Monday, May 24, 2010

Is Ron Johnson Ready for his Close-up?

That's essentially what Marc Ambinder asks today. Ambinder's post brings both good news and bad news.

First, the good news: Johnson is getting some national recognition. Bigger audiences that attract wider attention, more prestige, more donors, etc.

Now the bad new: Johnson is getting some national recognition. Ambinder's colleague Josh Green recently wrote an interesting piece on the local Kentucky press corps and its inability to adequately vet Rand Paul:
The second point, which gets directly to why Rand Paul is suddenly flailing, is that the local Kentucky media--in particular the newspapers, and especially the flagship Louisville Courier-Journal--has been decimated by job cuts, as has happened across the country. This came up several times in discussions with Kentucky politicos and local journalists. The reason it matters is that because there is no longer a healthy, aggressive press corps--and no David Yepson-type dean of political journalists--candidates don't run the same kind of gauntlet they once did. They're not challenged by journalists. And since voters aren't as well informed as they once were (many are "informed" in the sense of having strongly held views about all manner of things--they're just not "well informed"), they can't challenge the candidates either.
I actually want to disagree with this argument, but not entirely. My understanding of the evolution of this Civil Rights Act question was that it was originally the Louisville Courier-Journal that first brought up the issue, which was in turn discussed on NPR before finally making it's way to the Maddow Show. The point is this: local media probably still knows how to ask the right questions, but they do a lousy job of publicizing their findings. Paul's CRA views probably should have shown up above the fold on A1, not buried in an editorial.

I have little doubt that Green would find the local Wisconsin media as bleak as he does the press in Kentucky.

MORE: Then again, I could be wrong.

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