Cronyism + spin = new TVA board nominees

Posted by R. Neal

Bush announced his nominations to the newly expanded TVA board of directors. See if you can spot the spin in the Knoxville News Sentinel's report (registration required):

WASHINGTON - President Bush recommended a wide variety of experts for the Tennessee Valley Authority's expanding board - from a banking executive in Nashville to the general counsel of the Republican National Committee.

If approved by the Senate, the five nominees and two current members will create a new quorum for an eventual nine-member board that sets wholesale power rates and makes other decisions affecting local utilities, flood control and economic development in Tennessee and parts of six adjoining states.

A "wide variety of experts." That's one way to put it. The Maryville Daily Times put it another way:

KNOXVILLE -- Five people, most with ties to the Republican Party, were nominated Friday by President Bush to fill new seats on an expanded board of directors overseeing the Tennessee Valley Authority, the country's largest public utility.

None has utility experience, but all have either worked for Republican administrations or been donors to GOP campaigns, including the president's.

Interesting how a smaller newspaper in an adjacent and predominately Republican county is able to get it right. My favorite pick is Susan Williams, who runs a PR firm in Knoxville. Her main qualification appears to be that she's a former Tennessee Republican Party chair. Oh, and her father worked for TVA, so there's that.

OK, then.