This past weekend saw a classic example of an otherwise fine reporter filing an Associated Press story about the prospects of former State Representative Paulette Jordan (D-Plummer) to upset Lt. Governor Brad Little (R-Emmett) in this fall’s gubernatorial race.
Rather than state the obvious, that she has a snow-balls chance in hell (Little wins 65% to 35%) the reporter seems to want to throw out a lifeline of a shred of hope that it happens.
Wishing to appear balnaced and objective and to mask their bias the reporter set up a “straw dog” as the model of the typical Idaho governor---you know, one who rides a horse well or at least looks like a cowboy; a fiscal conservative who has signed the pledge not to support any new taxes, and of course a white male.
The reporter added one other wrinkle, pointing out that they should be a Mormon. Then the reporter veered of the tracks big-time by saying in effect this was the mold formed by former four-term Idaho Governor which Rep. Jordan was trying to break.
This line of malarky is a classic false syllogism which reveals the reporter’s bias and a desperate effort to create credulity for a candidate who has none.
There are several facts one sould keep in mind here. First, Andrus did indeed set the standard by which one should measure whether a gubernatorial candidate can do the job of solving problems.
There is nothing in Rep. Jordan’s record that indicates she is a problem-solver. She claims to be a leader, not a politician, but she has not lead any organization or board of directors. And not one of her legislative colleagues has endorsed her candidacy.
The reporter also took identity politics a step further by stating that Cecil D. Andrus was LDS. Wrong. He was a Lutheran. The reporter must feel that if Jordan pulls of an upset, people will appreciate it even more if they know Jordan knocked off a Mormon.
Of Idaho’s thirty-five governors only one Mormon has been elected—John V. Evans in 1978. One other, Arnold Williams, inherited the office in 1946 but was defeated later that year.
All reporters and columnists have pre-conceived biases and often write with their conclusion in mind to which they seek supporting testimony. A goood reporter will acknowledge bias but will strive for objectivity. At the end of the day though they still are subjectively writing.
So, you ask, what are some of your faithful scribe’s biases? I have a bias against:
*politicians who do not write personal thank you notes to those that help them in some way;
*politicians who while running for office claim not to be a politician but rather a leader;
*politicians who lie like Rep. Jordan did when she mislead the press claiming some support for her candidacy from legislative colleagues;
*politicians who campaign only on the internet, twittter and face-book and are afraid to walk into a town’s coffee shop and make a cold call. Instead their public events are known party gatherings;
*politicians who do not do their homework and cannot discuss an issue beyond a one-page briefer;
*politicians who support the expansion of gambling in Idaho;
*politicians who accept contributions from PACS and are ok with so-called dark money;
*politicians who do not understand federal/state relations and blindly accept unconstitutional “solutions;”
*politicians who view the office they seek as a stepping stone to even higher office;
*politicians who run for reasons of ego and hubris, rather than seeing politics as a noble calling;
*politicians who play the identity politics game, and by doing so trivialize the process and demean themselves.
*politicians who cannot even organize and run their own campaign. Why should the voter think they can administer the state?