Has the meltdown started?

Can you smell the desperation?

South Dakota Bill Stegmeier has taken his part of the campaign to commenting on blogs. There is plenty of top-notch political discourse, such as calling people “ass” and “coward.” He also posts comments like “I really don’t care” if Amendment E passes. Maybe the poll he commissioned from Zogby (which is now being questioned about push polling on another ballot issue) told Stegmeier more than he revealed.

But California “publicist” Bonnie Russell seems to have the most unique campaign approach. Her tactic is attacking and blaming the media for J.A.I.L.’s self-inflicted pain. For a while now, she’s been holding out the South Dakota media as a prime example of what she terms “media distortion reporting” and “campaigns of DIS-information (sic) on Amendment E.” The latest stems from a phone call she had with an Argus Leader reporter. Among other things she

educate[d] [him] as to the Argus Leaders (sic) complete lack of integrity in reporting about Amendment E…; adding that the Leader (sic) was only following the rest of South Dakota media’s (sic) complete lack of integrity. . . . . Then I mentioned it was fortunate South Dakotans have via [her] website, (sic) the ability to educate themselves as to the deliberate machinations of [his] and other news organizations (sic) ongoing dedication in subverting facts.

Here’s a few of her other tidbits:

    “When the South Dakota press isn’t pandering, they (sic) opt for mute.””[T]he Argus Leader and Rapid City Journal slyly and repeatedly refer to Amendment E by its initiative status.” (My rhetorical question: What else do you call an initiated measure?)

    “The ongoing demonstration of bias exhibited by South Dakota media, along with a reluctance to fact check; (sic) demonstrates not only a total disregard for subscribers, but also media’s (sic) willingness to dupe South Dakota voters.”

    “South Dakota’s ‘watchdog press’ continues its twenty year history of asleep (sic) at the wheel.”

But you’ll be glad (or sad) to know South Dakota’s newspapers and broadcasters aren’t alone in “pandering to the big oil vote.” Thanks to Russell, “[a]lert South Dakotans” are aware of “long-time, openly biased AP ‘reporters’ covering Amendment E.” According to her, “While staffing is an issue, surely there’s an intern somewhere who knows both how to write objectively, and equally important, who also believes journalistic integrity when covering an issue, (sic) is critically important.” (Emphasis in original.)

When she added NPR to the mix, she told everyone the radio network is the new FOX. (I’m not sure which of the two news organizations is more likely to be distressed by that comparison.) It’s probably coincidence, not coordination, that the California-based Russell is joined by the California-based national JAIL4Judges organization in attacking NPR. But I note the latter does not claim the J.A.I.L. proponents whose voices appear in the broadcast were not interviewed by NPR. And at least NPR doesn’t practice “distortion reporting.” Evidently, its size enables it to engage in what Russell calls “shriek journalism.”

If you don’t think this is all shoot the messenger stuff, Russell is not only posting such information on the “South Dakotan’s (sic) for Amendment E” site, she is busy posting comments attacking the media on South Dakota blogs. Seems like a wonderful way for a “publicist” to engender good will for a client. But then, since she lives in southern California, Russell could care less about South Dakota come Nov. 8.

Some credit should probably go to spokesman Jake Hanes for being innovative enough to come up with a label that covers both the state and national media. In Mitchell Tuesday night

Hanes concluded the debate by asking voters to not listen to media reports, which he said are distorting facts about Amendment E. He called it “shriek reporting,” and urged voters to go the group’s Web site.

What an idea! Just combine the first word of NPR’s “shriek journalism” and the last word of the state media’s “distortion reporting” and you can cover the waterfront.

I’ve never been or claimed to be a political or campaign strategist. But something tells me you don’t win elections by attacking the media. It also seems there are only two reasons for such attacks. One is you’re looking for someone to blame. The other is when you’re intent on self-immolation for yourself and your campaign.

There’s desperation, there’s desperation in the air
It leaves a stain on all your clothes
And no detergent gets it out

“Life is a Lemon,” Meat Loaf, Bat Out of Hell II

2 comments to Has the meltdown started?

  • PP

    Obviously, Bonnie never heard the adage of fighting with someone who buys paper by the roll, and ink by the barrel.

    So, she’s rather just (sic) ’em.

  • It’s really too bad, as a powerful case can be made for the adoption of Amendment E or at least, some variant of it. The campaign for Colorado’s Amendment 40 is being spearheaded by a term-limited former state senator, and the arguments have been made far more cogently.

    Whether you are a progressive or a Goldwater conservative, you should be able to see the dangers of giving any public official power without accountability. By way of example, consider the Military Commissions Act of 2006, and tell me how you would establish citizenship without benefit of a lawyer or a hearing.