Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Thin skinned and incompetent media

I was all ready to write a lengthy analysis and rebuttal to Denver Post columnist Susan Greene's piece from today which labeled this a "do-nothing" legislative session. After reading it though it's clear that Greene's column is simply inane whining that further drives home the point that our political press is failing us.

What spurred Greene to write this column? A snarky quote from a fictional television character apparently,

Politicians, being politicians, like to see their names in the paper.

State lawmakers are no exception, assigning staffers to gather news clips about their work.

With each dispatch, Colorado Democrats send members a Quote of the Day, including this zinger last Wednesday:

"Getting reporters to write about issues is like getting kids to eat their vegetables."

The source of such media astuteness? None other than the fictional Josh Lyman, the cocky White House adviser from TV's "West Wing."

Gentle chiding from legislative staff is far too much for Ms. Greene's apparently delicate ego. Somehow provoked by the West Wing quote she proceeds to write an unfocused column full of cherry-picked issues from the session. All of course noted without any sort of context and none given more than a few passing words. In writing such inane nonsense Greene of course proves her oppositions point. She just attempted to write a column about lack of progress on "issues" and she proceeded to do so in an incredibly shallow and substance-free manner. Bravo Ms. Greene, writing a column ostensibly about policy issues and managing to avoid any substantive discussion of the issues is quite a feat.

Greene closes with this,

The Democratic majority ends its session tomorrow having punted on most of its priorities. Still, it has the nerve to whine about reporters (read Marter's martyrlike rant about the veggies).

If lawmakers want coverage of weightier issues, maybe they should think about tackling some.

How professional of her. After reading Greene's column is there any doubt why newspaper subscriptions are falling and the press is on the receiving end of so much bi-partisan scorn? Greene's column is petulant, childish and utterly devoid of any substance.

There is a substantive critique to be made of this session where we did see the legislature step up and attempt to fill a policy void left by the governor's unwillingness to back plans from the various policy commissions. Greene could have written a strong piece analyzing the leadership from the House and Senate and contrast that to the Executive Branch. She failed though to actually provide any sort of thoughtful analysis in what is a thoroughly embarrassing performance.

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