Friday, April 23, 2004

This deserves some comment, I think.

Sully has been trumpeting another coup by a blogger ("Daschle's Best Buddy') about a bit of dark business in South Dakota. Cool, I thought -- I rag on Bush most of the time because he's in power, but if there's something nasty going on across the aisle I want to know about it.

Unfortunately, the actual 'expose' is a bit of a letdown. Jason van Beek highlights this passage from a memo:

The Mitchell Daily Republic has given Jim [Abourezk] good coverage the last few weeks, usually run the releases on front page in "News Briefs". (Roberta will confirm that statement) Managing Editor is Dave Kranz, 30, formally of Austin Minn, and Watertown S.D. Went to SDSU (Mu U. with Tom D. and Tom Klinkel) Very much a strong Demo. and have been attending county demo. functions together. If Ron or Al can provide him with good info. on whats happening in D.C. it would be a good venture. He received one call from Ron this week. Thanks Ron...

My God, do you mean to tell me that a journalist is taking talking points from a political party and using them as story fodder? Stop the presses!

Is it a bad thing? Of course. Does it happen every day in every news organization in America? Pretty much. Are there a dozen or more examples of the other guys doing it for every one Daschle? A-yup.

Now, there is another, far more interesting bit later in the memo:

NWPS-Dave Kranz of paper is checking out some of the local biggees in Mitchell to see how much support we have to do something.

Of course from that, van Beek concludes:

Can there really be any doubt that Kranz is doing investigatory work on behalf of the Daschle campaign, in light of the fact that he did investigatory work on behalf of Abourezk "to see how much support we have to do something?"

Err, well, yeah.

The memo quote is highly suggestive, but it's also completely without context. It's a separate item in the memo, so it doesn't relate to anything around it -- which leaves no hints whatsoever as to who the "biggees" are, or what the "something" was.

Does Kranz have some questions to answer? Definitely, and I'd rate his chances of actually answering them voluntarily at something a tick north of zero. If he has been or is currently doing work for a political campaign, he shouldn't also be reporting on that campaign. (He should be pundificating on it instead, the way Carville does.)

But this story isn't anywhere close to shocking, unless you've been living in a hole for the past decade.

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