweet so loaded with inaccuracies that we are compelled to respond to it here.
Here’s the tweet:
“Everyday I remind myself that the folks who run the @theadvocatebr are the same ones who bankrupted the Times Picayune! So if or when you read it keep that in mind!"
That’s a lot to unpack.
Let's start at the beginning. “Everyday” is an adjective. The attorney general means “every day,” which is two words.
Also “the @theadvocatebr” is redundant.
Moving along, The Times-Picayune is not bankrupt. This has been a challenging time for legacy newspaper companies, but The Times-Picayune and NOLA.com are doing fine under local ownership. In fact, they are growing.
So “the folks who run the @theadvocatebr” could not have bankrupted The Times-Picayune. In fact, the Baton Rouge-based Advocate began publishing in New Orleans in 2012 to compete with The Times-Picayune, because that title’s owners had decided to curtail home delivery to three days a week. The two publications competed for seven years, and in 2019 The Advocate purchased The Times-Picayune and the two were merged into one.
So what really happened is that New Orleans area readers preferred the journalistic style of The New Orleans Advocate. And with the purchase, The Times-Picayune was restored to a seven-day home-delivered publication, which is what customers wanted all along.
There are lots of reasons why the story ended that way, but we like to think that one of them is that readers in New Orleans admired aggressive investigative reporting and fearless journalism that exposes politicians who are not telling the truth.
Politicians like Jeff Landry.