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Friday, June 10, 2005

Nebraska: Media Does GOP Bidding on Non-Story

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Most people probably haven't heard much about this story, but in Nebraska, the GOP has temporarily succeeded in getting the local media to take its eye off the ball.

You see, the Lincoln (Nebraska) Journal Star doesn't seem to think that thousands of people having a difficult time voting in northern Omaha is a big deal. But when an innocuous reference to Carlos Castillo, Douglas County election commissioner," as "Tio Thomas" appeared on the Nebraska Democratic Party blog, it was a full-feature article, complete with feigned GOP outrage and calls for resignation.

The Nebraska Democratic Party deserves tons of praise for their commitment grassroots outreach. And when its Executive Director Barry Rubin defended the comment, he was spot-on:

[It was a] description of the kind of activities that resulted in changed polling locations, long voting lines, an insufficient number of ballots and the challenge of a disproportionately large number of voters in north Omaha.

"Several hundred, if not thousands of, people were denied the right to vote," Rubin said. That's the real slur.

I'll take it a step further. The real slur is that we live in a media-society that believes faux outrage is deserving of a full-feature article, but doesn't have the time or space to devote an entire article, let alone a full-scale investigation, into voter disenfranchisement in its own backyward. This isn't news, it's "scandal" driven infotainment well beneath any organization in place to serve the public interest.

In other words, Lincoln Journal Star, do your job.


This newspaper has written about voter disenfranchisement in the West Bank and Ukraine, but when I got off the phone with an editor minutes ago, his response was "nothing rings a bell" in regards to covering it in Nebraska. Go figure.

And for Carlos Castillo, I would have some serious conflict about serving the political party of James Sensenbrenner, Tom Tancredo, and the orgasmic joy some are taking in the speculation that James Gilchrist, of "Minuteman" fame, might run for Congress in CA-48.

But that shouldn't shock anyone, because its not like you are serving the people of Nebraska anyway in your role as election commissioner.

Posted at 03:13 PM in Nebraska | Technorati