The Republic's EJ Montini is frustrated that everyone is talking about Ebola.
I've been hearing from people who are worried about Ebola.
They watch the news on TV. They listen to news about the virus on the radio. They hear from politicians who want to score points by using the Ebola crisis.
Sure, people are hearing from those nasty politicians who want to "score points." The reason that EJ is upset is that the politicians are Republicans who question the ability of government generally and the Obama administration particularly to handle the crisis.
So rather than recognize that his view of the competence of the Obama Administration might be off, he claims there's no crisis and that people are simply being manipulated by TV news and politicians.
I think it's more likely that they are, you know, reading the rest of the Republic...
Republic Columnist Laurie Roberts is suddenly concerned that politics has devolved into name calling. Golly all these ads that attack the candidates instead of debating the issues. All the relentless focus on trivia. All the childish attacks aimed at low information voters. By gosh, why don't these people focus on issues.
Towards the end of the column she comes to a moment of introspection.
As for the rest of us, we might want to consider how it has come to this here in the greatest nation on earth, where every candidate is political pond scum.
Actually, that's mock introspection. I'm sure that she is not including herself in the "rest of us". If so, then she would realize that she was one of the earliest and most vicious adopters of this particular tactic.
From the coverage, you would think that Doug Ducey speaking at a Koch brothers retreat was the crime of the century. The Republic put it on the front page. Chris Herstam nearly had a stroke on Sunday Square Off. Naturally Montini and Roberts couldn't resist taking a shot. (In what is likely to be the last column for at least one of them.)
Republic readers have been complaining that the paper isn't covering Fred Duval's "Dark Money" connections. Laurie Roberts chimed in that she would be happy to cover Duval's meetings with folks like George Sorros, but golly, she just can'd find any records of meetings like that.
Well if Roberts can't find the Sorros connection, how about this story that's gone viral on Twitter?
Saddam Hussein’s consultant threw a lavish farewell party for Arizona Democratic gubernatorial candidate Fred DuVal when DuVal left his career in the Clinton administration in 2001 to move to Arizona.
If Laurie and the gang at the Republic were looking for something darker than the Koch brothers then the guy who represented Saddam Hussein and a handful of other dictators should qualify.
So Laurie's bluff has been called. I'm looking forward to reading her story on DuVal's Saddam connections. Let's see if Sunday Square Off devotes a segment to Saddam's guy in Washington.
Don't get me wrong. I don't think either story is fair or important--but if the Republic is going to flog the Ducey story, they can't just ignore the DuVal story.
Here's a sample of the coverage. I especially like the screen shot of Herstam's head about to explode.
See Post Script below.
In Friday's Republic we learn how the paper is going to handle the story. Check out this article by Yvonne Wingett Sanchez and Mary Jo Pitzl.
The candidates for governor are using guilt-by-association tactics to vilify each other and cast doubt on their opponents' character.
Really? The "candidates" are usign these tactics? Hmm. I think it's the Republic, Channel 12, Laurie Roberts, EJ Montini, Chris Herstam and Brahm Resnick who have been using these "guilt-by association tactics".
However now that Fred DuVal has been doing a little "associating" the tactic is inappropriate. I guess that's why you won't be seing any front page articles, Laurie Roberts columns, IJ Montini screeds Chris Herstam hemorrhages or Square Off segments. After all, guilt by association is SO last week.
Let's say that you are a journalist at a major newspaper and you apply for a job as a "Fact Checker" so they give you a quiz. Here's a political commercial; tell us how many stars it gets.
Ominous narrator voice: "On June 10th of last year Bill Smith ran a stop sign and a 10 year old boy on a bike was killed. Now Bill Smith wants to be your Congressman. We can do better than Bill Smith. Tell Washington that you want responsible leadership--send John Jones to Congress. John Jones....principled, responsible leadership."
Bill Smith tells you that the ad is untrue, so you go to the Jones campaign and ask the about it. Jones produces a copy of a traffic ticket in which Bill Smith is cited for running a stop sign and he produces an article saying that a 10 year old on a bike was killed....IN TEXAS. Naturally, you point out that the ad makes it sound like Smith killed the kid, but in reality there is no connections. Smith ran a stop sign and got a ticket and a a couple thousand miles away on the same day, a kid on a bike was killed in a tragic traffic accident.
The Jones campaign says that they didn't actually SAY that Smith killed the kid, they just wanted to show how dangerous traffic can be and the that Smith shouldn't have run that stop sign.
So now that you have the facts, how many stars does the commercial get?
Technically, all the statements are true. So should you give it five stars?
However, when taken in its entirety, the commercial leads to such a false impression that it would be easy to say that it deserves no stars. The commercial is false.
How about splitting the difference. Two stars for the fact that he ran the stop sign and no stars for the kid who died in Texas. That seems like the worst of all worlds. There's really no way that you can declare the commercial "Partly true".
You have to go with "False." The Commercial is so misleading that even though the individual statements are true, the natural conclusion that the listener is expected to reach is false.
Now check out this Republic Fact Check about a commercial that Felecia Rotellini is running against Mark Brnovich.
"Brnovich fought to kill legislation to prevent dangerous criminals from coming to Arizona ... and then, in 2010, they escaped from an Arizona private prison."
Rotellini uses the same trick that Smith did in the stop sign story. Those escapees had nothing to do with the bill that Brnovich was lobbying against.
Leibowitz also told azcentral Fact Check that the video spot doesn't say SB 1547 would have prevented the Kingman escape. He also said it doesn't connect Brnovich to the escapees.
Give me a break. That's the same as when Candidate Smith didn't SAY that Candidate Jones actually hit the kid, he just used them in the same sentence and the listener ASSUMED they were connected.
So we are in agreement on the facts. Rotellini's spokesman admits that the events aren't connected. So how many stars does the fact checker give the commercial.
THE FINDING: Two stars; partly true, partly false.
Unbelievable. The commercial is designed to fool the listener into thinking that Brnovich lobbied against a bill that would have prohibited dangerous criminals from coming into the state and that the bill died and then as a result, three dangerous criminals escaped and killed two people. However, those events are not connnected and Rotellini's people admit that they aren't connected. The commercial is false. No stars.
Mike Sunnucks over at the Business Journal has excellent coverage here. I thought this paragraph was especially well done.
Gannett, like other legacy media companies, has gone through several reorganizations and initiatives aimed at grappling with a changing industry landscape plagued by declining advertising and circulation as social media and digital formats gain popularity. While most print newspaper operations have had to transition to more digital offerings, make staffing changes and adapt to other revenue challenges, daily papers have been hit the hardest.