MSM “Ethics” In South Carolina

POST AND COURIER HAS NO ROOM TO TALK The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier published a fluff-filled editorial this week arguing in support of long-overdue ethics reform in South Carolina – a cliché-ridden piece that employed a lot of the same meaningless rhetorical drivel we’re used to hearing on this subject…


The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier published a fluff-filled editorial this week arguing in support of long-overdue ethics reform in South Carolina – a cliché-ridden piece that employed a lot of the same meaningless rhetorical drivel we’re used to hearing on this subject from Palmetto State politicians.

“Reforms are essential for citizens to be assured that those who represent them are acting in the public interest,” the paper noted.

Really?  You don’t say …

Later it added that “some” elected officials in South Carolina have been trying to “keep public business out of the public eye.”

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah BLAH.  Tell us something we don’t know, jerk-offs.

Ordinarily, we’d thank the Post and Courier for lending its support (hackneyed as it was) to the important work of ethics reform, but sadly  they never offered up any specific proposals.  Also, given the paper’s recent history we cannot permit their rank hypocrisy in raising this issue to go untouched.

Remember, The Post and Courier rakes in millions of dollars each year from state government in the form of tax exemptions.  It also recently forced out its only decent investigative journalist for having the audacity to expose a major scandal involving a powerful local politician, S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell.

Then, The Post and Courier actually had the gall to endorse Harrell’s reelection bid.

In other words, this outlet has about as much credibility talking bout “ethics” reform as S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley – who recently rolled out a modest list of proposals aimed at closing the very loopholes she has habitually exploited to achieve and maintain her position of power.

Weak …

South Carolina needs credible voices advancing specific reforms – not hypocrites speaking in platitudes.  Unfortunately in our state’s largest paper (and in our governor), we are stuck with the latter.

As our founding editor noted in one of his provocative tweets, “these assholes can lecture us about ‘ethics’ when they stop taking money from the criminals they endorse.”


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Will Folks


? November 30, 2012 at 8:58 am

Everything you wrote is fine except the tax exemption stuff, they aren’t “raking it in”, they are simply keeping more of their own money they make.

I know it’s frustrating for you when you don’t get the same tax breaks, and are trying to compete…but you have to let it go and instead focus on cheering for more tax breaks for everyone else so the playing field is level.

In other words, bitch that they are getting tax breaks that others aren’t getting but let’s not pretend they are collecting a check from SC if they are instead simply just getting to keep more of their own money than everyone else. (of course, many here think it’s SC’s money first and they get to decide how much of it to let you have…but that’s a whole nother’ issue)

Frank Pytel November 30, 2012 at 9:35 am

I concur, excepting that we absolutely should not be handing out more tax breaks or making the tax breaks sufficient to even the playing field.

It’s time that people come to the realization that taxes are paid from one location and one location only. The end user. It is fool hardy to think that every dime in taxes that a business “paid” doesn’t come out of your pocket at the very next purchase of goods or services in the form of higher prices.

By allowing governments to tax businesses, we give them free reign to raise taxes willie nillie without a care because they are taxing “business”. BS

No business should be taxed. Period. Personal Sales Tax. Personal Income Tax. Whatever y’all want as a tax is fine with me. But no business should ever pay a tax or get a tax deduction.

Have a Great Day!! :) There won’t be many left with the Demlicans and Republicrats in charge.

Frank Pytel

Frank Pytel November 30, 2012 at 9:36 am

Forgot to subscribe :)

Have a Great Day!! :) There won’t be many left with the Demlicans and Republicrats in charge.

Frank Pytel

Smirks November 30, 2012 at 10:59 am

I know it’s frustrating for you when you don’t get the same tax breaks, and are trying to compete…

To be fair, any other newspaper would get the same exemption, so their competition has a level playing field.

? November 30, 2012 at 11:27 am

So Smirks, if they have a website are they not competing in an area with Sic Willie?

I’m sure many a newspaper started with 1 guy and supporting contracted staff, don’t you think?

Original Good Old Boy November 30, 2012 at 12:49 pm

I don’t think this site “competes” with the papers. This is a gossip and rumor site. It is a good place for people to air their dirty little secrets about pols, judges, and others.

Anyway, I typically come here for the comments not the articles themselves. In the comments is often where you will find the true scoop. But I give credit to Will for giving people a platform to air the dirty laundry.

? November 30, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Obviously I disagree with you OGOB….I’d bet FITSnews gets more website traffic than the P&C; and if you count the # of stories on dirty pol antics he’s busted I’ll bet he’s got more expose’s too.

Even if you’re a Sic Willie hater you have to respect his accomplishments, especially when compared to the major establishment print sources….who have WAY more resources than he does.

The only other person that comes close is Corey Hutchins.

Original Good Old Boy November 30, 2012 at 2:01 pm

I seriously doubt he gets more website traffic than the P&C. I could be surprised, but I bet it’s not even close.

But that’s besides the point. The point is that while he may run some investigative-journalism stories, he is not competing for subscribers or viewers of the P&C, which is traditional, broad-based news media covering everything from home and garden to women’s basketball. People are not going to visit Will’s site in lieu of visiting the other, larger sites. But they may visit Will’s site to fill in the gaps or to read the latest rumor or gossip. His site is a supplemental and niche news source, not a primary one.

I’ve been plenty critical of Will in the past, but I don’t consider myself a hater. I give the Devil his due. He has filled a void with this website and it does provide a nice watchdog service that sheds light on many of the corrupt leaders in this state.

? November 30, 2012 at 2:31 pm

“I seriously doubt he gets more website traffic than the P&C. I could be surprised, but I bet it’s not even close.”

Of course, both our arguments hinge on this point.

I’d love to know the monthly hit counts, I definitely think FITSnews is getting more than the P&C.

? November 30, 2012 at 3:21 pm

According to Alexa you are right.

gregorybgeddings November 30, 2012 at 9:48 am

Tony Bartelme is a very good investigative reporter working for the Post and Courier. He recently wrote a scathing article about Banker’s Life, an insurance company that sells long-term nursing care to the elderly.

This was an excellent piece of in-depth journalism but I have to add a caveat. Banker’s Life is an easy target because it is far removed from the forces which are running our state into the ground. Too bad Tony is not given carte blanche to go wherever he detects a load of bullshit being passed off as sugar and spice.

I spoke with him at length a couple of years ago. He is a good, honest person but I can’t help but feel that his immense talents are going to waste in a crushing environment.

Ohnonotagain November 30, 2012 at 12:13 pm

Will, you have an enticing theory about what happened at the P&C, but you have absolutely no proof.
If you get proof, print it. Until you do, stop writing as if this theory is what happened.

Ethicist November 30, 2012 at 2:33 pm

In July 2011 the P&C wrote THREE editorials in TWO weeks objecting to the $4.9 million “rush purchase” by Charleston County Council of swampland owned by a client of Sen.-elect Paul Thurmond (brother of Essie-Mae, son of Sperm).

The Charleston County “Greenbelt Bank Board” that vets such purchases voted AGAINST buying this swampland.

Two County councilmen, Dickie Schweers and Herb Sass, voted AGAINST buying it, saying, “What is the rush?”

The Greenbelt Bank Board objected to County Council that the once-sterling integrity of its objective and impartial land-selection process had been compromised.

Thurmond, a Council member until January 2011, quietly phoned his former councilmen, and according to one, “tried to break my arm” to overrule the Greenbelt Bank Board and buy the swampland (called “Bulow Hunt Club”) anyway.

The swampland has a conservation easement that reduces its value by some $1.2 million — not good for the client — so Thurmond pressured the appraiser to issue a second appraisal showing that it was worth $1.2 million more than it is actually worth.

The appraiser followed Thurmond’s instructions but to protect his appraisal license, stated in all-capital letters that this new appraisal was done pursuant to an EXTRAORDINARY ASSUMPTION that the easement did not exist. That was a Pontius Pilate-like red flag saying, “I have nothing to do with this appraisal, which is probably false.”

For this telephone whipping, Thurmond received, unknown to anyone but Parks Commission Director Tom O’Rourke, a $100,000 “legal consulting fee” disclosed on the “Final HUD Settlement Statement.”

When Paul Tinkler, Thurmond’s opponent in the senate race, made an issue of this secret $100,000 profiteering and overcharging the public, Thurmond strong-armed the Parks Director into making a “robo-call” to thousands of voters in Senate District 41 saying that the purchase Thurmond pushed down the taxpayers’ throats was above-board, proper, and for the right price.

This despite the fact that the Parks Director, O’Rourke, told me in April that he considered Thurmond’s behavior “unethical” and “smells foul.”

The P&C’s endorsements helped replace the state’s most corrupt legislator — former Sen. Glenn McConnell — with another character whose behavior it found objecionable in three editorials.

The P&C’s endorsement of Harrell and Thurmond make today’s “ethics” editorial risible.

With the departure of Sen. Mike Rose (R-Dorchester), the Senate has only one ethical champion — Sen. Vincent Sheheen, whom I expect the republicans to muzzle.

I expect, at best, token ethics legislation to be passed in the 120th session.

Postscript: It would be reasonable to fully fund the new, independent, Office of State Inspector General, but the legislature has Pat Malley’s office on a starvation budget, $326,000. The five-headed “Ethics Commission” proposed by Gov. Haley and Atty. General Wilson is a political prank (aimed at their 2014 re-election bids) that makes a “jelly smear” out of ethics law enforcement. When five entities are in charge, NOBODY is in charge.

Suggestion: Take the $400,000 from the Lt. Governor’s four-man, 24-7-365 “security detail” and re-allocate it to the OIG so the OIG can hire more investigators.

Johnson November 30, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Nick Gonzalez left The News and Courier in 1876 for much the same reasons shown here – the newspaper was too politically connected to write the truth.

Chicora December 6, 2012 at 12:18 am

Goes deeper that that…..can you say rackiteering.

Henry M. November 30, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Right-o. Renee Dudley was thinking logically to leave the P&C and go to Bloomberg News. Investigative reporting that hits the political soft spot at the Post and Courier is discouraged.

Patko December 2, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Just so everyone is clear, “?” is really that little hausfrau busybody Nancy Yates.

The best transparency is everyone discloses everything, including you Will. Lead by example instead of hiding behind a keyboard and tell us who pays you and who funded LiberTEA.

? December 2, 2012 at 9:42 pm

Is Nancy Yates hot?

If so, dont mind if I feel myself up.

Philip Branton December 2, 2012 at 10:10 pm

What is really a shame is the fact that Mr. Folks and Mr Hicks both know that SKIRT MAGAZINE makes more ad revenue and has better public cache than the Post and Courier but yet neither one has the GUTS to actually call the EDITOR of the Post out…!!!

Wil……you take the time to write an ethics whizzer for your website but FAIL to mention the Ethics of the Post’s dealings with the “Horizon” project and surrounding real estate payoff..!?!

Wil Folks….your no doofus….and neither is Brian Hicks…!!!

Ya know…..Lin Bennett is smiling while reading this while chewing her Krispy Kremes…!!


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