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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Cover the Conventions: Whose Job Is It?

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.


  1. I remember conventions when the reporters would be floating among the hospitality rooms drinking and eating all the free wares, and they were very welcome.

    In fact, it was great sitting down and shooting the breeze with Kranz and many of the others.

    *sigh* I'm showing my age.

  2. The problem with conventions are 2 fold.

    One the media outlets don't have the staff to cover "news". Tv reporters want an assignment at noon and have till 5 to put their package together. TV has long left the news gathering business. Give them a news conference and a speaking head. Don't get me started with the Argus "vacation" days for its staff.

    Second the Parties don't want reporters at conventions. The message can not be controlled. Besides the handlers can get the same coverage sending out a news release/ news conference.

    Besides if the Parties wanted coverage would they be in Huron or Chamberlain?

  3. The independent servant for the people6/30/2010 12:45 PM

    Hey Pat,

    Haven't you figured out that the much of the public could care less about the two Parties. They are sick and tired of the mud slinging, and the catering to self interests. It seems the only one complaining about the lack of coverage is the one who continues to seek glory and recognition.

    Steve Sibson

    [Thanks Cory sincerely for allowing a platform for me to talk with Pat Powers. He has banned me too.]

  4. Mud slinging?

    Sibby, I think the evolving third party is doing a pretty darn good job of that.

    Other than complain, sling mud, and constantly quote dead people, what has the tea party brought to the table?

  5. Hey Sibby -

    If you hate the Republican party so much, why participate in it's convention?

  6. John, we Dems were in Sioux Falls this year. We got bupkis from the local media. And while I can't speak for the other Dems, I think having reporters swarming around out convention and writing stories about our delegates, our candidates, and our platform is great for the party, the process, and the public. Bring all the reporters you can! (In the meantime, I'll keep blogging and tweeting.)

    PP: Well said. Obviously Steve finds the convention and the party system relevant enough to attend and keep his party membership.

  7. The truth hurts6/30/2010 5:02 PM

    So we have Cory Heidelberger and Pat Powers agreeing again, and you are both wrong. I do not hate the GOP, I am trying to save it, along with South Dakota and America, from the likes of you two big government Progressives.

    I stood up to a Teddy Roosevelt Progressive who led the Republicans for Tim Johnson movement in the 2002 Senate race against John Thune. And Pat Powers defends the guy, so the rightful question is; why was Pat Powers at the convention? Was it to kiss the right butts so that one of big government Progressives gives him a government job in the new GOP administration? So that he too can live off the taxpayers like Cory and Pat’s wife does?

    Steve Sibson

  8. Steve, you appear determined to remain irrelevant, with a misguided personal vendetta against two individuals who just aren't the major issue.

    The conventions are important political functions with ramifications for the future governance of this state. The press should cover them. If we filled them with more of the vituperative nonsense Steve brings to the conversation, the press would surely ignore us... as do most commenters once they see Steve has successfully derailed another potentiall productive conversation about the proper roles of press and political parties.

    Yes, Steve, Pat and I happen to agree on this issue... so you conclude we are co-conspirators in a "Progressive" plot. Have fun trying to win the District 20 Senate seat with political tactics like that, Steve. You clearly represent no threat to the existing party structure. An inattentive press poses much more danger to a healthy Republic than any agreement Pat and I happen to share.

  9. This is a sad thought, but I'd be willing to bet that what audience there is for news about SD Political conventions, the SD Blogs already have captive. I'm guessing about 80% of them. I wish I was wrong, but I don't think I am. May be time to raise your ad rates, boys.

  10. Voter participation in the primaries,certainly lends credence to your theory Bill.

  11. The truth will set you free6/30/2010 8:57 PM

    "Have fun trying to win the District 20 Senate seat with political tactics like that, Steve."

    Winning the District 20 Senate seat is secondary to telling people the truth about what is really going on. It is you and Pat Powers that use "political tactics" to sidetrack the people from the truth...both political parties want bigger government and their fight is over whose special interest group gets a bigger piece of the pork. The loser is liberty.

    Steve Sibson

  12. Stop the fighting, and hear the truth6/30/2010 9:12 PM

    "An inattentive press poses much more danger to a healthy Republic than any agreement Pat and I happen to share."

    Cory, thanks for using the word Republic instead of Democracy. You are learning.

    If the press covered the truth about what was really going on, both parties would be toast. The press only role today is to foster the Democrat verus Republican feud, which is a distraction from the real truth. Their stories are Nelson versus Heidepriem and Herseth Sandlin versus Noem. The people paying attention know the real story is about how big government makes the individual small and the plutocrats that much more wealthy by reducing competition. And that is why the libertarians are not welcome in either party. Libertarians are about "liberty". The two parties are about "collectivism". Collectivism is the real threat to the Republic. Why can't you understand something that is very simple?

    Steve Sibson

  13. Pat, Cory has flung anonymi into the Pits of Hell, probably conceding clicks to you.

    As much as ip loves playing at DWC, it's much easier to dismiss and degrade opinion from the mal-named spambots that haunt there, imho.

    You both deserve copious respect for what you have built, I'm honored to know you.

  14. The independent servant for the people6/30/2010 10:45 PM


    thanks for confirming my points

    Steve Sibson

  15. [Steve: I'm leaving the above up as an example of spam. If you want to run a campaign ad, buy space in the sidebar like the rest of the good capitalists around here. Otherwise, sign in with your name and not your campaign slogan. And stop acting like Progressive Scott Heidepriem: you are a registered Republican, not an Independent.]

  16. Truth to power7/01/2010 7:49 AM

    "If you want to run a campaign ad, buy space"

    Cory, let this be an example of how money is more important to you than truth.

    I would sign in with my name, but you use that against me.

    A while back you told me to talk about my campaign, and now you are saying I can't. What's up??

    And I am not a capitalist as you define it. Central planning is not true free-market capitalism. Check out GE and how they use Obama's policies and spending programs to suck money in the areas of health care and wind energy. Sounds like you and your fellow Progressives are the real capitalists (as defined by you).

    Steve Sibson

  17. Questions that will get you banned7/01/2010 8:05 AM

    "And stop acting like Progressive Scott Heidepriem: you are a registered Republican, not an Independent."

    I am a man of God first, and a Republican like 4 or 5 down the list.

    Isn't the nature of independents that we don't think a like? Why do you want to group independents into a collectivist goup? And why do that based on Scott Heidepreim's thought?

    Steve Sibson

  18. If PP and Sib could get a room...

    My point is that neither Party wants media coverage when lets say some of their more colorful members come out of their mother's basement for a day or two.

    Point being do you think anyone in the "establishment" wants to read a headline in the Argus Leader "Democrats Propose Medicaid Funded Abortions In Platform?". Both the statewide candidates and the Part ED want a quite break even convention.

  19. ["John" -- I know several -- which John is this?]

  20. Questions that can get you banned7/01/2010 12:33 PM

    "A while back you told me to talk about my campaign, and now you are saying I can't. What's up??"

    Why haven't you answered this question?

    Steve Sibson


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