Portland Daily Sun's Minimal Mayoral Effort
Too dim: I give the Portland Daily Sun, a free-circulation paper, credit for at least trying to cover the mayoral campaign in Portland.
That’s more than the rival Portland Press Herald is doing.
But what’s the point of mentioning every candidate filing if the Sun isn’t going to provide a little background, particularly on lesser-known contenders. By background, I mean more than just whatever self-serving material the candidate puts out. It seems as if they could also do a little searching online.
If the paper had gone to the bother of doing that before printing its recent story on would-be mayor Erick Bennett, it might have discovered, as I did a few years ago when Bennett ran for the Legislature, information both disturbing and downright alarming.
I realize it’s a long way to election day, and there’s still time for this sort of investigative work. But in a race that’s already attracted a half-dozen candidates, it’s important for voters to be able to separate those with a chance of winning from those who are just clogging up the ballot. A quick Google search is the minimum amount of reporting a responsible news organization should be allowed to get away with, even in an initial story.
Gone and forgotten: The Press Herald’s March 22 story by staff writer Dennis Hoey on the guilty plea by a former worker for ex-gubernatorial candidate John Richardson’s campaign was lacking some important information.
Richardson was for many years the lawyer for the largest union at the Press Herald, the Newspaper Guild. And the worker who admitted violating campaign finance law was Joseph Pickering, an official of that union.
It’s possible that there’s nobody left at the Portland paper who remembers these guys. Or maybe they do remember and just don’t want to be associated with them.
Either way, they’re telling readers less than the whole story.
Down but not out: A headline posted on the Press Herald’s Web site on March 22:
He was delivering papers when he tripped over a grammar book.
Al Diamon can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.