Daily Archives: December 3, 2009

Sick

Dale Russell, WAGA

You’re now seeing insane jealousy, the greenest, ugliest and sickest sort imaginable.

There was no chance in hell Susan Richardson would talk to any reporter.  As a political wife recently divorced from one of Georgia’s most media-unfriendly politicians, Mrs. Richardson should have retained her ex-husband’s stonewalling nature. Her ex-, only weeks earlier, had publicly revealed a suicide attempt.

Political wives don’t talk on the record about their shifty husbands.  At least, not while the wounds are still fresh.  Hardly ever.

And yet, Susan Richardson did so.   Why?  Two reasons.  It suited her purposes, because she was desperate to get her scheming, manipulative ex-husband out of her life for good.  And, because Dale Russell of WAGA presumably had the audacity to actually ask her to do it.

(That’s an assumption.  It’s possible Mrs. Richardson initiated contact with Russell directly or through an intermediary.  Russell may not be able to say, though.  The details of those early communications probably involve the give-and-take of negotiating the interview.  I’m hoping Russell will enlighten us with a post on this site in the next few days, but I don’t expect him to tell everything…)

There are several reasons why this story is a pretty amazing feather in Russell’s cap.

The enormity.  Glenn Richardson just announced his resignation from the House of Representatives.  The House will have to choose another speaker.  Call it seismic, cataclysmic, apocalyptic — the story is the biggest talker in town.  It’s bigger than the mayor’s race.  It’s huge because Richardson was a huge force in state government, undone by his own arrogance, his willingness to transpose his brain and his boy-parts, and his inability to let his poor ex-wife get on with her life.

Richardson was forced to resign from his position of power because of this story.

The exclusivity.  Because Susan Richardson talked to nobody else, any other media reporting the story had to either cite WAGA as the source of the bombshell info (as the AJC did), or give vague (and wimpy) credit to “a TV interview” or “broadcast reports.”  Russell owned the story.

And yes, other media made efforts to play catchup.  WSB had a live truck parked outside Mrs. Richardson’s house all day Tuesday, we’re told.   She was unwilling to tell her story again.  She didn’t have to.  She didn’t tell the story as a public service.  She told the story to get her ex-husband off her back.  If she’d become a large-scale media presence, it could have turned Glenn Richardson into a victim, giving him ammunition he now lacks.

Once was enough.  Boy, was it ever.

Tight-lipped: Susan and Glenn Richardson

The storytelling. Sure, he had plenty of excellent raw material from the scorned woman.  But watch the story.    It starts off with her take on his suicide attempt, an effort to manipulate her, she says.  Then Russell goes into the back story.    He weaves  Richardson’s suicide drama with events in their estranged relationship.  (Turns out he’d threatened suicide previously, after she discovered he was having an affair with a lobbyist.)

Then we learn Richardson had threatened to use his political power to help his mistress and harm his estranged wife.   This is the stuff that cost Richardson his job as Speaker of the House.

It caps with the image of her unhappily holding a Bible for his swearing-in.   Now we know it was a climactic, abusive moment in a marriage that had already unraveled.

The story was expertly told, and WAGA gave Russell enough time (seven minutes, plus) to let Mrs. Richardson say her piece, devastatingly so.

Jealous?  Absolutely.  Dale Russell makes me sick with envy.  Others may not admit it.  I just did.