Thursday, October 11, 2012

Ryan's Stimulus Asks Show Up In Debate; But In The Coverage?

Attention news and assignment editors:

Rule one for media in our region that feature local coverage, for years, has been:

Always localize larger stories for hometown audiences, so if there's a local angle, it goes high up in the story or is the lede.

A good debate print story would have a broader headline, but that local angle is surely what newspaper people call "the deck," or sub-headline, focusing the reader.

For radio and TV, it's the second sentence or clause in the script:

"Vice-President Joe Biden and Janesville Congressman Paul Ryan had a spirited debate Thursday night on foreign policy, abortion rights and the economy. And an exchange over Ryan's solicitation of stimulus funds for his congressional district from the very administration program he'd attacked became one of the evening's more heated moments and put Wisconsin in the spotlight."

Yes - - there was one big Wisconsin angle Thursday night, and that was Vice-President Joe Biden nailing Ryan for having asked for stimulus funds for his district on more than one occasion after the Congressman from Janesville had opposed and blasted the program on ideological grounds.

Ryan feebly responded in the debate that he did make the asks as a matter of constituent service. Earlier he'd put the blame on staff.

Both excuses dodged responsibility, and the wiggles did not get Ryan off his petard.

And, hey: the story has been around for two months, so let's cracking.

The truth was and is that Ryan knew, as he said in the funding requests to Obama administration officials that Biden referenced, the stimulus would create jobs and aid growth, but admitting that then would have cost Ryan his role as small-govern, anti-Obama hero, and now would be impossible.

Permanently on the petard - - so, again, the Wisconsin angle is crucial to debate coverage and analysis.

Overall, I think Biden dominated the debate, won on points, and gave his base a boost.

Ryan was on the defensive, with the stimulus hypocrisy among the heavier hits.

Local coverage of the debate has got to focus on the only Wisconsin story in the entire debate.


Anonymous said...

Ryan's request for stimulas funding from Biden was interesting.

Why did Biden control the purse strings?

James Rowen said...

Biden was speaking about the administration. He also said to the Dep't. of Energy.