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Callers see bias in convention coverage

By Todd Franko (Contact)


Published September 4, 2008

Two phone calls came in, one right after the other, Thursday morning.

The callers could have just met at the same water cooler, but I doubt it. Yet they both had identical feelings about The Vindy:

The Vindicator is playing favorites with its A1 coverage of the conventions.

Their belief was that we're playing down John McCain and the GOP, and playing up Barack Obama and the Dems.

They're wrong – if they're comparing the convention coverage.

Their perceptions could have been fueled by our coverage of Obama's swing through Boardman for breakfast last weekend. But that A1 coverage would have been identical if it were McCain stopping by the Yankee Kitchen Family Restaurant for waffles. How soon some some have forgotten our June 28 coverage of McCain's visit to Lordstown...

But the calls hinted more at the convention coverage. Both callers seemed especially motivated by the speech offered Wednesday night by Sarah Palin, and our subsequent coverage, which they thought was inadequate.

They both pointed to a small headline and a small picture at the bottom of the page.

(Before going further, and not that I need to disclose this, but what the heck, I had spicey sausage today: My past presidential votes have gone, in order, Bush-Clinton-Bush-Kerry. And I thought Palin delivered a good speech.)

But due to the callers, I went back to compare our coverage this week to last week, and in reality: The Democrats should call and complain to us.

Last week's A1's had one-column headlines and stories of Obama, Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy (in that order). We went to two columns on Thursday, which was the day of Obama's speech and coming off the night of Bill Clinton's speech. Vice presidential candidate Joe Biden did not even merit a small picture at the bottom of the page after his speech.

By contrast, this week, the Republicans have received bigger A1 headlines on Tuesday and Wednesday in The Vindicator. And Wednesday and today had GOP stories written by reporter Dave Skolnick, in addition to the wire offerings. We did not do so last week.

Barring major catastrophes overnight, McCain will be front and center Friday, just as Obama was last Friday.

And if McCain should bus through Boardman, eat at Yankee Kitchen Family Restaurant or some other place, and mix with locals, it will be big local news.

(It's going to be a long nine weeks...)

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