A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky Today: Gov. Bevin vindicated on house purchase but how to undo ‘media bombardment’

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Gov. Matt Bevin has been vindicated in the purchase of a home for his family, but not before he was beaten to a pulp by political opponents and newspapers owned by out-of-state corporations accusing him of benefiting from a “sweetheart deal.”

Turns out that Bevin actually paid more for the home in Anchorage than it was worth, based on findings by the Jefferson County Board of Assessment Appeals.

It’ll be impossible to negate the damage that has already been done through the rush to judgment. How do you undo months of bad press?

Bevin was absolutely hammered with frontpage headlines in the Courier-Journal, owned by a Virginia company, and the Lexington Herald-Leader, owned by a California company, about the alleged “sweetheart deal” between him and one of his supporters, a Kentucky businessman who serves on a government panel that oversees the state retirement system.

Television was right in the middle of the media frenzy, too. Airspace above the Bevin family’s private residence was invaded by drones and helicopters shooting video footage.

The matter was even dragged before the Executive Branch Ethics Commission, which unanimously dismissed allegations that Bevin had succumbed to some kind of ethical lapse in the purchase.

So, now, we know the facts. Bevin purchased the home for $1.6 million. Its value is actually $1.39 million. In other words, he paid more than the home was worth.

We’re living in a divided America, one in which talking heads are stirring up anger and hatred to levels never seen before. That’s not lost on political leaders who realize the dangers. That’s why Bevin wisely purchased a home that provided him, his wife and children at least some level of protection from people on the fringe who might be whipped into a frenzy by the hate-filled rhetoric.

Thanks to months of media bombardment, complete with photos of the home, much of Kentucky now knows what the home looks like as well as the precise address.

Perhaps an apology would be in order from those who dragged Bevin and his family through this media firestorm and who have invaded a public servant’s private space.

Kentucky Today is an online newspaper, based in Louisville. It is published by the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

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