Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Gabs, Patrick, Polls and the Boston Globe.

Two new polls today - one good for Deval, one not so good. Which one to trust? I'd like to say the good one, especially since I happen to like the polling firm which did it (SUSA), but I can't say for sure. The good one polled over 2,000 people... which is a lot, but other not-so-good poll (Suffolk) questioned enough voters that it shouldn't be a statistical anomaly. It's different than any other poll we've seen recently and the first poll that's significantly different needs to be seconded before it becomes the conventional wisdom in the race.

That said, all the other recent polls have showed Gabrieli in a relatively close second. His commercials certainly haven't hurt him. I especially like the quaint commercial with his family; it's offbeat and fun. While there are some real no-no's in that commercial that usually don't help candidates (i.e. I don't think he called himself a Democrat), he has the name recognition that it doesn't matter much and there were so many good things about it that it detracts from the bad things. Furthermore, Deval Patrick's first commercials were a disappointment. He's going to have to make a more compelling case on the air in order to win.

Here's something on the difference on methodology:

The difference is in the questions they're asking. SUSA asks you to imagine yourself in the voting booth. Who are you pulling the lever for? Suffolk asks you who you are leaning toward.

SUSA is forcing a choice, whereas Suffolk is just asking for impressions. One interpretation is that there are people who, if the election were right now, would vote for Patrick, but are still open to changing their minds (and recorded as Patrick in SUSA, but undecided in Suffolk).
Anyway, for more on the polls go to the Blue Mass Group and be sure to check out Sco's website for an always-savvy analysis, he just doesn't have it up quite yet.

So onto the Globe!

Today, there were two relevant articles on the gubernatorial race. One was a very fair piece on Gabrieli's record spending, the other on last night's Deval Patrick email to supporters. My independently-minded Republican friend, Joe, didn't get why I was irate at the Globe.
What are you throwing a tizzy over? That whole article seemed to be one that defended a guy who is being attacked by an organization that's breaking the law and being unethical. I'm honestly not seeing what's so anti-deval about it.
He asked me to clear it up. Well, Joe, just look at these two Globe articles.

In Gabrieli's article, we get this:

Reilly campaign spokesman Corey Welford said Gabrieli ``has been trying to buy elections for years with no results," referring to Gabrieli's losing runs for Congress in 1998 and lieutenant governor in 2002, during which he spent a combined $10 million.

In Patrick's article, we get this:
``I don't want to be coy. I was paid well. And I earned it -- by making the companies better, by advocating for more enlightened policies, by acting in whatever I did with integrity," Patrick wrote, referring to his corporate experience with Coca-Cola, Texaco, and the parent company of Ameriquest Mortgage. ``I didn't achieve everything I wanted, but I had some measurable success."

Patrick's letter was posted on his website a day after Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly questioned the backgrounds of both Patrick and Christopher Gabrieli, the third Democrat running for governor. ``They tell you what they want to tell you," Reilly said in a CBS4 interview Sunday. ``But we have no idea what we're getting."
The difference? In the Gabrieli article, Reilly's bit didn't come until the 11th paragraph. In between the first paragraph and the eleventh, it's all facts and quotes from Gabrieli that really don't make him look all that bad - they don't even really play up his wealth, other than the fact that he's wealthy.

``Campaigns are expensive, unfortunately," Gabrieli said yesterday when told he had broken the record for self-funded candidates in Massachusetts.
See? Campaigns are expensive! 7.3 million isn't even really that much, it's a campaign after all. Furthermore, there was a nice little picture that went with the story that was equally irrelevant as the one from Deval's United story, with only one exception. 7.5-million-in-the-race Chris Gabrieli looks like the man of the people in the picture. Heck, they may as well have copied Gab's commercial and took a picture of him taking out the trash.

If there's one thing Gabrieli isn't, it's a man of the people. I don't mean that in a bad way, he just isn't. Neither am I, for that matter. I'm a very ordinary, middle-middle class guy... not a construction worker and neither is Gabrieli. It has nothing to do with the story, but makes Gabrieli's big spending seem genial and as irrelevant as the story. After all, he's just quirky.

Compare that to the Globe's Deval Patrick story. The two paragraphs I quoted from there were the second and third paragraph, respectively. They immediately jumped on the major gaffe from last night's email - the words I wish he never said - and followed it up with more from Reilly... in the third paragraph. Say what you want about Patrick, but he makes gaffes. It's okay to say that at a speech, but with an email (though it's the truth and plays well with supporters) can be taken way out of context - as it was in today's Globe piece.

Now, just how is this biased? Well, in both stories Reilly gets the first punch in - for Gabs and Reilly. Maybe it's just a coincidence? More importantly, the stories show a clear prejudice against Deval Patrick. Don't believe me?

Newspapers aren't stupid. They know people typically only read the first 2-3 paragraphs. Gabrieli's story is very newsy, the first few paragraphs just tell facts. Patrick's? The first paragraph is certainly factual and to the point, but the second jumps right on to a highly questionable use of quotes. The quote they pulled from Deval - and used in the 2nd paragraph - wasn't even the main point of his letter.

Here's one I would have wrote, as an unbiased, non-prejudiced reporter:

Democratic candidate for governor Deval L. Patrick sent his supporters a letter yesterday casting criticism of his corporate background as part of ``politics as usual" and a sign that his campaign is ``doing well." (The Globe's first paragraph.)

Because "most people" make their living in the private sector, Patrick said his criticizers were "out of touch... with the issues facing real people every day." Furthermore, he said "those in the 'politics-as-usual' crowd believe... experience in the private sector is inherently bad" even though the private sector is "where most people in Massachusetts make their living." (My quickly written words.)
Why write that as the second paragraph? For starters, it continues on the first paragraphed main ideas. In news papers, you're supposed to go from the most relevant information to the least relevant... but that novel concept has clearly been thrown out the kitchen window along with the Boston Globe's election-coverage integrity.

More importantly, my version of the second paragraph is actual news - what the article was about. The Patrick email had little to do with how well-paid Patrick was, but it doesn't shock me to read that quote in the newspaper so quickly. In fact, I'm a little surprised that the headline wasn't "Patrick Says He Deserves to Be Rich" or something crazy like that.

I'm not saying the quote shouldn't have been in there. Obviously, it's fair game. Deval(stupidly) wrote it. However, it's sensationalistic to throw it in their as the second paragraph... especially when Gabrieli's second paragraph is this:

Deval Patrick defends his corporate background. B3.
See? There's no prejudice at the Boston Globe. I'm just making it all up. /sarcasm off

Update: A quick note to readers - I'm not saying the Globe shouldn't be hard on Deval. In fact, I want them to be hard on him. I support Deval, but if allegations set against him had any truth to them I probably wouldn't. The fact is the Globe should have investigated Coca-Cola and United. However, they didn't. Instead, they got pundits and mouth-pieces to spew anti-Deval innuendo and hysteria, without a shred of evidence. Even in today's Globe, they still give credence to what Ray Rogers/Killer Coke has to say. What other one-man organization has any say in the newspaper?

The Globe's heavily anti-Deval articles aren't "tough reporting." It's horrible reporting no decent newspaper should publish. Tough reporting uses facts, not allegations. If the Globe wanted tough reporting, they'd have gone to Columbia to see what really happened. Furthermore, each candidate deserves "tough reporting," but there hasn't been very much of that for any of the candidates. The articles on Deval aren't tough; they're irresponsible.

If anyone can't catch my drift, it's now what newspapers say - it's how they say it. In this case, it's been done with little real reporting and a lot of prejudice.


Anonymous said...

You cant have nothing but positive press for your candidate, its unfair. Gabrieli was the one getting negative press in the begining and he still pulled out ahead.As for the money issue, you can look at it in a different light. Here is a man who is very good with his money. He is not going to invest his money poorly so he invests it in himself,its his money he can do that.There for he has the confedence in himself that is needed to run this state.As far as being a construction worker, he never claimed that, and as far as Patriks back round goes, I dont care where he grew up,I grew up in the city to, and Im a construction worker and I'm voting for Gabrieli.Bet you didnt know construction workers came to this site.

Joe said...

Now I get what you were getting at. No lie, that was really well explained. Going for a teaching degree?

To add on to what you said, having experience in the private sector is a significant positive to someone's record when they run for the office of governor. After all, the CEO of a large company is responsible for hiring qualified employees, having a balanced budget, turning a profit, responding to changes in the economy, responding to emergencies and so on...

I think it's pertinent for you to have experience in the type of work you would face as governor, and I laud you for noticing that.

I also do not like the Globe. I like the Herald, but only because it's easier for me to navigate the pages when I'm freshly awoken and blurry eyed -- and the editorials.

Ryan Adams said...

LOL - Anon. I'm glad construction workers come to this site. I just think the Globe picture was a little silly and totally irrelevant.

I'm not trying to say that every peice on Deval should be fluff. Like I said on my update, I think they ALL DESERVE TOUGH REPORTING. It's just that tough reporting = facts, not innuendo spewed from talking-head mouthpieces like Ray Rogers/Killer Coke.

The Globe is a huge newspaper and has the resources to do real, investigative journalism. By all means, do it. If they find something bad, then report it. However, don't go putting pundits and mouth-peices onto the newspages like they do on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News.


I'm glad you got it =) And, yes, I agree - there's NOTHING wrong with having a corporate past. It's what you do with it that matters, just like everyone else wherever they work.

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