Prominent journalist must not have anything better to do than attack Tennessee Watchdog


By Chris Butler | Tennessee Watchdog

NASHVILLE — Phil Williams, chief investigative reporter for Nashville’s News Channel 5, evidently doesn’t want Tennessee Watchdog posing questions about why Tennessee Supreme Court officials scheduled 10 unprecedented executions before their retention election.

And if Williams has his way, the Tennessee Supreme Court will remain majority Democrat and out of touch with conservative Tennessee values.

The court, as previously reported, appoints the state attorney general. The current occupant of that office, Bob Cooper, is also a Democrat who refused to fight Obamacare in court.

Phil Williams

Did your health insurance costs go up because of the law?

Thank Cooper for that — but while you’re doing that also ask him if he has any intentions of fighting the new EPA coal emissions reductions in court, on your behalf.

After all, your electricity costs are likely to rise because of these new regulations.

As for Williams, he normally spends his time and energies going after powerful politicians, but he has now directed his energies at Tennessee Watchdog and me, by name.

Why is he bothering with me?

Williams, evidently having nothing better to do with this time, reached all the way back for a story I wrote two and a half months ago, in which I noted that the state has only executed six people since 1960.

To be blunt, I’ve had conversations with many people in Nashville who perceive Williams is totally in the tank for justices Connie Clark, Sharon Lee and Gary Wade in an Aug. 7 retention election.

In a story Wednesday, Williams tried to portray me as a stooge for the Koch brothers.

Williams evidently thinks that all he has to do is mention the Koch brothers, and the issue is settled.

Never mind the fact that the left wing ProPublica recently released an authoritative study on Koch brothers funding — isn’t on the list.

Williams, in his apparent zeal to win retention for the three justices, rarely ever tells you that the nonprofit Justice At Stake, whom he has cited in a few of his stories, is funded by the left-wing George Soros.

Granted, he did admit it on air once, but only after Tennessee Watchdog broke that story. And when he did admit it he defensively mentioned that two Republicans, including former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Conner, were affiliated with it.

I’m not the only reporter in Tennessee who has posed questions about the 10 set executions, and Williams should have known that already.

Is Williams wasting his time on Tennessee Watchdog because we broke stories he didn’t — and likely wouldn’t?

Tennessee Watchdog was the first to report that the justices hired an Obama operative to help run their campaign. We also first reported that trial lawyers are holding swanky fundraisers for the justices, and that the justices’ have deep partisan ties to the Democratic Party.

All of this while the justices swear up and down that partisanship has no place in this campaign nor does it have any place corrupting an independent judiciary.

Many people in the state have credited Tennessee Watchdog as having taken the lead on this story. The establishment media, including Williams, don’t like the competition or the influence Tennessee Watchdog is having on this election.

That’s why he won’t stay focused on his own work.

More importantly, if he’s going to attack me in a story, then why didn’t he contact me for comment?

That’s just bad manners.

Why is it that the only point of view I may have while pursuing this story is Williams’?

And while I have your attention, Mr. Williams, I’ll go ahead and ask you about something I was tipped on two weeks ago, but originally passed on.

You work for a mainstream TV news station.

In response to a post on your professional Facebook page, one man urged people to call talk radio programs, and write letters to the editor and Facebook posts on the three justices’ behalves.

You pressed the ‘Like’ button on that comment.

Is that what you mean by being an objective reporter?

By the way, Mr. Williams, as for the Tennessee Watchdog shout-out, as well as the link to the website, you saved us a lot of money by introducing us to a whole new audience of readers.

For the free publicity, I thank you!

Contact Christopher Butler at or follow him and submit story ideas on his official Facebook page.

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