Antonio French has a post up about Saint Louis Mayor Francis Slay allegedly buying good coverage by the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch, the largest daily paper in the state. A couple of weeks ago, the Saint Louis American exposed Slay money funneled to a couple of local African-American newspapers, and there’s no question that the P-D’s coverage of Slay has been pretty favorable.
However, the way Slay is supposedly paying off the P-D is… well, cheap. Slay has apparently directed city lobbyists to press Jeff City to “support local newspapers” in the upcoming legislative sessions. That’s a triple bank shot, at least. I can’t imagine that they would give him years of favorable coverage only on the vague promise of some city lobbying to an unsympathetic target like the Republican-dominated lege.
More likely, the editors and/or reporters just plain like Slay, and their comfort and ease with him lead them to blind spots regarding his weaknesses. It’s happened with all sorts of leaders, from George W. Bush to John F. Kennedy.
I found a greater scandal (which is to say not that big a deal) in something Antonio mentioned in comments, namely that the P-D has a Community Advisory Board which advises them on editorial stances. Sounds harmless, but a) it assumes that the reporters who cover the city are clueless and distant from the communities they are covering, and b) the CAB includes people like the mayor, the mayor’s chief of staff, and Paul McKee, some of the very people the P-D should have been investigating.