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Statement of Dan McLagan, Communications Director for Governor Perdue

Friday, November 18, 2005  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


ATLANTA – Dan McLagan, communications director for Governor Perdue issued the following statement today:

“I was gratified to see Cynthia Tucker respond in today's AJC to my observations of hypocrisy and censorship at her newspaper.  I was also amused by her defense and felt that I should share my observations about it with the broader audience which has now found the topic of interest.  This is in lieu of writing an opinion piece which Ms. Tucker would likely not run as it contradicts the liberal worldview of the Cox media empire.

“This all revolves around a lead editorial in the paper yesterday condemning Governor Perdue for luring 2,000 new Aflac jobs to Columbus with tax incentives.  The AJC asked us to present an alternate opinion and we did.  One of the central points of our response was that the paper's position was hypocritical because their parent company, Cox Enterprises, which also owns WSB-TV, solicited (through a consultant group) and received tax incentives to locate its corporate headquarters in Fulton County .

“Ms. Tucker claims that my previous statements on this topic were “inaccurate” and that she needed to censor me essentially for my own good.  The “inaccuracy” she refers to is the fact that I had submitted an opinion piece on the topic months before, but referred to “Cox Communications” as the parent company rather than “Cox Enterprises.”  It is terribly difficult to keep track of the sprawling liberal conglomerate controlled by Anne Cox Chambers.  They didn't run that opinion piece – in fact they never responded to me at all.

“The tax breaks are indisputable and are spelled out in black and white in documents I obtained from the Fulton County Attorney's Office under the state's open records laws.  The tax documents and at least one other media outlet say $6.7 million, Ms. Tucker says $3.4 million. 

“By the way, this champion of openness in government had the consultants representing them refer to the incentive/development deal as “Project Mercury” – presumably in order to hide the identity of the company (Cox) seeking the incentives.  When they eventually went public, the AJC did write several stories about their new building – none mentioned the tax incentives.

“Ms. Tucker also claims that I removed a press release from our website because of said inaccuracies.  That is not true and, in fact, I have no idea what she's talking about.  In the interest of full disclosure, I frequently have trouble understanding her.”