Monday, June 8, 2009

Opinion: Election For McHugh’s Seat -An Opportunity for Local Media to Demonstrate Their Worth

Provided he is confirmed, which seems very likely, John McHugh’s elevation to Secretary of the Army means another special election fight here in the Adirodnack region. I railed here about the failure of local media to accurately report on our last Special Election, that for Kirstin Gillibrand’s 20th Congressional District seat. Outlets as varied as NCPR and the Glens Falls Post Star united in declaring from the beginning that there were only two candidates – not surprisingly they were those from the two major parties, two other candidates were all but ignored as irrelevant. During the 20th race local political writers and editors even blatantly defended their undemocratic actions on the grounds that they were the arbiters for all of us as to which candidates were “legitimate” and “relevant.”

All the local media’s nonsense and anti-democratic proclamations raised a constant barrage from local blogs who attempted to hold them to account. One response from Brian Mann at NCPR seems to have been a regular attack on bloggers for destroying the profits of local newspapers. His argument, expressed regularly by others in the old media business as well, is that the loss of our local newspapers will destroy our democracy. I know – it’s downright funny to actually argue that the loss of today’s local newspapers will actually hurt democracy!

Of course their arguments are ridiculous at best, self-serving and disingenuous at worst – but that’s what we’ve come to expect from local media. And why not, they are almost entirely owned by corporate interests, and if not, they have been educated on the corporate journalism model. Never mind that newspaper circulation reached a peak in 1993, long before blogs and other news aggregators existed; in fact, before the internet was any sort of real force in our lives (and not coincidentally at the height of both corporate media control and the power of their corporate two-party system). If the internet means the death of an old corporate media tied to the two parties that have dominated politics since the rise of corporate control of the presses, then good riddance.

Maybe I’m wrong – maybe a 23rd Special Election will prove to be the election that local media actually reports fairly and proves their worth. Maybe we’ll actually see an investigative report on the election that’s not tied to support for one of the corporate candidates. Maybe local media will cover all the candidates equally. It’s not likely, but it would be nice. Let me offer some advice – right now there are no candidates – when one announces, begin covering them, as each new candidate emerges, cover them equally until such time THEY say they are no longer a candidate. That’s called fairness, it’s a major tenet of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics.

So far, the Albany Project been the best provider of news and information about the potential upcoming 23rd Special Election. Here is a round-up of the reporting so far to show some of what’s already happening. First the old style media:

The Times Union’s Capital Confidential blog provides a list of Republican and Democratic potential challengers (let the bias begin).

Cap Con on what their 20th CD corporate candidate Democrat Scott Murphy thinks.

NCPR’s Brian Mann on how the race will be a repeat of the Republican-Democrat bruiser (there’s your first sports metaphor from me Brian) in the 20th CD.

Brian Mann on whether the Republican is really a pawn of the Democratic party.

Brian Mann on whether Republican DeeDee Scozzafava has a chance.

The Zach Subar and Nathan Brown of the Leader-Herald let us know that McHugh’s Republican Chief of Staff won’t run – thanks guys – are their any other Republicans who won’t run that we should know about?

Now for the local independent blogs:

The Albany Project lets us know through actual reporting that their are 103,847 voters enrolled (out of 392,006 total) who are not designated as Republicans or Democrats (including three Socialists!).

The Albany Project provides a detailed and well researched history of the district going back to 1830.

And a few others:

The Politicker’s (a mainstream media darling blog) reports on the Democrat and Republican chances twice.

Herkimer County Progressive on Why the Democrats can Win.

Jefferson Democrat on the Democratic opportunity.

Jefferson Leaning Left on the confusion among Republicans.

Conservative blogger Political IV on Republican chances.

It’s amazing how much the partisan blog reports look like the old media reports – isn’t it?

You can follow the 23rd CD race here at Adirondack Almanack; we also cover politics more generally here.

Related Stories


Stories written under the Almanack's Editorial Staff byline are drawn from press releases and other notices.

To have your news noticed here at the Almanack contact our Editor John Warren at adkalmanack@gmail.com.




31 Responses

  1. John Warren says:
  2. John Warren says:
  3. Brian Mann says:
  4. John Warren says:
  5. John Warren says:
  6. John Warren says:
  7. Eric Sundwall says:
  8. John Warren says:
  9. Eric Sundwall says:
  10. John Warren says: