media

On the passing of political reporter Rebecca Ferrar (aka ‘Lucifer’ and ‘Becky Bear’)

Rebecca Lynn Ferrar, who died of a heart attack this week at age 72, was given the joshing nickname ‘Lucifer’ during 11 years in Nashville as a reporter on state government and politics for the Knoxville News Sentinel.

She was my professional colleague for those years and a friend both before the newspaper’s management sent her to the state capitol to beef up reporting on state-level government and after they sent her back to Knoxville to shrink such coverage in accord with nationwide media downsizing trends (and, it’s fair to add, to enhance coverage of East Tennessee government and politics).

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Former mayoral candidate and business partner buy Nashville Scene and Nashville Post

The company owned by Nashville entrepreneur and former mayoral candidate Bill Freeman and his longtime business partner Jimmy Webb has acquired the Nashville Scene, the Nashville Post and Nfocus from holding company SouthComm, according to an article in the Scene.

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Fitzhugh names Trace Sharp as campaign press secretary

Press release from Craig Fitzhugh campaign

Ripley, TN – The Fitzhugh for Governor campaign has named Trace Sharp as campaign press secretary. Sharp is a veteran communication specialist having worked in broadcast, print media and economic development in northwest Tennessee before relocating to Nashville several years ago. Sharp has worked on campaigns at every level from local municipal elections, gubernatorial campaigns, congressional races and presidential campaigns.

“I have known Trace for many years, dating back to her time as a local reporter covering Gov. Ned Ray McWherter and state politics. I value her understanding of the issues facing our rural communities, from economic development and infrastructure to how Medicaid expansion would help to address our record number of hospital closures. Trace has been a strong advocate for rural Tennessee much longer than most candidates in this race and we are our honored to have her on Team Fitzhugh,” Fitzhugh said.

In her role as press secretary, Sharp will oversee the 95 county press operations for the Fitzhugh campaign.

“Craig Fitzhugh is a man of his word and a true statesman in every sense. I have covered his career and truly value his commitment to serving the needs of our state’s most vulnerable. It’s an honor to serve and I look forward to sharing Craig’s vision across all 95 counties,” Sharp said.

Note: Sharp blogged on Tennessee politics prior to serving as press secretary to the Democratic campaigns of Mike McWherter for governor in 2010 and Gordon Ball for the U.S. Senate in 2014.

 

Another national media opinion: ‘Hot-button’ Blackburn beats ‘pragmatist’ Bredesen?

Stuart Rothenberg, editor of the national political newsletter Inside Elections, expresses doubt in a Roll Call article about Democrat Phil Bredesen’s prospects for defeating Republican Marsha Blackburn in Tennessee’s U.S. Senate race despite polls showing the former governor with an edge in the race so far. An excerpt:

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Politico profiles Tennessee Star: A ‘baby Breitbart’ looking to expand

Excerpt from a Politico report on Tennessee Star, described as a “baby Breitbart,” a right-wing publication with a mainstream name that is looking at expanding into other states:

Since being contacted by POLITICO last week, the Star has added the names of its top three editors to the “Contact Us” section of its website. The publication, it turns out, is owned and operated by Steve Gill, a conservative commentator and radio host, and Michael Patrick Leahy, a local political activist who also writes for Breitbart, though Breitbart is not itself involved in the Star. The pair write many of the stories on the site, Gill said.

“What we really did is provide something people are just starving for,” Gill said, explaining that he and Leahy started the site last year and that there are no other investors.

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Blackburn: Social media companies are censoring conservative speech

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn has warned congressional colleagues that social media companies are censoring conservative speech and recounted for lawmakers her own experience last fall when Twitter blocked a video launching her campaign for Senate, reports Michael Collins.

“This ban hit at the fundamental freedom to engage in political speech,” said the Brentwood Republican, who is running for Senate seat currently held by Bob Corker.

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House balks at requiring disclosure of social media political ad sponsors

A Senate-passed bill that would require the disclosure of who paid for political ads on social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook is likely dead for the year after failing to get enough votes in the House on Monday, reports the Associated Press.

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Blackburn campaign hires new communications director

Press release from Marsha Blackburn campaign

BRENTWOOD, TN – The Marsha for Senate campaign announced Abbi Sigler is joining the campaign as communications director. Andrea Bozek will continue to serve as a campaign advisor.

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Ralph Bristol begs off of state Senate bid

As we first reported in the current edition of the Tennessee Journal, former conservative talk radio host Ralph Bristol had agreed to run against state Sen. Jeff Yarbro (D-Nashville) this fall before ultimately changing his mind because of objections to the campaign tactics that he was told he would have had to pursue.

Following is Bristol’s own account about why he made the decision not to run:

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Columnist in chemotherapy backs medical marijuana bill

Frank Cagle, currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment for cancer, declares his support for legislation to legalize medical cannabis oil in his current News Sentinel column. It begins as follows:

If you lose 40 pounds and the sight and smell of food make you wretch, you are tempted to try most anything for relief. If you ask around, you can find cannabis oil here in Tennessee. But it has drawbacks.

— You don’t know where it came from.

— You don’t know what the dosage is.

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