Monday, September 08, 2008

Working the Refs

On the Friday of the Palin announcement, the first profiles to come out were all puff pieces, heavy on the bio and 'reformer' label, with no mention of her little abuse of power problem. My fear was that she would get a whole news cycle with no real challenge to the official campaign version. So I wrote to the Times' public editor, complaining about the omission of Troopergate from their first piece.

A few hours later Troopergate had seeped into the mainstream, and did make it into the first news cycle, and I felt just a little foolish, like maybe I had jumped the gun.

Then last week I got an e-mail telling me Clark Hoyt was going to quote me by name in Sunday's column...which, when it ran, was all about wingnuts complaining about critical coverage of Palin. My contribution:

I heard from only a few who seemed to agree with Thomas Hilton of San Francisco, who worried that, because “The Times has long been under attack by conservatives trying to ‘work the refs,’ ” the paper might be gun shy about reporting the negative parts of Palin’s record.
And now I don't feel so foolish. 'Only a few'? The lesson here is that we need to be working the refs a whole lot harder and faster. Next time you think about writing the Public Editor (or the ombudsperson of your local paper, or whoever), just do it, because we know the wingnuts are doing it.