Friday, August 19, 2005

Working to Create a Drumbeat for the Winchester Billygoat?

Just got back into town last night after a relaxing three days at Dad's condo on Lake Maxinkuckee in Indiana, and spent a few hours catching up on the newspaper's accumulating at home.

It appears that the RTD's Jeff "Good Copy" Schapiro is not alone in his effort to create a drumbeat for the Winchester Billygoat.

The Pot. News said today that "Potts is no gadfly seeking attention. He is a member of the State Senate who filed his petition for candidacy to be included in this race. He has credentials." [Sorry. There's no link to the full editorial yet (typical Pot. News), and I'm not retyping it here.]

The Washington Post said today that "Mr. Potts is hardly a fringe figure: A four-term state senator, he chairs the Senate's Education and Health Committee and sits on the powerful Finance Committee."

Then there's the Daily Press, which said in an editorial yesterday that "Potts is a legitimate candidate who happens, by the way, to have some of the more thoughtful and courageous political positions - particularly on transportation and public finances - in this campaign. Potts is a senior member of the state Senate. He has been elected to four consecutive four-year terms. He's no turnip that just fell off the truck." [Thanks to Norm over at One Man's Trash for picking up this one.]

Norm also has a piece today which gets it about right: "WaPo Pimping Potts."

What is more interesting is the timing and phraseology of all of these pieces. It looks at though those fine "journalists" at the WaPo and the Pot. News are glomming off of the Daily Press, having done little more than taking out their hand thesauri (thesauruses?) to insure that the rhetoric wasn't identical.

When I was an opinion columnist, critics attacked me for a lack of journalistic "ethics," even though I made no pretense about being a "journalist." But the reality of the professional "journalists" is reflected in their virtually identical efforts to create a drumbeat for the Winchester Billygoat.

In the days before electronic media, candidates used to be able to campaign by making different and sometimes conflicting promises in different venues to pander for the votes of differing constituencies. The telegraph, telephones, and wire services made that more difficult.

Just as the web has made it more difficult for supposedly "independent" print media to glom off one another to pursue a virtually identical political agenda.

Thankfully, one can count upon the blogosphere to look at the Winchester Billygoat and his "agenda" of convenience with a somewhat more jaundiced eye.


Norman said...

I'd missed the Potomac News piece...thanks (I think).

The seeming co-ordination between these papers on the Potts matter is almost breathtaking. But it's also shallow and lazy -- I think the Shipley piece alone has raised more questions about Potts than all the other major papers combined.

criticallythinking said...

He's elected because a cadaver could win that district if they said they were a republican.

He's head of a committee because he's old, and has lived in his solidly republican district for a long time.

He's still a senator because in 2003 he was still saying he was a pro-life senator who opposed tax increases and supported referenda. And because as an incumbent he got a lot of support from those who think incumbents deserve to be re-nominated as a matter of entitlement.

And he's on the ballot because he has enough connections derived from his influential position to easily have enough money to finance a petition drive.

I note that he didn't have enough signatures to get into the republican primary, and it is likely that he got lots of democrats who thought it would be grand to get him in the race, assuming he would hurt Kilgore.

Fitch got enough signatures to be in the republican primary, but I don't remember a drumbeat of support for HIM from these papers -- they ignored him because he had no chance. And he certainly was "significant", after all he was an elected mayor AND the subject of a major motion picture.

Will Vehrs said...

What I don't understand is the Potts editorial board lobby's infatuation with the "everything is on the table" bumper sticker message. Just what does that mean?

I know the lobby wants a tax increase--heck, several if they can get it. But their boy Potts hasn't committed to raising taxes--he just keeps saying "there's no free lunch"--and he hasn't said he'd veto a General Assembly transportation plan that doesn't include a tax increase. He's given no inkling of how much of a tax increase he's considering, nor has he discussed just what that tax increase might buy.

And he won't. The editorial board lobby won't ask him to. They know that would be the kiss of death for his candidacy. They just want him to ride into office "everything is on the table" and fulfill their fondest dreams by raising the taxes he won't commit to right now.