accessAtlanta

City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Fox 5 banned from Nathan Deal immigration bill signing

Fox 5/WAGA-TV’s Justin Gray was blocked by state troopers from a public immigration bill signing held today by Gov. Nathan Deal at the Gold Dome. Why? Deal’s press office was angry about an unrelated, unflattering story Dale Russell had done the night before about Deal.

VIDEO: Governor Deal’s Office Bans FOX 5 Reporter from Immigration Bill Signing: MyFoxATLANTA.com

Below is the story that upset Deal’s office. The campaign had paid $90,000 to a fund-raising company the I-Team had never heard of called Southern Magnolia Capital. Russell discovered that company was connected to Deal’s daughter in law Denise Deal. Phil Wilheit, identified in the story as Deal’s campaign manager, told Russell the transaction was “transparent” but Russell said the firm has no website or any obvious public information or direct link to Deal’s name.

Fox 5 news director Mike McClain sent a statement today at about 5:30 p.m. to me: “FOX 5 Atlanta stands by our I-Team investigation and Reporter Dale Russell. The barring of FOX 5 cameras from the bill signing today was unacceptable and obviously an emotional reaction to our I-Team investigation. We’ve voiced out concerns to the Governor’s Office and hope that they will reconsider that decision.”

Deal’s spokesman Brian Robinson, when I called him, was still hot under the collar. He said the campaign never hid the fact Denise Deal ran the governor’s fund-raising campaign and having a family member do so is not illegal. He challenged me to Google the name “Southern Magnolia Capitol.” There was one site that immediately came up with her name attached to it: the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. (It was added, however, on May 10, just days before the report aired, so when Russell was first working on the piece, indeed, there was no sign of Deal’s connection with Southern Magnolia online.) He said she was compensated at a market rate. A P.O. box number Fox 5 identified as connected to Southern Magnolia was a clerical error, not a way to hide anything, he noted.

The person identified as campaign manager in the story Wilheit was the chairman, Robinson said, not the campaign manager, and he didn’t know all the details Fox 5 had showed him. Robinson thought they had “ambushed” him. The governor chose not to talk to Fox 5 about it because he didn’t want to be ambushed either, Robinson said.

He said the reason they blocked Gray was not anything Gray did but the fact the station did “a shoddy piece of journalism in which they should be embarrassed.” He is demanding an apology. He felt this was one way to punish Fox 5 because “we don’t have a TV station. We don’t have the power of the airwaves.”

Ironically, he said Deal has developed a good relationship with Fox 5 before this, noting the governor has has appeared on “Good Day Atlanta” since coming into office. “We’ve given them incredible access,” Robinson said. “That’s why this was so particularly upsetting to us.”

He said the story has “lots of innuendo but no context and very little facts.”

Judge for yourself:

I-Team: Gov. Deal Campaign Funds: MyFoxATLANTA.com

Join my Facebook fan page and Twitter.

By Rodney Ho, rho@ajc.com, AJCRadioTV blog

263 comments Add your comment

I'm luvin it

May 13th, 2011
4:17 pm

Who cares. Tired of everything Fox news related. I will watch the bill signing coverage on another channel.

Michelle S

May 13th, 2011
4:42 pm

It’s really disturbing to see the GA state patrol following the instructions of the governor’s office instead of enforcing state law. What other illegal activities are the troopers doing at the direction of the governor’s office?

SJ

May 13th, 2011
4:49 pm

Well, with Deal’s background on shady transactions, is this any surprise? I was naive to think that under the scrutiny of being governor, he would clean up his act.

Reality Bites

May 13th, 2011
4:52 pm

keep diggin Rodney…good piece btw. As a Republican, I want my party to be upfront and honest. If Deal doesnt feel he should be, or doesnt want to, well I say “Release the Hounds” -hounds being the press.

Just Sayin'

May 13th, 2011
4:54 pm

I’m not fan of Nathan Deal but I have to agree — it’s a shoddy piece of journalism.

gm

May 13th, 2011
4:58 pm

Oh, its Obama fault, this is what happends year after year when the hicks of Rep go out and vote for people like Deal, Sonny and the rest of the Rep klan, oh, I mean clan, continue Georgia puting these crooks in office, will you ever have enough???

YouSuck

May 13th, 2011
4:59 pm

this is such crap…why don’t you guys blow the whistle on Cynthia Tucker when she writes her crap? Why did you not make a big deal about the “BLACK” panthers blocking voters during the 2008 presidential campaign? You sir are a loser of a journalist.

Angela

May 13th, 2011
4:59 pm

What does he had to hid?

Free Speech

May 13th, 2011
5:00 pm

The Governor is a servant of the people, and should not exercise the power that has been entrusted to him maliciously.

If he did nothing wrong, how can you get ambushed? Get the facts from your people, share them with the public, move on.

Fox5 should have the same access that all other news outlets have. If this were an athlete, or an entertainer behaving like this, they would be blacklisted.

Rick

May 13th, 2011
5:01 pm

Shady Governor is shady.

gm

May 13th, 2011
5:01 pm

Whats new, same idiot of Georgia voters put these people in office year after year and think they are going to get different results””

TopCane

May 13th, 2011
5:02 pm

Nathan Deal lost the right to receive the benefit of the doubt through his past actions.

Freedom isn't really free in Georgia

May 13th, 2011
5:02 pm

Whats the big deal? Didn’t he buy the Capitol?

YouSuck

May 13th, 2011
5:04 pm

I take that back. I’m the loser. I’m just like the Governor…hiding. I won’t even use any semblance of my real identity to post my comments. How much of a coward am I? I Suck!

Peter Hoover

May 13th, 2011
5:04 pm

Y’all elected the stupid corrupt, bankrupt SOB. What did everyone expect? When is the last time you saw a leopard change it’s spots?

Reality Bites

May 13th, 2011
5:09 pm

Guys Rodney cant get at C. Tucker…she is above him in the corp Cox ladder. In the words Of J. Nicholson(as the joker) “This town needs an enema.”

YouSuck

May 13th, 2011
5:09 pm

@ YouSuck #2 …seriously? even a libtard like you could do better than that; however thumbs up on trying to be an internet thug though. You’re doing really well and way to keep the issue on attacking me personally and not having anything of substance to say about the article itself. You keep up the hoping and changing! Loser.

Rodney Ho

May 13th, 2011
5:11 pm

Calm down people! It’s Friday afternoon. Take a chill pill!

red79ford

May 13th, 2011
5:12 pm

First of all what do you expect he is a politician which means he’s a liar and a cheat. Did any of you people actually look at his record before he was voted into office. I hate to remind you of this but the governor couldn’t get a real job outside of politics based on his credit worthiness. Every job I have applied for wants to run a criminal check and a credit check, so either vote them all out or quit crying once they take office.

WTF?

May 13th, 2011
5:13 pm

Just shows yet again that ALL politicians, regardless of party affiliation are corrupt, could care less about the public and are only in office to funnel as much money into their bank accounts as possible. What’s the worst thing that can happen if they get caught? They resign before the inquiry starts and they walk away with YOUR money!!! And you are still complaining about the political situation and nobody is listening.

Rodney Ho

May 13th, 2011
5:14 pm

Just be civil. That’s all I ask. And don’t start attacking each other. It’s terribly uncouth.

Todd

May 13th, 2011
5:14 pm

This is indeed shoddy journalism. The story is the about the reporter’s search, and not about actual substance. His search was pretty poor. Was there an obligation for Southern Magnolia to list Ms. Deal on the databases he searched. No, so why list that as an example of coverup? Did he need to devote so much time to the PO box search without calling the politician’s office who incorrectly listed it, especially when the PO box was correctly listed on Gov. Deal’s disclosure? Nope, he turned a typo in another allegation of coverup. This was piss-poor journalism, and if it was about you or me rather than an elected official, we’d have a slam-dunk case for slander. Instead, this “journalist’s” only punishment was to have a reporter from his company excluded today. That is a slap on the wrist.

jj

May 13th, 2011
5:14 pm

GOP Crook begets Crook begets Crook

Home School Drop Out

May 13th, 2011
5:14 pm

Remember The Golden Rule.
Them what has the Gold. Will always make the Rules.

sickofthegovernment

May 13th, 2011
5:15 pm

Deal is not going to change his stripes just because he is in the public eye now. All politicians have an entitlement issue. They think they are entitled to screw all the rest of us for the benefit of their friends and lobbyist. Just look at the financial shape of this country today. Everyone needs to quit crying about it because we put them there. And it has NOTHING to do with the party affiliation. Each party screws us-just in different ways!

Sistah

May 13th, 2011
5:16 pm

Got nowhere in Arizona and Utah .. what makes you think it will hold up here in Georgia?
Then Deal has the “gull” to go to another country to “bring jobs to Georgia”. What a “crock!”

Here come the BOYCOTTS. And just wait till “food, restaurant and hotel” prices go through the roof. Oh yeh … make sure all these BUSINESSES get FINED. Start with the “chicken processing plants”, the “fields”, their “housekeepers”, etc.

* sigh *

Leigh Dawson

May 13th, 2011
5:17 pm

Very disturbing! When you are a public official, you can expect to be questioned about actions and motives. If you have nothing to hide, you present your case and let the facts speak for themselves. Countries run by tyrants and despots ban the media and try to snuff out opposing voices. I didn’t expect this to happen in my own state. However, this yahoo did resign from Congress when he was being investigated for possible wrong doings in his family business under the guise of running for governor. It was because of this that I did not vote for him. I hope others find his actions today just as disturbing. Government must be open and transparent. Keeping a news organization out of a public event because it ran a story that you disliked makes it appear that its story had substance and you have something to hide.

godoggo

May 13th, 2011
5:17 pm

Dale is a good journalist at most times………but it would be interesting if someone (an Indy News search company) started a diatribe about the News investigators themselves……silently follow and tape Dale, Dana (whom is also good), and many of the others and their families around publically ? Where they eat, drink, and be Merry ? Gather all that eye opening information and see if it leads to any personal decisions they may make in the public that could be viewed as questionable ?

Are know they are needed at times……But is anybody else curious : ) ?

Freedom isn't really free in Georgia

May 13th, 2011
5:21 pm

Start the boycott with Vidalia Onions, Coke, HomeDepot … all beneficiaries of our Hispanic population.

Andre

May 13th, 2011
5:21 pm

Just by doing that, they look even more guilty!!

James

May 13th, 2011
5:21 pm

Good for you Governor!!!

DannyX

May 13th, 2011
5:22 pm

Welcome to the old Soviet Union!

One Party rule. Government controlled media.

red79ford

May 13th, 2011
5:23 pm

People have to learn to quit looking at the party banners the politicians wrap themselves up in to get elected. Look beyond the rhetoric and look at what they have done in the past. Because rest assured they will not change their ways. By the time they move up to take a high office they are well versed in the art of parlor tricks to keep the everyday voter deaf, dumb and blind.

jd

May 13th, 2011
5:24 pm

Deal is not only financially and morally bankrupt, he is also intellectually bankrupt. He apparently is too dense to realize that his own campaign was trying to pull a fast one. I bet a lot of campaign money is being used to pay down his personal debt and that of his daughter, Carrie.

booberry

May 13th, 2011
5:24 pm

Deal is a crook and they proved it when he was running for Govenor and them fools in Georgia still voted for him and now more dirt about him is comming out what a bunch of morons in Georgia

Ed

May 13th, 2011
5:25 pm

He a loser….
What do you expect from a used car saleman…ah Hello!

Ed

May 13th, 2011
5:27 pm

“Good for you GOV….”
James you are as dumb as the BIG DEAL….
You idiots talk about Obama’s “Socialism”. This is Communist, GoV run Media….

Matt the Brave

May 13th, 2011
5:30 pm

Deal’s as crooked as a dog’s hind leg. If he can’t take a little criticism, he’s in the wrong business.

watching

May 13th, 2011
5:30 pm

Don’t know anything about the Deal story, but Russell is a hack who rarely does his homework.

booberry

May 13th, 2011
5:31 pm

Deal is funneling money from the Hope Scholarship to his bank account he is a crook and should be brought down and put in jail. I hope more dirt comes up about him and they Impeach his dirty A$$

bill

May 13th, 2011
5:31 pm

Black panthers effecting the election. lol You mean to two black guys standing in front of a voting place. And the voting there was the same percentages of r and d it always was. Funny the right leaves that part out.

The Ghost of Lester Maddox

May 13th, 2011
5:31 pm

Good Lord, so an Atlanta media outlet has served up a story that paints a Republican in a bad light….and this is a surprise to anyone on the planet?

I guess the TV ‘news’ didn’t have enough of the following to make a complete hour long “show”: (a) apt fires in Dekalb; (b) animal abuse stories; (c) some caucasian said/did something to make some non-caucasian mad and demand a retraction; (d) usual drive by shooting at some club between 2 am and 4 am; (e) latest round of nepotism by Fulton or Dekalb or Clayton gov’t; (f) latest inside information land deal in Gwinnett; (g) umpteenth anniversary of some unsolved crime; or, (h) bad weather on the way, brought to you by Publix or Kroger.

Just another day in the ATL.

Hmmmmmmmm

May 13th, 2011
5:36 pm

Governor Deal is a MORON! What was he thinking

dilly

May 13th, 2011
5:36 pm

You should never give a politician the benefit of the doubt – they all have a tendency to bend things the way they want to and what will benefit them the most. By the same token, you should never give the news media the benefit of the doubt. Most are liberal leaning and report as much info that is anti conservative as they can – they would not know the truth if it hit them up the side of the head. A good reporter looks for the facts and reports the facts – not taking things out of context or misreading, and not making misleading statements.

south georgia possum

May 13th, 2011
5:37 pm

Fox 5. How Shoddy and what a cheap stab at the governor. Bill O’riley would be pisssssed! at such sloopy reporting. Don’t blame those in charge..i wouldn’t have let you in the governor’s office either.

LackLusterLife

May 13th, 2011
5:39 pm

A hit dog always hollars! Keep up the pursuit Dell and get Deal. We knew he was a crook going in, that’s why the ice storm happened as nature’s response to prevent inauguration. Hell give him a run for his money daily if possible. No crook should enjoy his spoils.

Wade

May 13th, 2011
5:40 pm

This crooked politician is doing just what I expected when you fools elected him into office! Now he is trying to control the media! That’s a dangerous thing when the people in power think they should be immune to the scutiny of the media; it’s a sign of worse things to come, mark my words.

cwilli

May 13th, 2011
5:40 pm

Deal was voted in office now the he is shedding his skin. He’s a devil in disguise oh yes he is a devil in disguise. He’s in office we have to deal ( get it) with it ; let’s not make the same mistake twice.

jim

May 13th, 2011
5:40 pm

The first rule of journalism is get the facts first–sounds like Channel 5 did a shoddy job trying to smear the govenor–But of course this is Atlanta, the heart of progressive thinking–if Deal were a Black Govenor then it would have been overlooked.

Boatdrinks

May 13th, 2011
5:41 pm

A crooked politician??? Who would have ever guessed that.