Nov 12, 2006

Editor that contributes to Republican majority in Livingston County crows about the numbers

It seems ironic that Rich Perlberg, executive editor of the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus, writes a column in today’s edition saying that Democrats have as much chance as getting elected in Livingston County as Kevin Federline has of becoming a successful rapper. Mr. Perlberg is part of that problem, and it makes you wonder why an alleged unbiased journalist would prefer people just vote straight Republican ticket instead of reading newspapers and other sources to individually examine the candidates and their views.

I was the Communications Director for Mike McGoneal, Democratic candidate for the 66th District House seat, and the newspaper endorsed our opponent without even the courtesy of an endorsement interview. I would like to know if that decision came from Gannett HQ in Virginia or further down the chain of command, but we know it was not a local decision. The lack of critical coverage of our opponent’s ethically challenged record did not help our cause either. The numerous press releases we sent to the newspaper were filed in the circular file, but when Chris Ward sends out a ridiculous press release chiding the governor for signing a bill that his party, the majority party, introduced and passed is front-page news.

When we endorsed the Brighton Republican for his fourth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, we got some e-mails from people who said we were crazy to say he represented Livingston County values.
But look at the results. Rogers took about 55 percent of the total vote, which was his closest race in six years. But he dominated in Livingston County, with a 48,000-26,000 advantage over Jim Marcinkowski.

Again, a lack of critical coverage of the Gannett paper did not help, and we saw from the endorsement decision from the Lansing State Journal, another Gannett product, that the decision to endorse Rogers did apparently come from Gannett HQ.
It’s sad that because of gerrymandering our politicians are no longer held accountable by anyone, and it is next to impossible to unseat an incumbent, at least in Michigan, unless you have a ton of money and your opponent is a child molester. Only one of the 15 Michigan incumbents in the U.S. House were beaten, despite an anti-incumbency and anti-Republican feeling sweeping the nation, and that was a Republican defeated in the primary. The only instrument that can at least try to hold them accountable is the media, but it’s a little disturbing to see Perlberg's name show up in the campaign finance reports of both Rogers and Chris Ward.
The 8th was once a swing district that had Democrat Debbie Stabenow representing us. While she was our Congresswoman she kept a district office in Genoa Township on Grand River Avenue, and she was responsive and accessible to constituents because she had to be. Why would Rogers bother? The little constituent work he does is only the kind that gets publicity and his photo in the official Mike Rogers news, AKA the Daily Press & Argus. After Livingston County helped Rogers win the this seat in 2000 with a paper thin margin of just 111 votes he promised to open a district office in the county. We’re still waiting, and the P & A again gives him a pass.

Some folks are trying to say that the county is becoming more liberal and more receptive to Democrats. I've heard that argument for more than 30 years, but the numbers still don't support it.
In fact, Democrats in Livingston County have about as much chance for success as a Britney Spears marriage.
Republicans took more than 62 percent of the votes across the county and more than doubled their opponent's totals in some races. The closest race I could find was a county commissioner race in Hamburg Township where the winner, incumbent Republican Dennis Dolan (who never campaigns), took 55 percent of the vote from challenger Dave Buckland.

Again, someone has to hold politicians accountable, and so far the voters have not and the P & A will not. There is one guaranteed time that politicians pay attention to the voters and that’s at election time. Not in Livingston County.


Anonymous said...

I refuse to subscribe to or purchase the Press and Argus. This results in me being uninformed about what is going on in my county, but I refuse to support what is basically a Republican party organ. I subscribe to the Detroit Free Press - which evaluates the best candidate in each race. Yes, it does endorse a lot of Democrats, but many Republicans as well. Executive editor Caesar Andrews didn't stoop to childish gloating after the Free Press endorsed candidates were elected.

Communications guru said...

I appreciate the comments, but I must disagree with you. The only part of the Daily Press & Argus that is Republican is the editorial board, and even there I think many of the major editorial decisions are coming from Gannett headquarters in Virginia. When they actually choose to cover non-rightwing issues and candidates the coverage is generally fair, so I would recommend reading it and subscribing to it like I do. Instead, hold them accountable when they take those kinds of rightwing positions and give them some constructive criticism. The DFP is also owned by Gannett, and many of their editorial decisions come from the same place as the Press & Argus. Try the Detroit News.