RWP was born in Manchester, in the north of England, in the late 1950s, so he is very old. He really liked the north of England, which by 1965 was hip and had three TV channels, and where he went to a coed school. His parents, for reasons best known to themselves, then yanked him away, to Belfast and then Dublin, which had one TV channel that started up at 6 pm with the Angelus (Catholic call to prayer). He also had to go to an all boys school, where he realized he really missed girls. This probably let him focus on schoolwork, though, and at age 19, after he had finished college, he set off for America, where he still resides. He has a bachelors degree in biochemistry and a Ph.D. from Harvard in biophysics, and has lived also in Mainz, Germany, Setauket NY, and Richland WA. He currently divides his time between Nebraska, Rosslyn VA, and Florida.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The difference between a journalist and a shill

Don Walton has been an unpaid volunteer for Bob Kerrey's various campaigns for over a quarter century. He's even owned up (probably in a weak moment) to his bromantic feelings for Kerrey. But it's useful to take his latest Kerrey press-release, a.k.a. Lincoln Journal Star piece, and examine what could turn its naked shilling into actual journalism.

The first key to analyzing Don the Shill is that when he approves of what you say, he paraphrases it, probably to improve its phrasing. When he doesn't like you, he usually quotes. So, he paraphrases Kerrey:

It's time to have a conversation about whether to consider a constitutional amendment that would replace partisan election of members of Congress with the non-partisan feature of the legislative system modeled in Nebraska, he said.
A real journalist would follow up with "Is there anyone in the entire country, Bob, that thinks this is a feasible idea, let alone a good idea? Most people in the country don't even know Nebraska has a formally non-partisan legislature, which really isn't non-partisan at all. How are you going to get 2/3 of Congress, fierce partisans to a man, to vote for this? Does a single sitting congressperson agree with it? Isn't it entirely out of left field -- the usual 'Cosmic Bob' nonsense, in fact?" (Well, maybe the journalist might be a little less combative!)

More Don:

When he was the Democratic governor of Nebraska from 1983 to 1987, Kerrey said, he was able to achieve legislative results that would not have been possible if the Legislature had been divided and organized by party.
This would be an opportunity for a real journalist to ask about the scandals of Kerrey's single-term governorship, his use of public resources for personal enrichment, the personal counsel and transition team chief who milked a savings and loan dry and then got out of town, his appointed Attorney General (a Republican, natch) who stalled until the statute of limitations ran out and then became his Senate chief-of-staff. Is this the sort of bipartisanship we want; a two-party conspiracy to raid the public till?

The Bob goes on to attack the Republicans he supposedly wants to make common cause with:

Kerrey said he has watched the Republican Senate candidates "move farther to the right and stake out positions" that will make it difficult for any of them to work in a bipartisan manner.
A real journalist might have taken the opportunity to ask why, in those cases where a substantial bipartisan majority actually existed in the Senate, such as for welfare reform (twice) and for banning partial birth abortion, Kerrey instead chose to vote with the extreme left of his party against the bipartisan majority.
"Democrats are wrong to dig in and resist changes in Medicare," he said. "You've got to solve the underfunded liability for Medicare and Social Security. It isn't fair to people under 40 to do nothing."
A real journalist might have asked why Bob didn't get behind the Ryan plan, or even propose some follow-up ideas; and why he supported PPACA, which stripped even more money from Medicare...and why he hasn't publicly criticized the Democrats who have tried to make GOP medicare reform plans a campaign issue.

You would also quote a Kerrey supporter, Ben Nelson, but no critics:

Nelson described Republican Senate candidates Jon Bruning, Don Stenberg and Deb Fischer as "three peas in a pod who would lower taxes on the well-to-do while raising them on a million middle-income Nebraskans."
A young journalist can learn a lot from Don. Do all the things he doesn't do.

1 comment:

  1. That guy is such a hack, and it's a disgrace that his editorial columns continue to appear under the "News" section of the LJS.