Professional journalist Bob Mercer says it's we politicos' fault that the media didn't show up for our party conventions last weekend. Send out more press releases, says Mercer, jazz up the conventions... oh, and if you want the press to come next time, stop saying mean things about us.
Mr. Powers is running a poll where you can register your opinion on who's to blame for the lack of convention coverage last weekend. I encourage you to click in and vote.
I can sympathize to some extent with Mr. Mercer's point. Reporters, like bloggers, can only cover so many stories. I certainly have to pick and choose my topics here. And when the parties work extremely hard to manage the message coming out of the convention and avoid any divisive controversy from the floor, I can understand the conscientious reporter wanting to perhaps stand back from the propaganda machine.
Then again, a reporter or two at the convention might be better positioned to dig up the stories that lie beneath the shiny happy press releases that come afterward, to get the unscripted, uncontrolled message from delegates and candidates who come to challenge the status quo of the state and of their own party.
As for giving the people what they want, well, yes, as my neighbor one state removed Mr. O'Loughlen notes, most folks do prefer to talk about the weather over who's running for PUC. But don't tell me that it doesn't run the other way, that what we want to talk about isn't shaped to some degree by what the press chooses to talk about. KELO can lead with storm damage photos to get the audience to tune in, then say, "Now that we've got your attention, let's look at some important political news that affects your life...." The press should function as educator and advocate as well as entertainer and sater of desires.
But hey, if the media needs us to spice up our conventions to get their attention, I can fill that bill. Bob, Kevin, Perry (yes, Perry: you know he'd be a hoot covering the convention!), in 2012, I will be at the South Dakota Democratic Convention. I will float my resolution supporting George McGovern's Medicare for Everyone again. I'll plan some tricky parliamentary maneuvers. I'll rewrite the education plank to dissolve the Department of Education and double teacher pay. I'll even wear my amazing orange fluorescent Hawaiian shirt for good visuals. It'll be a blast! Bring your notebooks and cameras!
Or we could just count on a nice normal political convention, with the informative and serious journalistic coverage we expect from the Fourth Estate.
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