Not a Party Animal
Nonpartisan: On June 3, the Lewiston Sun Journal ran a long story by reporter Rebekah Metzler on the primary race between retired Lewiston fire chief Mike Lajoie and current Lewiston Mayor Larry Gilbert for a seat in the Maine House of Representatives.
The article told readers there wasn't much difference between the men on issues, that they were both "fiscally responsible" and that they were both "people persons." What more in the way of information could any voter ask for? Well, since Gilbert and Lajoie are running in a primary election, it might be nice to know what party they represent. The only hint they're Democrats comes in the story's final paragraph, in which Metzler informs us the winner will face Republican John Babine in November.
Semi-ethical: WGME-TV, Channel 13 in Portland, keeps pushing the journalistic boundaries - but not in a good way. The Portland Phoenix (for which I write a political column) has published a detailed report on the TV station's extensive efforts to promote its news programs.
The story noted that not only has WGME replaced rival WCSH-TV as the source of news and weather updates on news-talk radio station WGAN in Portland, it's also taken over the job previously held by an animated character in videos for the Transportation Security Administration played for passengers at the Portland and Bangor airports. According to the Phoenix, Channel 13 anchor Kim Block informs the public that "TSA security officers are here to help you." This is hardly the first case of WGME shilling for entities from which it should be maintaining some distance, but in identifying itself so closely with a government agency, Channel 13 leaves itself open to some uncomfortable questions about its credibility the next time it has to report on a controversy involving the TSA. Is that sacrifice really worth a rating point or two?
Unbluesy: The Maine Blues Project has vanished from the airwaves. On June 2, EMF Broadcasting took over WCYI-FM (93.9 in Lewiston) from a trust set up by Citadel Broadcasting. EMF promptly replaced the noncommercial blues format with its "K-Love" contemporary Christian satellite feed.
The continuous blues format isn't quite extinct, though. It's still operating on Portland radio station WBLM's Web site. (WBLM administered the trust that operated WCYI.) But for the Blues Project to keep wailing away online, it needs what the site calls "underwriters." Translation: money from listeners.
Unstoppable: Pseudonymous blogger T. Cushing Munjoy checked in this week via e-mail. Munjoy has been silent of late, the result of both health problems and the pointlessness of criticizing a Portland Press Herald management that will soon be gone.
But that silence may soon come to an end. Munjoy wrote that he intends to resume blogging when the new owners of the Press Herald are announced, probably before the end of the year. He said he has "lots of pent up stuff" to say.
Mindless: On my sit-on-the-deck-with-a-cooler-of-beer reading list for this summer: the new Robert B. Parker, the new Lee Child, an old Andrew Vachss and the new Julia Spencer-Fleming. Maine's own Spencer-Fleming is issuing "I Shall Not Want," the sixth in her series about a crime-solving priest (female) with the hots for the local police chief (male). If you haven't yet tried this series, start with the first, "In The Bleak Midwinter." Just complex enough to keep you enthralled. Just chilly enough for a hot afternoon on the deck.
Al Diamon can be e-mailed at email@example.com.