by Chris Haire
I'm not going to knock the Orangeburg Times and Democrat. Nope. Not going to do it.
I've pulled off I-26 on the way to Greenville and grabbed a burger at Wendy's in that fair South Carolina town, many, many times.
Sometimes I've even gotten a spicy chicken sandwich. Other times a single. Occasionally, I've even gotten a double ... with cheese.
But the point is that I'm not going to knock the Times and Democrat. Orangeburg has treated me just swell. In fact, I'm sure I can find a few french fries underneath the driver's seat of my car that are in near-mint condition. Hell, given the right conditions — let's say snowed in on the Donner pass — I'd eat them and enjoy every single motherfucking bite.
That said, I can't for the life of me figure out why in the hell the Times and Democrat named Nikki Haley their Person of the Year.
Not that it matters what I think. Gov. Haley doesn't read Haire of the Dog. Which, of course, is understandable. I can count on one, extended middle finger the number of times I've said something nice about Haley. And evidently I'm not the only Palmetto State journo the good guv doesn't read. Truth be told, she doesn't read a single one of us.
In the Times and Democrat's Person of the Year profile, this is what Haley said:
You know, what I have learned is that we don't read the local press. We don't watch the local TV. My press guys will give me clips and I see the headlines and they keep me informed. But I just stopped reading it. I stopped reading it and I stopped watching it because if I governed to the press, I'm not governing.
Fuck. Talk about having no balls.
Seriously, folks, is this the chief exec you wanted, a pampered starlet who refuses to read bad press? For Pete's sake, is the Governor's Mansion located on Hollywood Boulevard?
Of course, that's not all. Haley also throws a jab at those who criticize her lack of transparency (see the Governor's Office's habit of deleting emails in clear violation of state public records law).
"I'm not worried that we haven't been transparent. What I know now is when you run on transparency, they will always say you're not transparent enough."
Ugh. I tell you, it's this type of spin that has caused me to distrust our elected officials, their handlers, and their lackeys. They will find a way to find no fault in any faulty action they ever make. They cannot be wrong. They are always right. And who are we to prove otherwise?
Call me crazy, but I think Haley is lying. I don't think she's transparent. Not one bit. There's the aforementioned policy of deleting emails, and now there's this: Haley claims that she and her chief of staff, Tim Pearson, evidently do not communicate via email. Or at least they didn't between Nov. 1, 2011 and Nov. 30, 2011, according to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by yours truly. (Whether it was done in a drunken fit, I can't tell you, so feel free to read into it what you will.)
Now, for those of you who aren't privy to the ins and outs of workplace life in the Information Age, that may not seem all that shocking. But the truth is, it is. In fact, the notion that two co-workers — particularly a boss and her right-hand man — would not exchange a single email over a 30-day period is preposterous.
Consider this: Over the course of that same time period, the editor of the City Paper, Stephanie Barna, sent me 29 emails while your favorite drunken reporter sent his boss 53 emails. (That's 82 more emails during the month of November than Haley and Pearson exchanged.)
Then again, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Haley is being honest. Especially when she told the Times and Democrat, "I'm not worried that we haven't been transparent."