The Curious Case Of Mike And Claudia Ragsdale

13 04 2008

Tabloid Boy talks about the recent story out of Knoxville about the marital issues of Knox County Mayor Mike and Claudia Ragsdale.

The news that Claudia Ragsdale filed for divorce earlier today citing “inappropriate marital conduct” did not come as a surprise. Every journalist in this town has been sitting on this “developing story” for months. In the case of our newspaper, we had what could only be termed unimpeachable testimony weeks ago from a source close to Mrs. Ragsdale who confirmed the growing chorus of rumors. Despite this, our publisher chose not to print what we knew.

I believe that was the right decision, but this story raises some interesting ethical questions for journalists.

I’m different I guess. I work at a very small newspaper. I don’t see any real reason to print these kind of stories but then again, newspapers are a business and a private business at that which follows the conversation of communities. What sells newspapers? Well, to be old school and state the obvious, “If it bleeds it leads.” Sad but true. Ask anyone in the news biz, the public record pages are highly read. And newspapers are about what a community is talking about, so you have to take that into consideration.

With that said, I wouldn’t have run it either UNLESS there was some sort of issue that concerns the public such as Larry Craig’s wide-stance story (he battered the GLBT community and then plead guilty to bathroom shenanigans) or Eliot Spitzer, who is being investigated for using tax-payers monies for his own sexual ego.

I’ve been reading about the Ragsdales. People get divorced all the time. I agree with Rich Hailey on this one.

With all of that said, I wouldn’t have run the story but once the official documentation comes in, then that does change things. A recent story we had on a lawyer, who plead guilty mind you, to embezzling millions of dollars had rumors flying for months but we didn’t run it until the official paperwork was filed. I took a hammering on it but it was news because this man was well-liked. Hell, I liked him. There is a line between these things but I also trust that more is going to be revealed. In a world of transparency, Ragsdale, and other politicians and community leaders, are being watched.

I feel like there is probably more out there although I don’t have proof of it.

From what I’ve read in the contents at Knoxviews, Ragsdale isn’t the most well-liked camper. I don’t know. I’m six hours away.

Watch and see, campers. Watch and see.

With that said, I wonder what CNN is reporting about Britney Spears today.

We live in a new world order.




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