That being said, I was both saddened and amused to read the News-Leader's endorsement of Billy Long in this morning's edition. Not because of the political aspects. If the newspaper's editorial board believes Long has the right stuff to represent this corner of the state in Washington, then by all means it should offer its endorsement.
What was particularly depressing for someone who has spent most of his adult life digging beneath the surface on stories of all kinds, is the News-Leader's assertion that the allegations made against Billy Long's character are "murky."
Perhaps the reason those allegations are still murky is because of the shallow, superficial reporting job done by the newspaper regarding the accusation that Billy Long cavorted with strippers, gambled, and used racist, sexist, and homophobic slurs.
The editorial reads, "We strongly emphasize here that despite recent suggestions Long has acted improperly and boorishly, attacks on his character remain unsubstantiated.
"We also must stress that the attacks were orchestrated or at least encouraged by Long's opponent Scott Eckersley and they were based on flimsy evidence. Therefore, we put those murky allegations aside."
Judging from the page-one article in Sunday's News-Leader, those "murky allegations" were put aside before the reporting began.
Though it is hard to prove a negative, a thorough investigation would likely have made it quite clear whether the allegations against Long had merit. A complete search of documents and a more extensive list of interview subjects might have provided readers with a truer picture of what did or did not happen in the back room of the Metropolitan Grill.
Instead, it appears the reporters had to be told who to interview and relied almost entirely on the Long and Eckersley camps for sources. Old fashioned shoe leather reporting never played a role in this long ((no pun intended), but essentially meaningless story.