Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Press on Bush ballot bill skewed for GOP

(Sorry for the delay -- I was in DC at the Claim Democracy conference where Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. made a fantastic speech calling for a federal constitutional amendment giving us the right to vote (currently, we have no right to vote for president, and if a state legislature wants to give the state's electoral votes to the candidate who came in second or third in the state's popular vote, the legislature may do so. Which is absolute B.S. but that's why we need a right to vote).

Anyway, there was some press about the Bush ballot deal and whether the Dems were to accommodate the NYC 9/11 political convention. But only one paper reported on the exploitation angle -- every other paper only mentioned the 'technical flaw' and 'quirk in the election code' that kept Bush on the ballot, totally ignoring the reason why the debate surfaced in the first place (the Bush campaign's relentless drive to milk the tragedy of 9/11 for political gain).

Guess which paper earns top honors?

The Daily Herald.

In John Patterson's article, the Daily Herald has this important paragraph:

"Democrats fired back. State Sen. Patrick Welch, a Peru Democrat, said the reason this problem exists is the Republican Party moved its convention to try to take advantage of the Sept. 11 tragedy for political gain. The convention is scheduled for Aug. 30 through Sept. 2."

So the Democrats did bring up the 9/11 exploitation issue on the floor! I'm very pleased, and am getting a CD of the debate sent to me. I'll transcribe it as soon as I get it.

But all the other papers failed in covering this part of the story.

The Sun-Times has never mentioned this part of the story. One story focused mainly on Senator Watson not helping out the City of Chicago's plan for early retirement in this article; this Sun-Times article only mentioned the fines levied against Democrats and didn't mention the 9/11 exploitation angle at all; while Lynn Sweet's article on IL GOP Chair Judy Baar Topinka's reaction here also failed to mention the New York City 9/11 story.

The Chicago Tribune also ignored that part of the story in Ray Long and John Chase's account of the wild finish of the legislature here. But the Tribune's blogger Eriz Zorn covered this story in his Notebook, so we can only fault the print edition.

The Peoria Journal-Star's report here made no mention of the 9/11 story.

Kevin McDermott's St. Louis Post-Dispatch story here also didn't mention the Democrats' objection to the 9/11 convention, and even had the GOP skewed headline of "Illinois GOP Senators accuse Democrats of extortion" What liberal media?

So, even though ELEVEN Democratic Senators voted no on the bill, almost every single print story of this battle framed it as a "Reasonable Republican Request to fix a quick in election law to put the president on theballot versus Dirty hypocritical Democrats extorting honest politicians to waive financial penalties for breaking campaign finance laws"

That is shoddy reporting and editing.

And feel free to call/email the editors of those papers and ask them why they didn't cover the 9/11 exploitation angle -- after all, a full third of the Democratic Senate caucus voted no on the bill and at least one of them (Senator Welch) cited the scheduling of the New York City convention in September as a reason to vote no.

For more on the conservative side, the Illinois Leader is running a bunch of stuff on this on their site. Jeff Trigg also is covering this well.

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