Friday, December 21, 2007

Of Mice and Men -or- When the “Robust” Get Bussed. . .

Just before Thanksgiving, New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt wrote that a) yes, the Times had covered Senators Clinton and Obama on the front page to the near total exclusion of all the other candidates, and had done an especially poor job of covering the Edwards campaign, b) we should just wait, because there’s stuff on the other candidates coming up, and c) what you don’t see on the front page of the paper is made up for on the Times’s website, like on their “robust” blog, The Caucus. Since that column, the front page of the paper has seen (on the Democratic side) one mostly irrelevant hit piece about the relationship between John Edwards and John Kerry in 2004, then, a month later, a photo of Edwards with a jump to a back page featuring a sloppy, snarky, assertion-laden profile from that manufacturer of conventional wisdom, Adam Nagourney, and, of course, many, many more stories about Barack and Hillary.

As for that blog, well, if Thursday afternoon’s post is what Mr. Hoyt was thinking of as robust, then I think he should reconsider.

It’s been a bit of a game of cat-and-mouse, and an epic travel day, for five of the reporters who cover Mr. Edwards on a near-constant basis, two weeks from the Iowa caucuses. We started out in Manchester, N.H., and drove to the airport through the middle of a slightly hairy snowstorm that had already dumped six inches on parts of New Hampshire – and barely caught a 5:55 a.m. flight.

Then after stopping in Cincinnati, our second plane was unable to land in Omaha because of fog shrouding the airport, preventing any flights from arriving or departing. We circled the airport in a holding pattern for about 30 minutes until we were able to land.

In Des Moines.

Which is where the travel staff of the Edwards campaign scrambled to find a minivan to shuttle the press corps to the second event of the day (we missed the first), in Le Mars, Iowa, about a four-hour drive away.

. . . .

Mr. Edwards and his staff, it should be noted, flew on a private jet last night from Manchester and spent the night in Omaha.

At the moment, the press van – riding cautiously in the right lane – is 147 miles from Mr. Edwards’s next event, which starts in just under two hours. If we miss it, we’ll next try to chase Mr. Edwards down in Sioux City for his last event of the day.

So, let me see, the reason that the establishment press has been under-covering the Edwards campaign is John Edwards’s fault—is that it? I mean, what else am I supposed to take from this post? He’s campaigning too hard for you?

Did you and your buds ever get to Sioux City? Am I going to read a story anywhere in your paper about that event? How about the events from the prior day in New Hampshire? Wait, let me check. . . nope. I’m not exactly sure what you esteemed members of the corps are doing racing around the country if you don’t actually get to write stories—or is that not part of your job? Maybe The Caucus is just too robust for my lean intellect—it leaves me with more questions than it answers.

And I’m not the only one with questions. Take, for example, a commenter named Patty Morland:

From your description of what happened it really doesn’t seem applicable to use the words “cat & mouse” to describe this. Surely you’re not implying that Edwards is trying to lose you on purpose like a mouse would do to a cat? But maybe you are because after describing how Edwards’ campaign helped you with your transporation [sic] you then rewarded them by this “catty” remark:

Edwards and his staff, it should be noted, flew on a private jet last night from Manchester and spent the night in Omaha.

Or maybe I’m misreading this and you’re just trying to send a message to the NYT that they need to cough up some cash to pay for a private plane for you guys. No, it can’t be that because we all know corporate America only reserves the private jets for the executives. They aren’t really concerned about the safety or well being of the rank and file. Welcome to the two Americas.

Couldn’t have said it better myself, Patty. Luckily, for those in rank and file America, the caucus-goers of Iowa are made of more robust stuff than the Times bloggers.

(cross-posted on The Seminal and Daily Kos)

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Anonymous Feral Cat said...

Excellent assessment of the NYTimes and that worm, Adam Nagourney. He slithered past me in Ames and I had a chill run down my back as I wondered how he would turn this glorious packed event into something to be dismissed and looked down on.

How did this paper hire so many needy people who need the stories to be about them and not about why this country is sliding down the gullet of smiley face fascism?

Horrible, Horrible story. But thanks for sharing and thanks for catching Patty's great comments.
Sometime catch up with me at my website.

9:36 AM  

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