Sunday, October 08, 2006

Star Election Coverage Disappoints Again

Anyone hoping to pick up valuable political insight into this year's election from the Sunday edition of the Star less than a month before the election will come up short. Today's front-page story promises a "punch" in this year's off-year vote, but the story itself lacks any punch. Once again, there is zero coverage of the 7th District congressional race. Instead, the newspaper continues its obsession with three districts in which the vast majority of its readers to not reside. The front-page story writes:

Voters in Indiana's 2nd, 8th and 9th Congressional districts will have a major say in who controls the U.S. House, which has split largely along party lines over the way President Bush has conducted the war in Iraq. Democrats need 15 additional seats to take back control.

The Star apparently thinks voters in the remaining six congressional districts, but most specifically the 7th congressional district, are irrelevant in this year's election. I will make a prediction. The Star will soon begin writing about the 7th District race, but the focus will be on how little money Dickerson has raised in comparison to Carson and how Republicans don't take this raise seriously so why should we. Don't expect any serious discussion of the issues and the ability of the respective candidates to address those issues.

The Star's political columnist, Matt Tully, has written very little about this year's elections as of late and just recently took a one-week vacation--after Labor Day--in an election year. Today, he tells us that the political races this year have become too negative so he decides to take a respite to talk instead about new case workers for the Department of Child Services.

Strangely, you have to go over to the Star's business section to find out about how two of Indiana's top political pundits, Brian Howey and Ed Feigenbaum, are getting quoted a lot these days in national news stories covering Indiana' s hot congressional races. John Ketzenberger writes, "Feigenbaum and competitor Brian Howey have made businesses of political punditry. They're getting a lot of attention from the national media because three of Indiana's Republican members of Congress are in close races."

If you breeze over to the editorial page today, you can check out opposing views from House Speaker Brian Bosma and House Democratic Leader Pat Bauer on the direction they will take the House next year if their respective parties take control of the House. Bosma is promising reform and progress, but if you look deep into his column, he reminds us he doesn't intend to change his ways. "Pledges announced in the coming weeks will focus on Republican support for the constitutional amendment to defend marriage, a crackdown on illegal immigration, crime control, job creation and more," Bosma writes. In other words, House Republicans intend to do some gay bashing and immigrant bashing to galvanize support from the extreme, religious right in the closing weeks of the election.

Bauer, on the other hand, is promising to bring a balance back into state government in place of a "rubber stamp" legislature for Governor Daniels. He cites the toll road deal and daylight savings times as examples that the "public needs [were] set aside." Please don't tell us you're going to revist the daylight savings time issue. Bauer's column makes no mention of the gay marriage amendment. Make of that what you want.

On an unrelated matter, I listened this morning to a discussion Fox News' Chris Wallace had with conservative radio talk show host Laura Ingraham, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and David Bossie of Citizens United, a conservative, nonprofit organization on the fallout from the Mark Foley page scandal. Bossie has called on House Speaker Hastert to resign for alleged mishandling of the investigation of the Foley matter. Some of you may recall that Bossie served as lead investigator for Rep. Dan Burton's congressional investigation of Clinton campaign finance abuses. During the interview with Wallace, my jaw dropped to the floor when Bossie, in criticizing Hastert's handling of Foley said, "I know how to run an investigation." Au contrare!

Bossie was actually fired for selectively editing and releasing to media the transcripts of prison conversations of former Clinton administration official Webster Hubbell that created the impression that Hillary Clinton was involved in billing irregularities at the Rose Law Firm where she and Hubbell both worked. That little stunt backfired in a big way and sidetracked Congress from a legitimate investigation of the Clinton campaign finance abuses. We never did get to the bottom of why the Democrats raised so much money illegally from foreign sources. As the Washington Post reported on Bossies' removal:

[His removal] came as Gingrich sought to contain the damage, condemning 'the circus' that took place within Indiana Republican Dan Burton's Government Oversight and Reform Committee and scolding Burton at a closed Republican Conference meeting for refusing to say that he [Rep. Burton] was embarrassed by the episode. Speaker Newt Gingrich said "I'm embarrassed for you [Rep. Burton], I'm embarrassed for myself, and I'm embarrassed for the [House Republican] conference at the circus that went on at your committee."

If Speaker Hastert and the House Republicans need advice on how to run an investigation, they should be looking to someone other than Bossie for that advice.


Wilson46201 said...

Indianapolis voters are also represented by the 4th and 5th Congressional Districts. Where's the outrage at no coverage of the issues up there? The GOP has two incumbent homophobes representing parts of Indianapolis: Buyer and Burton.

Anonymous said...

And your point?

Anonymous said...

I don't even pretend to know Wilson's point any more.

As for Bossie, ANYone who works for Burton obviously checked his credibility at the door. That goes for you, Sen. Delph. The skirt chaser is a hetero version of Foley, and House staffers have known it for almost two decades.

His brother Woodie is one of the biggest gay-bashers in the Indiana House.
Together, their brain is like a BB on an eight-lane highway. I never know which one of them is using it on any given day...not that it makes any difference.

As for The Star...I've come to expect nothing, so I won't be disappointed.

In the second "front" section today, Sec. A-2 or whatever they call it, there was eight pages, filled with ads, and five of the first six stories I read were at least four days old. Wire filler copy.

I can't say I long for the Pullliam days, but Christ Almighty, can we get some attention of the election? They don't have a lot of writers left, but how many column inches do they get per week? I don't see anyone breaking a sweat over there, unless they're writing the stuff and editors are cutting it for this wire filler crap. Old wire filler crap.

About one-third of today's news stories could've been published last Wednesday.

The electronic media seems to take the paper's lead.

Pitiful. In this media climate, the Burtons of the world proliferate. Damn it.