Archive for March 2008
We at the Missourinet enjoy having representatives of our radio station affiliates drop into Jefferson City for a tour of our offices … or a tour of the Capitol … and we’ll even help you to broadcast out of our office/studio at the Capitol if you want to use it to interview statewide officials … or state lawmakers when the General Assembly is in session.
This is a timely bit of information because Louie Seiberlich of affiliate KREI in Farmington is doing his morning show from our Capitol studio Tuesday and Wednesday morning this week. This is just the latest visit by Louie to Jefferson City as he makes an annual pilgrimage to broadcast his show from here.
If memory serves correct, on last year’s visit Louie had just about every statewide office holder from Governor Blunt on down drop in for a "live hit." And he had the lawmakers from that part of the state come by, as well.
The message to Missourinet affiliates is simple: If you broadcast live from the Capitol … they – the elected officials – will come. We’ll even help you to set up some of the interviews if we can. All we ask is that you give us some notice so we can make sure everything falls into place.
We enjoy seeing our affiliates, of course … but there’s another reason we like to see other broadcasters come to town to spend some time with us. We get to take you out for lunch or dinner or both … and Learfield picks up the tab! It doesn’t get any better.
Anyway, if you’re an affiliate and are thinking of doing a remote from the Capitol … give us a call at 800-669-7200 and we’ll make it happen.
– Steve Walsh
Since taking over the Missourinet Blog I have taken a greater interest in the blogosphere than I had in the past. I realize that everybody and his brother now has a blog … with some of these blogs read by many and others read by just a few. Some blogs are influential while others are of little interest to anybody. But let’s face it … many of the political blogs are both interesting and fun to read.
When I use the term "political blogs" I am not referring to members of the mainstream media (MSM) who keep track of political goings-on and offer readers political tid bits that are picked up here and there. Blogs written by Jo Mannies in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch … or columnists contributing to the Kansas City Star’s Prime Buzz … or Jason Rosenbaum in the Columbia Daily Tribune are both informative and entertaining.
The "political blogs" to which I refer are those written by agenda-driven individuals who are sometimes accidentally inaccurate … and at other times intentionally dishonest. It is important for readers of these blogs to keep in mind that the writer is not trying to inform you as much as he or she is trying to get you to "swallow the Kool-Aid" and see things his or her way.
Readers must be aware that while the MSM bloggers represent their media outlets and, therefore, must be truthful and accurate … the vast majority of the political bloggers are unaccountable … and sometimes fall short of telling "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth."
Missouri has a number of political blogs and, for the most part, these blogs – though one-sided – are accurate in their reporting. It’s a fair assumption that many of Missouri’s MSM journalists read the Source or Missouri Pulse for a right wing perspective on the news … and Fired-Up! Missouri to get the left wing perspective on things. It is important, however, for the casual reader to keep in mind that the Source and Missouri Pulse will rarely, if ever, say anything positive about a Democrat or negative about a Republican … and Fired Up! Missouri will only say things to make Democrats look good and Republicans look bad.
What prompted this essay on the blogosphere is a good example of the lack of accountability and how readers must be skeptical of things they read on the web. Late last week the left wing blog Think Progress published what it called an "exclusive" regarding presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain. It claimed McCain had plagiarized a 1996 speech given by Admiral Timothy Ziemer. Problem is … Think Progress never contacted the McCain folks for verification or at least to get a comment. It just put out the story … which turned out to be false … as McCain had given the speech in 1995! If anything, it was Admiral Ziemer who had borrowed from McCain.
To its credit, Think Progress has issued a retraction and has apologized for its mistake. But this should not have happened in the first place.
This is not to say that the MSM won’t make mistakes from time to time. We are well aware of the problems encountered by Dan Rather and CBS when the George Bush-National Guard story – based in large part on forged documents – was run. But this is the exception.
Had anyone in the Post-Dispatch, KC Star, Columbia Tribune, or Missourinet newsroom been given a "tip" of any kind … that "tip" would have been thoroughly verified to ensure its accuracy. We are accountable and have reputations to uphold … while most in the political blogosphere are accountable to no one. And that, folks, is the difference between "us" and "them."
– Steve Walsh
This is an election year and, of course, we are deluged with polls during election years – there’s no escaping that. And while the polls indicate one candidate leads another in any given race … what is very interesting is that those polls, if accurate, indicate Missourians are once again showing they don’t necessarily support the political party as much as they support the candidate.
A great example of this is seen in the latest Rasmussen Reports polling for the Missouri gubernatorial race … and on Missourians’ preferences in the presidential contest.
A March 24th survey of the race for the Governor’s Office shows Democrat Jay Nixon with a 46% to 39% lead over Republican Sarah Steelman. The same survey shows Nixon with a 48% to 37% lead in a head-to-head match-up with Republican Kenny Hulshof.
Let’s move to the race for the White House. A March 24th Rasmussen Reports poll of Missourians’ presidential preferences indicates Show-Me Staters prefer Republican John McCain by a wide margin over both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton – one of whom is expected to be the Democratic flag-bearer in November. McCain leads Obama 53% to 38% … and has a 50% to 41% edge over Clinton. This latest Rasmussen survey shifts Missouri from "Toss-Up" status to the "Leans Republican" category.
Certainly, we are still early in this election year and a lot can change between now and November (and even between now and the end of the primary season for the Democrats). But it’s yet another indication of Missouri’s importance on the national political scene.
Unlike some states – Maryland or Massachusetts, for instance – in which statewide contests almost always go to the person with the "D" after his or her name … or Idaho in which voters look for the "R" before marking the ballot … party just doesn’t seem to be as important as the candidate in Missouri.
When I first moved to Missouri in 2000, a colleague in the Missourinet newsroom explained something to me about politics in this state. He told me most Missourians don’t blindly vote by party affiliation … they vote for the candidate they believe is best suited to do the job. Maybe the folks in Baltimore, Boston, and Boise can learn something from us.
– Steve Walsh
In a political campaign should there be limits as to what should and should not be asked of surrogates for the people running for public office? The question arises out of appearances by former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton who is campaigning on behalf of her mother, Hillary Clinton, who is running for President.
We’ll apply this to Missouri in just a moment. But for those who don’t eat, drink, and breathe politics … here’s a brief summary of the Chelsea issue. This young woman has, by her own estimation, appeared at about 70 locations on behalf of her mom. Recently, in Pennsylvania, a student asked Chelsea whether her mother’s reputation was tarnished during the Monica Lewinsky scandal … and Chelsea refused to answer.
Last year, Chelsea informed a 9-year-old Scholastic News reporter that no questions from reporters – even child reporters – would be answered.
Enter Washington Post reporter Sally Quinn who, during a CBS "The Early Show" interview, expressed her view that anyone who steps out from behind the curtain and becomes a part of the campaign must expect to be asked questions by the news media.
Alright … back to Missouri. In our race for the Governor’s Office we see Sarah Steelman’s husband, David, working on behalf of his wife. Renee Hulshof has been making appearances on behalf of Kenny Hulshof. And, Georganne Nixon has campaigned alongside Jay Nixon. Are these potential first spouses off limits or are they now fair game if they choose to join the campaigning?
Granted, David Steelman is a former state lawmaker who is already a public figure. But what about Renee Hulshof or Georganne Nixon? Renee has been making solo appearances on the campaign trail. And, Oren Shur with the Nixon campaign tells me Georganne will be playing a more active role in the coming weeks and months … as will Jay’s son Jer, a student at MU.
Missourinet News Director Bob Priddy sums up our policy this way, "In most cases, a husband or wife who simply waves while standing beside his or her spouse is off limits. But once that surrogate becomes a campaigner, he or she is fair game."
– Steve Walsh
Spring break is over and state lawmakers returned to the Capitol, this week, for the sprint to the May finish. And, sometimes, in the heat of … well … in the heat of whatever heat they happen to be in at any given time, interesting words are used during debate.
Such is the case during Senate floor debate this week. Senator Jason Crowell (R-Cape Girardeau) took it upon himself to bring some of that great and colorful southeast Missouri language to put smiles on a few faces. During discussion with Senator Jeff Smith (D-St. Louis), he introduced the words "idioticy" and "idiocracy" to describe things he sees as … idiotic.
You know … they might not be real words … but anyone who listens to what Crowell is saying has no doubt about the point he is trying to convey.
And to be honest … listening to different expressions and ways of saying things from the various regions of the state … it’s really one of the "funnest" things I do.
– Steve Walsh
The closing of filing for the August 5th primary elections means we’ll soon start to see some of the contenders for the various positions going at it in what we hope will be spirited debates.
And we’re seeing challenges being issued. State Treasurer Sarah Steelman, who is running for the Republican nomination for Governor, is challenging fellow contender Congressman Kenny Hulshof to a series of three debates in various locations throughout the state.
Both campaigns recently agreed to have the candidates debate in Springfield in July.
We’ve been enhancing the Missourinet web page in recent months with quite a few photographs. A good example of how these pictures have enhanced the web site can be seen with shots of the flooding that many Missourians have encountered. Quite a few of these photos have been sent to us by our affiliates and friends throughout the state. We particularly thank Bill Greenblatt in St. Louis and the folks at our Springfield affiliate KTTS.
We want to add more color to the Missourinet web site – figuratively and literally – and would love to have readers send us photos of news events that we could attach to stories we cover. If we use your submissions we will thank you credit you on the web page.
Just send them to me … email@example.com
– Steve Walsh