Briley takes parting shot at press

Wednesday, May 21, 2008 at 1:32am
State Rep. Rob Briley, who was arrested on DUI charges among others in September 2007, criticized the media for publicizing his 'personal destruction.' Courtesy of Watertown Police Department

In bidding farewell to the state House Tuesday, Rep. Rob Briley criticized the press for the “publishing of personal destruction” and called on the media for greater responsibility.

“The right to a free and open press though comes with a responsibility, and from my experience over the past year, that responsibility is not being lived up to,” Briley (D-Nashville) said from the main House podium.

“We used to talk about the politics of personal destruction. Well that’s no longer what’s going on. It’s the publishing of personal destruction, and we owe it to ourselves to do better than that. We owe it to the rest of our society to do better than that.”

Late last year, Briley was the center of the Nashville media’s attention after he was arrested and later convicted of DUI and charged with felony evading arrest for leading police on a 100-plus-mph high-speed chase. The felony charge was suspended.

A police video was released chronicling the traffic stop, in which Briley made suicidal threats, and the incident occurred at roughly the same time Briley was going through a divorce and allegations of marital infidelity.

Briley, a self-acknowledged alcoholic, later went to rehab and is not seeking re-election to his House District 52 seat.

Briley said that government needs to be “as open as possible.”

“But the press needs to understand that if they’re not responsible with that information, that they’re not going to have access to it anymore,” Briley said.

In addition to the mainstream press, Briley criticized bloggers, remarking that “just because you say it, doesn’t make it true.”

Prior to bashing the media, Briley thanked his two children, legislators past and present, Speaker Pro Tem Lois DeBerry (D-Memphis) and House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh (D-Covington).

“Speaker Naifeh, I could never say enough good things about you,” Briley said. “We experienced I think a lot of the same things. People have said a few nasty things about me over the past year. I know you’ve had that experience being up here as well. And you’ve shown me the strength to get through that, the guidance to get through that, and I thank you for that and I love you.”

Besides Briley, other lawmakers bidding farewell included Rep. Randy Rinks (D-Savannah), the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, and Rep. Phillip Pinion (D-Union City), the chairman of the House Transportation Committee.

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By: Penny on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Dear Rob Briley,What a bunch of hogwash! You were elected to public office by the public. Therefore all of your actions, reactions, and stupid actions are then made public so that the public, who elected you, would know exactly what kind of person you are whether personally or professionally. No one asked you to seek election, you created and took that option. Therefore, you placed yourself in the public eye....not us. In the future, think about what you are doing before you do.....especially when you choose to do it on more than one occassion!Sincerely,The Public

By: fdanshep on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Sorry, Rob. You could have bowed out gracefully with a degree of sympathy from your constituents but you chose to make another bad decision in bashing the press because they did not sweep your indescretions under the rug.You really need to grow up!

By: WickedTribe on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Yeah, politicians have to hold themselves to a higher standard of public scrutiny. It's particularly sad when someone like Rob Briley doesn't hold himself to a standard that's on par with even the average Joe who's not a politician.

By: kittykat1960 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

The 'publishing of personal destruction" can only occur if one is acting out in a personally destructive manner. Evidently Rob hasn't learned to keep his mouth shut and keep a low profile. After his embarrassing displays over the past year, I was offended that the legislature would honor him with a resolution. Just another example of politicians taking care of their own.

By: martindkennedy on 12/31/69 at 6:00

The media, via the exposure, may have saved you Rob. It cost you your House seat but big deal.

By: snookster on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Well its a 12 step program and it looks like Briley is hung up around Step 7 or 8. Hang in there Rob and don't let the man get you down!

By: girliegirl on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Sorry, but Rob isn't even half way through the steps. And he keeps forgetting he could've easily killed several people that day. Guess all that alcohol has destroyed too many brain cells.

By: frank brown on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Thank goodness the "Press" unmasked this charlatan

By: BigPapa on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Wow- looks like someone that sees his position as a God given right becase of his last name.What a total A hole.

By: RoyceEBurrageJR on 12/31/69 at 6:00

"Poets and Kings"...But Rob...most of us do understand. We felt the same way after our first one.

By: shinestx on 12/31/69 at 6:00

What a tool. Guess times have changed. His grandfather was a chronic drunk driver, but the media enabled him by sweeping it under the rug. Guess they couldn't do that for Robbie.

By: slacker on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Rob...Move to another state and start over.