Monday, October 29, 2007

Is There A Double Standard Among the Media, When They Are Dealing With Candidates Who Are Democrat -vs- Republican Ones?

I have managed numerous campaigns over the years, district races and countywide races. I have also warned the candidates that I have managed that they are to always be factual in their bio and record of accomplishments. Because in previous years, the News-Sentinel reporters have gone to great lengths to determine if a candidate is using their "real" name or if they are taking credit for something that is not factual. I will give you a real example. "Sunshine" Madden was a figure here in Knoxville for years. He ran for City Council and Mayor numerous times. He has since passed on. But the newspaper would list his name as John "Sunshine" Madden.

So, the reporters have either gotten lazy or they ignore the standard protocol when the candidate is known as a Democrat or a Green Party candidate. For example: Ray Abbas, candidate for City Council. My sources have informed me that according to election commission records his name is Riyad H Abbas, not Ray Abbas.

So what has happened to the reporters that work for E.W. Scripps? That would include the News-Sentinel, Metro Pulse (Mike Gibson) and the little ole' tabloid on the north side of town.


Anonymous said...

Isn't this a bit silly? I mean Ray is actually a name, as opposed to Sunshine, Lumpy or Scooby. Ray sounds like a logical nickname for Riyad to me. The papers always call Mike Ragsdale "Mike", even though I'm guessing his full name is Michael. Or do you think that Riyad being an Arab name is an issue? I guess the Abbas part didn't clue you in?

Brian Hornback said...

A name is a name whether it is Ray, Sunshine, Lumpy, Scooby or Mike.

However, the isssue isn't whether Riyad "Ray" Abbas is Arab or not. I don't know that he is or isn't Arab.

The issue in this post if you can comprehend it is whether the E.W. Scripps employees are holding true to standards at all times or only when they feel like it.

That my friend is the question. You can try and twist and spin it to whatever way you want to. But, you are simply wrong. No surprise there, now is there.

Frddie said...

Your latest post brings up some interesting questions. I've noticed when the KNS uses direct quotes with some commissioners, the KNS doesn't correct for grammatical errors.

I don't think the KNS does this with everyone who's directly quoted in their paper, such as when a UT athlete or "man-on-the-street" is directly quoted, and the paper deletes all of the "you know"s and "uh"s.

Plus, when I had Tony Norman for a teacher, he went by Rex. I did a quick news search, and he went by Rex, at least in news stories, as late as 1999. I looked in my high school annuals from Farragut, and he was listed as Rex Norman. Now he's Tony. Could it be he's trying to distance himself from the fact that his father served on County Commission, what with all his talk about ethics and family ties?

I guess if the paper likes you, it doesn't ask you why you changed your name.

Anonymous said...

Brian makes a good point with his entry; however the first person to post a response does not. While it is true that "Ray" is a name, it is not Mr. Abbas's name. For comparison, let's look at the Sentinel's treatment of our Congressman's namer. A search on their website brings up many, many articles that make mention of "Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr." Now, just because most East Tennesseans know him as "Jimmy Duncan" does not mean that "Jimmy" is his name. While his middle name is James, it would not be appropriate for the KNS to call him "Jimmy." The Sentinel knows this, which is why their reporters always accurately refer to him as "U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr." This means that, in the case of Mr. Abbas, the Sentinel's reporters are either too lazy to research this candidate's real name, or they have taken it upon themselves to hide the facts of Mr. Abbas's real name. Does Jack McElroy know better than his readers that some might be interested in Mr. Abbas's real first name, a name he shares with the capital of Saudi Arabia? Let us just hope the KNS reporters are just lazy instead.

rachel said...

Does Jack McElroy know better than his readers that some might be interested in Mr. Abbas's real first name, a name he shares with the capital of Saudi Arabia?

Geez, Mariz, and this would be of interest WHY exactly?

Tell me, does the KNS always call Councilman Joe Bailey by his full name, which I presume is Joseph Bailey? An do they call Councilman Bob Becker (who's a Democrat, BTW) Robert Becker?

I thought not. Better fuss at them about that too.

Anonymous said...


I believe shortening names, from Joseph to Joe or Robert to Bob, is so common and accepted in our daily language that no explanation is required.

Complete name changes though, from Rex to Tony or Riyad to Ray, do seem to bring up the question of what benefits are derived from changing a name.

It's one thing to merely shorten a name, say from Frederick to Fred, for convienence in writing or speaking.

It's another thing to completely change a name from your father's name, or from a name that, rightly or wrongly, is associated with a specific ethnic group.

If Mr. Abbas simply changed his name for convienence sake, that's one thing. If he changed it because he believes it can be associated with negative feelings toward certain ethnicities, that's another problem that both he and the public need to address.

It's not the name itself that is really the problem. The problem is whether or not Mr. Abbas and the KNS are deceiving the public in a subtle way as to mislead the public concerning Mr. Abbas's ethnic heritage.

I could care less about Mr. Abbas's ethnic roots. What I do care about are his actions and the actions of the KNS in possibly attempting to mislead the public.

Don Daugherty said...

Brian: I'm disappointed that you would attempt to manufacture a "story" about Ray Abbas' name. Of course, his given name is Riyad. Of course, he goes by "Ray." Now, exactly what is the problem with that? Ray is an American citizen, and as far as I know, we can all call ourselves pretty much anything we like. We can even change our names to silly things like Santa Claus, Bugs Bunny, etc. As far as trying to mislead the public, my dad's real last name was Daugherty, but he enlisted in the Navy in WWII at 15 and had to get his step-father to sign for him. All of his military and VA records are in his step-father's name, not Daugherty, and he was called both names interchangeably all his life. Was there something wrong with it? Unlike Ray Abbas, he or his step-dad might have even broken the law by lying about his name on his enlistment papers, and they certainly might have done so to mislead the U.S. government, just so he could fight for his country. As far as I know, Ray Abbas hasn't broken any laws by calling himself Ray, has he? No one is harmed because he chooses to call himself Ray, are they? The only people who would attack this fine young man, who has given literally thousands of volunteer hours to help the needy in this town since he was a high school senior, are those who are not smart enough to know better and those who seek to play towards some sort of unfortunate stigma that might exist at this particular time concerning middle-eastern names. Brian, I really think this was shameful.

Brian Hornback said...

Note to readers of Brian's Blog Don Daugherty is the Knox County Demo Chair.

Now to you, Don. I don't expect you to find fault in his actions, as you have mailed out a two page letter to your party members with the name Ray (bolded for emphasis) at least two dozen times.

The issue is does the NS always follow their policies, clearly this is an example that they do not.

Republican Congressman "Jimmy" Duncan doesn't get the same treatment that Riyad is receiving. They refer to him as John J. "Jimmy" Duncan, Jr.

Additionally, on election day or during early voting. The candidate himself couldn't vote for himself as a Ray Abbas doesn't exist. Riyad H. Abbas can or could cast a vote for a person that doesn't exist.

What keeps someone from placing a name on the ballot that isn't even a real person? What criteria does the Election Commission take to ensure the proposed candidate is a real person? Had he changed his name to Ray through a legal process, that would be fine. Our sources indicate that he hasn't.