Real Iowa Politics Live. I decided to cover an additional Scott Walker event in Iowa for two reasons. After covering the Walker announcement in Waukesha, Wisconsin in podcast 391, I have a reference point for Walker, so covering on additional appearance by the Governor, especially in Iowa would be a good pair of companion podcasts. So, it was off to Davenport, Iowa from Minneapolis. The road trip started at midnight, arriving at Davenport’s Modern Woodmen Park, home of the ‘Bandits’, a minor league baseball team at about 5:30 AM. After a short nap, I would be covering Scott Walker’s appearance later in the day. There’s a big difference between watching an event on live television and actually being there. Modern media amplifies, magnifies and distorts reality. It was amazing to see the network cameras set up for the live shot, or to tape, with no reporter. I’m assuming someone in another city slices and dices the speech. When you have video, who needs to be there. This is why I decided to come to a political event in Iowa. I learned a lot. Most of these events at the present time are pretty small ball, but I was shocked to learn that one presidential ‘candidate’ after another has trooped through, sometimes two or three a day, to rub noses with Iowans, just because they cast the first votes in caucuses and primaries in 2016. Iowa Republicans do not trust the media — even podcasters like me — and they’re perfectly content with a status conferred upon them by virtue of their caucus date, the media and the politicians trooping through these rooms all over the state. Walker is a disciplined candidate, delivering exactly the same speech, in exactly the same way, except for a moment of prayer for the recent victims of the Marine Base shooting. Still, the ‘reporting’ on Walker tends to be long on snark, and short on actual analysis and illumination of what he has done in Wisconsin and what he is proposing on the campaign trail. With a track record of actually doing what he says, you would think the media might actually want to put some effort into analysis. But no. Mostly snark. And, there’s a train in this podcast. Put headphones on and experience what an Iowa political event feels and sounds like. Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul.
Election Aftermath. How did the mainstream media do in covering election 2014? What are the primary issues for voters. What happens now? It was announced recently that the Weather Channel Morning Show beat Cable News Networks CNN and MSNBC, hands down, during an election year. Fox News regularly ‘crushes’ rival CNN, and the lesser MSNBC. Broadcast networks covered the midyear elections in 2014, in an effort to compete with cable news services. Based on the reviews from viewers and ‘observers’ of the business and coverage on election night, none of them did a very good job. There was more coverage than ever, but the networks now place political operatives and ‘ideologues’ next to journalists, blurring the lines between opinion and fact. Add to this the increasing need for news networks to employ whatever means necessary to ‘predict’ the outcome of political races. Statistics and polls are never accurate; The only question is whether sample sizes and calculations are reliable. Ideologues may try, but they cannot ‘predict’ the future with a percentage, like a weatherman predicting the chance of rain at 12 noon. The media now blames the polls. One political science professor wants an ‘investigation’ of the ‘the polls’. The polls showed tight races, and while there were a few surprises, results were generally within the margin of error, which for some polls was a perfectly respectable plus or minus 4 points. You could certainly predict the Republican Party would have an historic election, but you couldn’t make that prediction based on polling data. Now, we’re told the polls were biased in favor of Republicans. In 2012, it was the other way around. The problem isn’t the polls, it’s the media’s incessant and unreasonable need to predict, cajole, call races and set the tone. People are getting sick of it, especially when social media, and the Internet provide real time election results without commentary. Who needs CNN, MSNBC and Fox News, and talk radio — all of which will take half an hour to tell you what you can determine in 5 minutes looking at a website that runs all the results as the polls close? What happened in 2014? What emerges from exit polls is a blurry black and white; You can sense shades but not color. You can see form, but you can’t make out anything specific. People are concerned about the Economy, the roll out of ACA and leadership questions concerning the handling of ISIS and Syria, and lastly, Ebola. Is it partisan to suggest the Democratic agenda and campaign tactics focused on issues at the bottom of the list for most voters? Minnesotans wonder why the Minnesota GOP and virtually all the statewide candidates lost a once in a lifetime opportunity to turn out the votes and unseat a democrat governor, and Senator Al Franken, while neighboring Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker seemed to be able to turn out his supporters to win. Is the President still relevant? Will the Republicans come up with an agenda that shows what they’re for, rather than what they’re against? All this in Podcast 250, while shoveling snow! (Editors Note: And maybe a train too!) Sponsored by Baklund R&D.
A lot to think about this on the weekend before Thanksgiving, 2013. The 50th commemoration of the JFK assassination, the difference between a Senate rule, tradition and the US Constitution, the developing dud that is Comet ISON, and more. And, one of the things I’ve have wanted to prepare for is covering a story as it is happening, on the scene. As a family emergency calls me to Virginia, I get to see what will be required to leave the broadcast bunker at a moment’s notice. This is a test of this system. Sponsored by the incrediwearstore.com.