In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Getting It All Wrong
With all due respect to the national media folks who reported on the ill fated re-do of the Michigan democratic presidential primary, what mail-order journalism school did you all attend? Dateline Washington D.C. March 14th…the nation is awash in the "news" that Michigan had a "deal" to re-vote the contest between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. To the casual reader, listener or viewer that obviously meant Michigan voters would be voting again. The "deal" was between four top state democrats who, with some input from both campaigns, hatched a 38-page bill to recreate the primary. The problem was The Big Four of Carl Levin, Debbie Dingell, Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick and Ron Gettlefinger could not unilaterally order anything. They needed the legislature to ratify the agreement but nobody at the national level seemed to grasp the gravity of that. Rep. Matt Gillard, a democrat from Alpena, remembers watching CNN and being told what he was going to be doing the next week. "These guys got it wrong," he laughed. It was not the only thing they got wrong. Senator Cameron Brown, a republican from West Michigan, had nothing to do with the re-do debate but he was smart enough to issue a press release anyway that found its way into the CNN newsroom. He was promptly interviewed by a young lady. By this time the re-do was dead but she asked Brown, "Now you are voting on this today?" Now there is a certain and understandable arrogance among national media types…after all they drag down a ton of bucks, they sop up lots of face time on the tube, and they give the illusion they know it all. But their performance was equal to a first year reporter who wanted to get the story right but didn't know how to do it. All it required was a phone call to somebody on the ground in Michigan, and the big guys would have looked great instead of totally inept.