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Friday, March 5

Jobs jobs jobs 

Wilson's just great today reporting on Kerry's jobs speech. She adds details on what Bush has forecast for job growth before she adds the empty quote from the Bushcamp.

Monday, March 1

Life on the press plane 

Wilson's take on the complex Kerry, who's not just an "aloof" blueblood, who "can wander into linguistic thickets".

She touches on the key element of his campaign strategy, the fact that he plays ball with the bored, cynical journalists on the campaign plane.

"The New Englander is not always easy to pigeonhole as aloof. On his campaign plane, Kerry does sometimes sit alone, quietly playing the guitar, reading or sleeping.

At other times, he joins the traditional game of airplane bocce -- rolling oranges up and down the aisle as the chartered Boeing 727 ascends.

At a refueling stop in Indianapolis on Saturday, the decorated Vietnam War veteran donned a battered brown bomber jacket with patches from his days as a Navy lieutenant who commanded Swift boats and headed to the tarmac to throw around a football with staff and reporters.

Although he has campaigned on his combat record, Kerry rarely discusses his personal experiences at any length, especially in public. "

But on a ferry in San Francisco Bay, he pointed out Treasure Island, recalling it was his first Navy posting. Turning to the city skyline, he said he spent the evening before he shipped out to Vietnam at the Top of the Mark, a posh bar atop a downtown hotel with a panoramic view.

"This was my last night of freedom," he said. "Great memories."

Thursday, February 26

100% news-free 

It was a long plane ride to LA. Kerry wouldn't talk to us about politics. But Patricia Wilson has to crank out something, preferably with some controversy. Kerry hasn't seen that Mel Gibson movie, doesn't know if he will, he's careful, ever-cautious.

Watch it JFK, hell hath no fury like a journalist scorned.

Wednesday, February 25

One fine wire-service reporter 

Patricia Wilson again serves up a nice set of wire-service stories that puts AP's Nedra Pickler to shame, with this as the latest . Notice how she only takes one relevant Bush campaign quote to provide the requisite "balance" to the story. I really like the way Wilson works this Kerry message in,

A decorated Vietnam War veteran who has campaigned on his combat record, Kerry said it was time "to put patriotism back in the driver's seat."
"We need to encourage a corporate culture where companies provide a fair break for workers and a fair return for shareholders instead of a fast buck and a false bottom line," he said. "Where corporations make profits the old-fashioned way -- by building our economy, not bilking our people."



Monday, February 23

Bush on the run 

More fine work from Wilson. Why aren't more local dailies running work of this quality instead of the hash that Nedra Pickler makes of the news.

Sunday, February 22

Another great article  

Patricia Wilson following Kerry. Once again, an example of what really good wire service reporting can be like.

No "trick-knee" Chambliss for Wilson 

In contrast to rival Nedra Pickler, Patricia Wilson doesn't take the bait offerred by Max Cleland, in her version of Kerry's response to Saxby "Trick-knee" Chambliss' unsubstantiated attacks on Kerry's voting record. Instead, she describes the designated mudslinger as "Senator Saxby Chambliss, a leading Georgia Republican"

It's one of those falsely-balanced side A says, side B responds stories that tries to provide context. These stories are always tough when one side is blatantly lying. Wilson's version falls flat.

Thursday, February 19

Kerry and AFL-CIO 

Wilson reports on the Democratic campaign for the Presidential nomination. Workmanlike effort, but Nedra Pickler really outshines her today.

Banner day for wire service journalism when we have the two major reporters pumping out good stuff.

Wednesday, February 18

National innumeracy day 

Patricia Wilson makes two contributions to our annual holiday where we all can show our disdain for numbers.

First, on Kerry's victory

Democratic presidential front-runner John Kerry on Tuesday eked out a victory over John Edwards ... In a subdued victory speech, Kerry, who is fighting a cold and dealing with a persistent cough, neither mentioned the narrow margin of his win -- just a few percentage points -- nor his rivals, focusing instead on a potential matchup with President Bush in November.

Excuse me if I'm not a professional, but wouldn't "several" be a better description of the number of percentage points between 39.7 and 34.3. Or. why not actually use the number 5 as the closest approximation of the number of points. Looks like the narrative takes precedence over the fact.
Wilson's second piece focuses on jobs, and his confession that the employment forecast from Bush's Council of Economics Advisors was a faith-based projection, not to be confused with tricky things like statistics or actual numbers. Our first "MBA President" doesn't give a hoot about the actual number of jobs in America, and Kerry takes him to task.

And speaking of narrative, Kerry's a "blueblood" in contrast to the humble origins of John Edwards.

Overall good work by Wilson today, aside from the nit-picking.

Tuesday, February 17

Wowzer 

Patricia Wilson with a dynamite wire-service piece.

Friday, February 13

Wilson back in frontrunner land 

Patricia Wilson back on the campaign trail , now vying with archrival Nedra Pickler in covering Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry. Wilson's first piece features two of the RNC major strategies.

If you're not familar with Rovian agitprop, it follows some standard themes.

First is the Big Lie. Find your biggest vulnerabilities and accuse your opponent of that very flaw. Republicans know that Bush's single biggest liability is his unparalleled record of crony capitalism, rewarding the richest Americans with massive tax cuts and favorable legislation at the expense of most Americans. How to counter this? Accuse John Kerry of being a tool of special interests in as many ways as possible, from Heinz factories in foreign countries to special interest lobbyist money. Republicans know that Americans are viscerally repelled by the type of smear campaigning that Rove masters, so their first pass is accusing Democrats of running a "dirty campaign" while launching the Jane Fonda attacks and the Drudge bimbo smears.

Second, and equally important to the Republicans is decreasing turnout and increasing cynicism. This makes their superior "Get out the vote" efforts and high propensity voters more valuable. That's why they sent their 6 million member mailing list the first pass of their effort to smear Kerry with special interest money. Imagine voting after you've watched Pee Wee Herman saying "I know you are but what am I" for eight months. Echoing Dean's comments about Kerry and lobbyist contributions is part of a pointed effort to get those damned Deaniacs and their money as far away as possible from the Presidential campaign.

Wilson's article is better than AP's version, but she's an unwitting coconspirator in this week's RNC strategy.

Monday, February 9

Where's Patricia? 

Nedra Pickler posts again from the Kerry campaign. Nothing from Patricia Wilson. Has Nedra finally triumphed in this rivalry between the two queens of the wires? Or will Ms. Wilson turn up with the frontrunner again ? Or is Reuters thinking of outsourcing their coverage of the Presidential election?

Thursday, February 5

From Nedra's hometown 

Patricia Wilson sets her byline in Flint, Michigan, hometown of her archrival Nedra Pickler. The story adds a "do-or-die" in the Badger state fillip to Wilson's standard Dean=loser story, but the real question is "Where's Nedra?" Pickler's story today relies on quotes from Dean's website, leading to speculation that Nedra may finally have been kicked off the Dean press junket, cruelly preventing her triumphant return to her humble beginnings.

They killed Nedra, the bastards.

Wednesday, February 4

The L Word 

Longshot !

Wilson keeps rewriting Dean's obituary as " the longshot-turned-hotshot who is now the longest of long shots ... reached for a glazed doughnut, despite the 12 pounds he says he has packed onto his stocky frame over the past few months, fuel for a sputtering campaign."


Friday, January 30

Dean has been better 

Latest Patricia Wilson, abbreviated

perfunctory campaign stops ... floundering…dismissing… fallen front-runner… struggling to keep his campaign afloat…unemployed …a black, an immigrant and a Hispanic at his hotel …not scheduled to return …not advertising …hard choices… dismal showings … forced him to change strategy… reeling campaign …looking down the road … for a lifeline…high-flying campaign has plummeted…the former lobbyist and White House aide tapped to rescue Dean's campaign… cost cutting measures… dwindling resources …not advertising anywhere at the moment. ...struggling to pay its bills and has asked staff to defer their paychecks for two weeks. Other staff are being moved or let go to reduce operating costs. Dean has said only that the campaign is "not broke" .

Shorter version : Get me off this campaign. They can't afford to treat us like princesses anymore.

Thursday, January 29

Bravissima 

Wilson laces a story with representative quotes from Dr. Dean

Yo ! Ms. Wilson, over here 

Here's the text af what Dean is saying in Michigan today. Is it possible that you could actually quote part of what he says, instead of giving us one more story where you figure out another clever way to talk about his "campaign"? The "hopscotched" bit was cute, but Dean's words are eloquent.

Democrats in Iowa and New Hampshire have cast their ballots. The 2004 election is underway.

The election won’t be decided by pundits or polls. That’s not the way our Constitution works. Democracy leaves the last word to the people, and the people are going to decide – in primaries and caucuses across this country in coming months.

I began this campaign over two years ago, hoping to talk about issues: health care, investing in children, balancing budgets.

I was outraged at the direction of the country – but what struck me quickly was how deeply my outrage was shared by the people. Outrage not just at the President but at the Democrats in Washington for failing to stand up to George Bush and for what we believe.

Our economy is at risk. Our international reputation is in tatters. The fabric of our society is being ripped apart.

These aren’t petty political differences to be papered over. This is a fundamental disagreement over the very nature of what it means to be an American.



Wilson foundering 

Republican political advisers today took credit for "successfully tarring Dean as an angry liberal", as they figure out how to slam Kerry.
Here's how Patricia Wilson contributes to the effort to bury Dean in her report on Dean's campaign shake-up. Guess she didn't get the "buyers remorse" memo.

Dean is "struggling" after "crushing losses " with an effort .."try to steady his slide from one-time front-runner"

Steady his slide ? God, Patricia, couldn't you at least manage to say "reverse his slide"

"The turmoil in the Dean campaign followed a devastating 20-point loss to Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry in Iowa on Jan. 19 and a televised concession speech that turned into a fist-pumping, bellowing speech"
…He managed to eke out second place in Tuesday's primary, finishing 13 points behind Kerry. Aides had said he needed to close the gap to single digits to right his foundering campaign


Bullshit. A statement like that without attribution is just plain crappy journalism. And "devastating" ?

… Political analysts said back-to-back double-digit losses were not good enough for a man who dominated the race through the summer and fall and that Dean needed to prove he could win a race soon, preferably on Tuesday when seven states hold primaries or caucuses.

If you're not out working like Nedra, picking up quotes and doing your job, at least don't give us this "Political analysts said" construction.


Tuesday, January 27

Kerry, Dean, Bush - Win, Place, Show 

New Hampshire has one of those open primaries, where you can pretty much vote for anyone in any primary. Pending final results, but it looks like in total votes, the finish is Kerry first, Dean 2nd, Bush 3rd. Patricia Wilson reports on Dean's solid second place finish, but neglects to compare Republican candidate George Bush's "disastrous third place finish" with Dean's similar setback in Iowa.

Bush's surrogate in New Hampshire today, Robert Novak, was accused of assaulting a bystander who had the temerity to question the right-wing pundit on some of the charges swirling around his release of classified documents. Novak's publication of information on a CIA agent has been characterized as treason, since it may have endangered the lives of American operatives. The gaffe-prone Novak's prickly temper and red-faced, screaming outburst have led critics to question his ability to continue as one of America's least-respected media figures.

Although criminal assault charges have been filed against Novak by the victim, prosecutors have yet to announce a schedule for the customary perp-walk.

UPDATE Final numbers from New Hampshire

Kerry: 85,649 -30.4%
Dean: 58,762 -20.8
Bush: 53,864 -19.1
Clark: 28,105 -10.0
Edwards: 27,224 -9.6
Lieberman: 19,340- 6.9
Other 9,229 3.3



Comparison 

One of the lessons we can learn over time is the difference between Wilson's immediate observations on January 19th to the changing descriptions as the media storm whirled.

January 19th

"His voice raspy, Dean, who finished a stunning third in the first contest of the 2004 White House race after once being one of the favorites in Iowa, shouted to supporters, "We are not only going to New Hampshire," then hoarsely listed at least a dozen states that hold contests in the next few months."

January 22

"Dean is trying to get past the arm-waving, screaming speech he delivered after finishing third in Monday's Iowa caucuses ...
His performance has been widely lampooned on the Internet, and late-night talk shows, but it could also be a serious problem for his campaign, reinforcing his image among some as an "angry" candidate who does not have the temperament to be president. ...
Dean has been dogged by the fist-pumping, sleeve-rolling, shrieking remarks. He has been asked about it in more than a dozen radio and satellite television interviews."

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