Monday, October 31, 2005

Josh Goodman covers Brian Schweitzer

Credit Josh Goodman for alerting us to his article on Governor Brian Schweitzer at the 13th Floor blog. Additional kudos to Josh for his mention of us later in the article:

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Media's Favorite Governor

I just finished Craig Crawford's new book, Attack the Messenger, in which he claims that officeholders have increasingly turned to criticizing the media to deflect unwanted scrutiny. Crawford argues that this trend is undermining the freedom of the press and weakening our democracy. To me, however, the tendency of elected officials to blame the press reflects something far more pernicious: a lack of creativity.

There are dozens of media strategies that don't involve crying bias or casting aspersions against reporters. A prototypical example is the way Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer has become a darling of the press.

Schweitzer has been portrayed favorably in publications ranging from to the Wall Street Journal. His trick is little more than being interesting and providing access.

Both of these tactics were on full display in a New York Times article published last week on Montana's upcoming (and controversial) bison hunt. Rather than quote an environmental official or one of the governor's aides, the article quotes Schweitzer himself. It also includes the sort of colorful detail that reporters love about Schweitzer: The governor himself entered a lottery to participate in the bison hunt.

For the complete article, go here.


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