Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

McClellan: Larry Conners "Issue" Proves Facebook Is Not Your Friend

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

McClellan: Larry Conners "Issue" Proves Facebook Is Not Your Friend

Article excerpt

Good morning, graduates.

I have been asked to fill in as your commencement speaker. Your scheduled speaker, an esteemed television news anchorperson, is unable to address you this morning. He sends his regrets. At least he would if he could. He cannot.

Let me read a letter I received from his attorney Friday morning.

"To Whom it May Concern: As the attorney for Larry Conners, I am constrained to advise you that he is barred by corporate from making statements, posting on Facebook, or participating in interviews on the IRS issue. That is the only reason for his silence. Very truly yours, Merle L. Silverstein."

You are probably aware of what Mr. Silverstein calls "the IRS issue." Larry Conners recently went on Facebook and stated that the Internal Revenue Service had started "hammering" him shortly after he interviewed President Barack Obama in April 2012. Apparently, it was a "hard-hitting" interview. I did not see it.

I am, as some of you know, a newspaper person. Newspaper people conduct interviews all the time, but our interviews are usually low- key affairs. We're in the information-gathering business. We are seldom confrontational. Occasionally, we might challenge somebody's facts or recollection of events, but even then, we're usually respectful. We might simply point out that somebody else remembers things differently. Our interviews are not good theater.

We don't even wear makeup.

A "hard-hitting" television interview is theatrical. Most often, the person doing the interview is rude. I am not being critical. Things are what they are.

So after a "hard-hitting" interview with the president, the IRS began to "hammer" Conners. Does that makes sense? Yes and no.

Yes, because the IRS was, about the same time, challenging conservative groups that were seeking tax-exempt status. In other words, the IRS was going after the president's enemies. That sounds Nixonian, but as I said earlier, things are what they are.

No, because to be quite frank about this, Conners and Obama are not exactly Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty. Obama is the Leader of the Free World, and Conners is a television anchorperson in a state in which Obama did not even bother to campaign.

At any rate, Conners went on Facebook and made the connection between his interview and his IRS problems. …

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