Monday, August 18, 2008

WJBQ Interview in Perspective

As I've written, I thought Sen. Collins' performance in the WJBQ interview was undignified and that it raised questions about one of her key arguments for re-election: That she's a champion of civility and comity in a polarized Washington.

So I'm not surprised her remarks have received plenty of attention. You certainly won't see me complaining that they've generated more coverage in the local press than they deserve.

Still, I must say it's disappointing--and even depressing--to see local outlets treating this story as a major development even as their coverage virtually ignores the issues at stake in the upcoming election, the campaign's progress and Collins' record over the last several years.

It's astounding, for example, that PPH found space to spill 1,407 words over the course of two detailed, well-reported stories on the Collins interview; and yet so far the paper has run only a single perfunctory he-said/she-said article on the expensive, corporate-backed astroturf campaign to trick Mainers into putting the interests of multinational corporations ahead of workers in the voting booth.

And it's a scandal that, to this day, the Maine media still seems not to have determined why Susan Collins went along with President Bush on shredding the 800 year old right of habeas corpus.

And if local outlets refuse to probe theses issues, no one will.

So, yes: Coverage of this story was understandable and deserved. But if Collins' on-air gossiping merits this much plays, surely her performance in office deserves scrutiny as well.

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