As I’ve been saying to anyone who asks, the nomination of Alvin Greene is a failure with enough blame to go around to everyone. The voters, of course (as politically incorrect, as anti-democratic, as it is to blame the precious voter). The Democratic Party. And definitely the media — both MSM and the vaunted, tell-you-everything (according to the hype) blogosphere. Apparently, bloggers were too busy telling you who they’d slept with to check out who the hell this guy was. (And yes, I include myself — not on the kiss-and-tell part, but on the not-checking-out-Alvin part.)
As for the MSM — well, it’s awfully easy to beat up on them on this. And they deserve it. That is NOT to blame the reporters and editors who are busting their butts trying to get the job done with grossly inadequate resources. It’s to blame the media as institutions that have failed as businesses to stay viable enough to do their jobs properly. Sound self-interested, since the failure of newspapers is why I don’t have a job with them any more? Well, yeah. But as a former newspaper exec, and an editor for three decades, I know whereof I speak.
True, newspapers have long ignored noncandidates. And they have long ignored, to a lesser extent, primary races to nominate a sacrificial lamb to go up against an invulnerable incumbent. Not because that was the right thing to do, but because when you’re covering scores of races, you have to set priorities, and the hotly contested ones get most of the ink.
But that traditional bias against the boring has been exponentially exacerbated by the emptying of newsrooms via the layoffs of recent years. Now, it’s not a choice; some important races simply are not going to be covered.
This year, you pretty much had to be in the governor’s race to get the media’s attention. And even then, if your name wasn’t Nikki Haley, it was hard to get free media. After he withdrew from the race several months ago, Dwight Drake told me that he had expected it to be hard to raise money (and it was so hard for him that that’s why he quit). But what surprised him was that the media was not to be found. As an old political hand, he was stunned at the lack of coverage.
But still. For none of us — not even people like me, who TRY (but often fail) to keep up with as much of it as possible — to know anything about this Alvin Greene guy is just outrageous. At the very least, even if this noncandidate was ignored, Vic Rawl should have gotten the minimal coverage necessary to give him the name recognition to win. But he didn’t.
OK, so at any rate, at least the media has jumped all over this story now, right? Mr. Greene has TV crews chasing
him. Mother Jones had a story about him on Tuesday (a day earlier would have been nice, but then it’s not Mother Jones responsibility to inform SC about its own candidates). Everywhere I go, people are asking about him. “All Things Considered” called me this morning to get my thoughts on how all this happened.
Well, yes and no. Yes, he’s getting a lot of coverage now. But… and I really hate to say this about my old paper, because I love it and wish my friends still there all the success in the world … The State was weirdly negligent on the story in today’s paper.
When I read my paper this morning, it was the first thing I looked for. On the front page, of course — that’s where I put it. But it wasn’t on the front page. OK, on the Metro front — nope, not there. OK, so it’s packaged with the jump of another election story… nope. All right, back to the front page, to read the cutesie “winners and losers” story that I had initially bypassed about all the quirky little water-cooler talker stuff from the primary. I mean, it’s weird that this didn’t TOP that story if it was in it, but maybe it’s down farther… nope.
I gave up at that point, because I needed to leave to keep my appointment at ETV. But bewildered, I searched the paper again after lunch… and finally found it as a brief on page B3. Not in a roundup of election briefs, but just generic Metro & State briefs. It wasn’t even the first item. It was below a crime brief. As for the content, it was essentially the same brief I had seen on the Web site the day before.
I’m sure the paper will have more complete coverage of this tomorrow, and play it better. Even in the good old days of full staffs, things tended to be disorganized on the day after all-out election day coverage. I see Clyburn’s intimation that it’s all a foul GOP plot is getting some play at thestate.com now.
But I was really disappointed this morning.
I didn’t even find that brief.
The real question:
At what point will we start seeing “Don’t Blame Me I Voted For Rawl” bumper stickers?
Wow! Even Brad, the hyper-cheerleader for the State is disappointed in their choice of stories and placement of those stories it does pick. I need to pinch myself to see if it’s true. If you’ve lost Brad there is little hope left of any respect from any quarter. The State has now officially become a joke.
The State doesn’t cover this, because The State is no longer a SC newspaper. McClatchy runs it from CA, which is way worse than WOLO broadcasting Columbia News from Charlotte (albeit with a couple of people conveniently placed in a picture window at 1201 Main).
After 19 years of taking The State (because we truly wanted to keep up with the goings-on in our city), we dropped it this year. We get more and better information from The Free Times and the Columbia City Paper.
The State isn’t covering it, because it has nothing to do with the price of eggs in Sacramento. SC lost a very good paper when McClatchy took over.
They themselves haven’t done so well in the past few years (their stock going up 85% above their 2000 price by early 2005, and descending to almost nothing by mid-2009). Perhaps when they jettison The State, we’ll get our paper back.
So you’re the guy in Lexington who kept his subscription.
Alvin Greene winning the primary against an opponent who was just as (or possibly only slightly less) unknown to the majority of voters in that primary is probably one of the least surprising stories of this primary cycle.
The only thing surprising is that there are actually people out there who can’t figure out how Greene won this race. It doesn’t take a political science degree or even a Southern politics class to understand his win.
With all due respect to your friends who are still at the paper and probably trying their best, the bottom truly has fallen out at the State. It has really succeeded at becoming a pretty useless newspaper. They’ve gutted it. There’s no “there” there anymore. They should just fold it and start from scratch.
The Washington Post has covered it so well, including a link to a great Q & A Alvin did with The Root, The State really doesn’t need to bother.
WaPo says Jim Clyburn is up in arms. Well, Manning is in his district. You would think someone on his staff would have a clue about a candidate running against DeMint. Same goes for John Land. This is his county.
But, there is absolutely no excuse for a party organization to know absolutely nothing about its candidates. But, didn’t they let a libertarian run in their primary against Clyburn last time?
Where are the investors who would help Brad buy The State? I’m in.
As the old saw is adjusted — The mainstream media is terrible! And there isn’t enough of it!
Did anybody see some people right outside of their voting precincts handing out fliers. When I went there I said g’day and went on my way inside (this was in olympia. What I thought they said was “Oh you already know how to vote,” as in how how to do it. But now I’m left wondering whether or not they those vote sheet things in their hands that tells people who to vote for.
Because of where I live, I read the Charlotte Observer, but during election season I would always get a Sunday State paper to read Lee Bandy, the political gossip/grapevine whatever it was called, and the Editorials/Endorsements. Of course I don’t bother now. The State is a ghost of what it was.
Lee woulda caught this. Ya think?
Nothing about him in The Sun News, either. In fact, The Sun News had very little coverage of any of the Democrats running. Granted, there weren’t that many of them. I knew Rawl had filed to run against DeMint. But, as I said before, I didn’t even know that anyone was running against Rawl for the Dem nomination until I got to the polls.
Also missing is The State’s coverage of Howard Rich shoveling money towards “School Voucher” candidates.
But I reckon that The State, like other employers, is doing more with fewer people; or at least trying to keep up instead of drowning.