Oh, Happy Day! Pine Tree Politics Is Back
Gagnon is in the house: Well, actually Matthew Gagnon, the editor-in-chief of Pine Tree Politics is still far from home, working for a new-media political consultant in Arlington, Va. But since leaving the employ of Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins last month, Gagnon has returned to posting on PTP, which went silent under a fill-in editor after May 17. Before Gagnon departed last November, the site had become essential reading for anyone who wanted to know what was going on in Maine campaigns. His coverage of the 2010 races included scoop after scoop that the rest of the media missed or misinterpreted. But without him, PTP was barely worth a glance.
Gagnon demonstrated decisively on his return that he’s lost none of his sources, his energy, and his writing skills (I say this even though he has a tendency to quote me more often than seems either necessary or wise).
A June 30 piece on who’s running against 1st District Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree contained enough fresh stuff to last lesser reporters a month.
His July 1 analysis of the future of the Clean Election Act is pointed, thorough and thoughtful.
And you can take his July 6 take on money raising in the U.S. Senate race to the bank.
My prediction: There’ll be fewer missed political stories now that Gagnon’s on the job again. And reporters on that beat who were planning to take it easy this summer had best kick it into high gear or prepare to be embarrassed daily.
Define “often”: The July 7 MaineToday Media newspapers carried a story by Portland Press Herald staff writer Edward D. Murphy that contains a remarkable assertion. In the third paragraph of a piece on a speech Gov. Paul LePage gave to a group of at-risk youth in Portland about how he grew up homeless on the streets of Lewiston, Murphy writes, “LePage's story is well known, but not one that he discusses often.”
What alternate dimension does Murphy live in?
LePage has the story on his campaign Web site.
He talks about it in TV interviews.
How about this from Forbes magazine in January: “In a tale oft told on the campaign trail, LePage, 62, says that at age 11 he was beaten by his father, who gave him a 50-cent piece and instructed him to tell doctors he had tumbled down the stairs. Instead LePage, the eldest son of 18 children, took off. For the next two years he lived on the streets of Lewiston, sleeping in hallways, cars and the local brothel. ‘Some of those strippers were like surrogate moms,’ LePage says with a laugh.”
And then there’s this recent story that ran in the very newspapers Murphy works for.
The fact is, LePage rarely misses an opportunity to discuss his homelessness. How a reporter could conclude otherwise is past my understanding.
Al Diamon can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.