Home Media Hey Journalists, Don’t Want to Be “Blindsided?” Read the Political Blogs!

Hey Journalists, Don’t Want to Be “Blindsided?” Read the Political Blogs!

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Reading the news this morning, I happened upon this article in the Washington Post, about how “Dave Brat was mostly ignored by political reporters” and how “Perhaps not since the Chicago Daily Tribune’s infamous ‘Dewey Defeats Truman’ headline has the political press been so badly blindsided by an election result.” Well, yeah, “political reporters” – the ones who work for a salary at corporate media outlets, that is – DID overwhelmingly miss this growing story over the past few months. Why? There are a bunch of reasons, but a big one is that they apparently didn’t read the Virginia political blogs, several of which did a superb job on this race and the events leading up to it. For instance, here’s some coverage the “blindsided” political journalists might have wanted to peruse the past few weeks/months (note: these are just a few leading examples in Virginia; there are many others, including nationally, I’m sure):

The Bull Elephant (Jamie Radtke, Steve Albertson and Alexis Rose Bank get most of the credit for this extensive coverage of the rise of Dave Brat and the fall of Eric Cantor; these folks were most certainly NOT blindsided! UPDATE: Alexis emailed me a small correction: “I really didn’t do anything but add commentary and do tech support. Steve and Jamie were the real reporters here, performing rare acts of actual journalism, going on site and relaying events to the public as they were unfolding. If even a few of the folks who claim journalism as a profession did the same, we would all be working with a lot better information!”)

3/24/14: Jamie Radtke Live Blog of Slating Effort at Henrico GOP Meeting (Reporting on one of the main sources of grassroots anger at Cantor and the “establishment;” also quotes Dave Brat, who declared, “I’m running on free markets, not on the chamber of commerce agenda.”)

3/27/14: And then there were two: Brat vs. Cantor (“Dave Brat now has the field clear and 74 days to make this a competitive race. It is going to be tough taking on Eric Cantor – no doubt about it – but I believe the passion and interest exists to make this a competitive race.”)

4/14/14: Cantor officially has no Democrat challenger, focus all on Republican Primary (“Or perhaps Cantor is simply scared to debate, knowing he doesn’t have sufficient answers to tough questions.”)

4/16/14: Ann Coulter endorses Dave Brat against Eric Cantor

5/10/14: Cobb Defeated in 7th; Gruber Wins

5/10/14: SEISMIC SHIFT IN THE 7th: What does Cobb’s ouster mean for the GOP? (“The fact that Cantor has, for the first time really, a serious primary challenger in Dave Brat is no accident.”)

5/12/14: EXCLUSIVE: Video and Audio of Eric Cantor Speech Being Booed! (Note to political press: The Bull Elephant actually, GASP!, covered this event. What a concept.)

5/12/14: Brat, Gillespie Score Wins in 7th District Straw Poll (“The Bull Elephant’s Straw Poll of delegates to the 7th District GOP Convention Saturday showed a large and unexpected lead by Dave Brat over Eric Cantor”)

6/1/14: Brat bringing in big name to campaign – Laura Ingraham

6/4/14: Time for a Change After 12 Years: Vote Dave Brat

6/6/14: Cantor On Verge Of Historic Primary Loss (That’s right, blogger Alexis Rose Bank nailed it, while most of the political press was sleeping.)

JH Politics (Justin Higgins)

This blogger was NOT a Dave Brat fan, but he DID cover him. For instance, on April 14, he wrote Dave Brat’s Absurd ‘Party Unity’ Attack. Three weeks ago, he wrote about Dave Brat’s Idiotic D.C. Two Step. Etc.

Lynn R. Mitchell

Also not a fan of Brat’s, but this blog was most definitely engaged in covering the race, live blogging the 7th CD convention, etc.

Bearing Drift

2/21/14: Why David Brat Wants to Retire Eric Cantor

3/22/14: David Brat, On “The Score”

4/8/14: Dismissing Brat (“Eric Cantor really can’t be bothered with his primary opponent.”)

Blue Virginia

Yes, our very own blog covered this race, starting with Eric Steigleder’s piece on January 8, Could Cantor’s Tea Party Challenger be Good News for Democrats?. Also see:

5/10/14: “Huge loss for Eric Cantor…his top lieutenant Linwood Cobb is toppled”

5/12/14: Straw Poll at 7th CD GOP Convention Shows Cantor Losing Badly to Dave Brat

5/15/14: “Long-time top consultant” to Eric Cantor “intends to bankrupt the Republican Party of Virginia?”

Bottom line: if you’re not reading the political blogs, you pretty much have no idea what’s going on politically. One more example which I’ve mentioned previously is the 8th CD Democratic primary race, where if you weren’t reading Blue Virginia, you weren’t getting videos of the debates and other events (e.g., straw polls), as well as extensive analysis you couldn’t find anywhere else. The Washington Post? Puh-leeze! All they did was a bit of “horse-race” coverage of the primary, as well as an endorsement by a guy (Lee Hockstader) who was never seen at a debate, forum, straw poll, etc, nor did he even interview all the candidates! #FAIL on all levels.

P.S. Also see the John Fredericks Show interview with Dave Brat on June 5, as well as Ryan Nobles’ coverage of the race. So…no, not ALL media was oblivious to this one.

  • NotJohnSMosby

    The way I see it, most of those blogs call for ultra-conservative victory in everything. They ignore their majority losses while fixating on the occasional win.  In this case, I didn’t see any difference in their commentary on Cantor than their commentary on Shak Hill beating Gillespie or Bob Marshall beating Comstock.  

    They focus on the surprise upsets like David Brat and EW Jackson, or the primary victories last year over Sherwood and May.  They think that’s the norm, while ignoring the fact that they’re way of thinking wins about 10% of the time.  Which means they lose 90% of the time.

  • When local papers don’t have journalists covering local races, then there’s no story for the wires to pick up and send to the bigger papers. Consolidation is key.

  • kindler

    …sometimes they just steal our stories without attribution instead!

    Seriously, the media needs to develop a standard for “borrowing” stories from social media. At the very least, give a “hat tip” to the source. Otherwise, the paid media has a lower standard for attribution than many of us bloggers do.