Sunday, January 20, 2008

Man bites dog

Political endorsements are beginning to roll in. And it beats me why some of the media are actually carrying campaign "commercials" instead of news.

The old cliche is that news is defined as "man bites dog." With stories about endorsements, it appears to be more like "dog bites man." Is it a news story that yet another dog has bitten yet another man, with quotes about who, what, when and where?

I took part in the conference call announcing New Mexico Lt. Gov. Diane Denish's endorsement of Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination. What else could Denish say about Hillary other than the expected platitudes?

Why report a campaign commerical -- these platitudes -- as news? Associated Press did:

"SANTA FE — Lt. Gov. Diane Denish today endorsed Hillary Rodham Clinton in the presidential race, saying Clinton will make the best president and is best prepared to win in November.
"We have to have a leader whose ready to start doing things on day one and make change happen," said Denish, who backed Gov. Bill Richardson's bid for the Democratic nomination until he dropped out of the race last week.
"I've read her plans for the country," Denish told a conference call announcing the endorsement. "They're thoughtful, they're detailed, they're comprehensive. They're not just press announcements."
She praised Clinton's record of fighting for children and families, and said Clinton would help states obtain affordable health care and would negotiate to end the war in Iraq quickly and responsibly.
Denish, the first female lieutenant governor in New Mexico history, was Richardson's running mate in 2002 and when they won re-election in 2006.

During the conference call, I asked about and then reported on the possibility of a conflict between the lieutenant governor and the governor, should he choose to endorse another candidate.

In the "man bites dog" category, it would have been BIG NEWS if the lieutenant governor had instead endorsed a distant possibiity like Dennis Kucinich or, even more way out, a Republican. In a case like that, the reasons for the candidate's appeal would be real news, since the endorsement would have been totally out of the ordinary.

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