I listened to a news item on the radio the other night. In the middle of a couple of DFLers talking about their primary contest today, the radio reporter inserted a clip of Minnesota GOP chairman Pat Shortridge commenting on the state of the DFL.
“It doesn’t matter who they run”, Shortridge said, “It’s a contest between Extremer and Extreme-est”.
And I thought – “is this really news? Taking time out from a story about a DFL primary for a GOP official to bag on the DFL? That’s not news. That’s not Man Bites Dog. That’s not even Dog Bites Man. Party chairs bagging on the opposition is Dog Sniffs Dog”.
Thats’ what I thought.
Or I would have – had it happened.
But there was no radio story about Pat Shortridge bagging on the DFL, dropped incongruously into the middle of a story about a couple of primary races.
That’d be weird, wouldn’t it?
Naturally, it doesn’t end there. I said there was no story including an incongruous quote of Pat Shortridge bagging on the DFL in the middle of a story about a DFL primary.
But for some reason, Tim Pugmire, of Minnesota Public Radio News – whose putative motto is “No Rant, No Slant” – in the middle of a story about the GOP primaries in the west Metro, opted to drop in a quote from MInnesota DFL chair Ken Martin about the nature of the GOP races:
Democrats offer a much different theory.
“What you’re seeing on the Republican side right now is truly a civil war, where you have an already pretty far right Republican party being challenged by people even more to the right who feels those Republicans haven’t done a good enough job being conservative up at the Capitol,” said Ken Martin, chair of the Minnesota DFL Party.
So why is the opinion of Ken Martin – who was imposed on the DFL by Alida Messinger to cut out the intellectual middleman – of any news value in the middle of a story about a GOP primary race? Is he offering any opinion that would surprise one about a GOP primary? Does his insight – “Republicans are teh extreem!” – surprse anyone? Again – it’s not news. It’s dog licks dog.
Now, had Martin had said “I believe this race in face defines the Minnesota mainstream”, that would have been news. Along with the next week’s story, “Ken Martin found dead in ditch with Alida Messinger’s stiletto marks on his throat and electrical burns on his genitals.”
But as it is, what Pugmire gave us was a freebie DFL mention which was of no news value, but certainly made for a nifty little free ad.