Website questions Tennessean story on Boyd

The conservative website Tennessee Star appears torn between its opposition to Republican gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd and its hostility toward The Tennessean newspaper.

The newspaper has broken several important stories recently in the governor’s race, including that Bill Lee’s company has received at least $13.8 million in government contracts since 2012; that Diane Black voted in the Democratic primary in 1996 (when the Clinton-Gore ticket was on the ballot, though her campaign denies she voted for the incumbents); and that Boyd’s company opened offices in Ireland that allowed the business to avoid U.S. taxes.

While the Star has been happy to label Boyd as “La Raza Randy” and claim that the Gov. Bill Haslam is somehow rigging the primary in Boyd’s favor, the report about the “Double Irish” tax arrangement seems to have gotten stuck in the website’s craw.

In a lengthy story posted Monday, the site recounts how it tried — and failed — to reconstruct the Tennessean story, going so far as to call an expert the paper had quoted to ask for the supporting documents. The professor politely told the site to ask the Tennessean for the documents. The Star also got a comment from an Irish government spokeswoman to say that the tax documents are not public records.

That newspaper reporters work to divulge information that public officials might not like to see the light of day shouldn’t come as a surprise to the Star or anyone else. But the website is run by Steve Gill, who has long criticized The Tennessean and other media outlets for their reporting. Especially when their coverage has focused on Gill clients like former state Reps. Joe Carr and Jeremy Durham (who have paid Gill $39,226 and $22,230 respectively over the last couple of years).

Interesting side note: Tennessee Jobs Now, the PAC funded by Boyd-supporter Joe Hollingsworth that has run negative radio and TV ads about Diane Black, paid Gill’s company $750 in March, according to public campaign finance records.

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