November 10, 2017 Last Updated 10:13 am

Local forum provides a little support for media’s still strong role in shaping the electorate

The news media business will likely survive the daily beat down by the new president, the attacks on stories that are well researched and edited — because, in the end, we all need to learn the facts, not just the spin

Last night I was attended a ‘Meet the Candidates’ forum at a local restaurant, something that I suppose I should do more often. My rush to get out, however, led to a stupid mistake when writing a story regarding News Corp’s Q4 earnings. I apologize to TNM readers for the error, because it was a doozy — News Corp, you see, reported ‘Q1 2018’ earnings yesterday. The good news, if there is any, was that their results were pretty good in both quarters, so I didn’t get on my soapbox and begin to scream about media executives or something like that. Still, it was an embarrassing mistake, and the only thing that might make it worse is not admitting to it.

As for that meeting, it was both a bore and fascinating, and well worth the time spent.

Here was a chance for a group of challengers for a Congressional seat — mostly first time candidates — to talk in front of the voters. Most proved that they are probably not ready, though they will have time to refine their approach to speaking to voters as the primary is still many months away.

The candidates talked mostly about issues they knew those in attendance would find agreeable. The locals attending did not gave them much feed back, but there was plenty of beer and food around so everyone stayed the entire couple hours of the event.

There were calls for gun control or additional education spending, etc. etc. And not once did one candidate actually disagree with another.

But… what did get a reaction from attendees was those few mentions of events most recently in the news. Mention of Tuesday’s election, or other recent stories, drew out the audience. 

In the end, though, it was talk of sexual harassment and inequality, corruption and collusion that made audience members eager to participate. People, in other words, are paying attention to the news. Despite all the talk of ‘fake news’ and the decline of the news media, people are dependent on the news, and they are eager to read/view the news.

Two hours of speechifying proved far too much for most of the prospective candidates, but a couple were able to make a go of it, and at least two of them appeared ready to win an election. It was a good experience for all the candidates, even the one or two that might soon decide that going the distance will not be worth the effort.

But last night democracy had a little win at a local restaurant. But so did the news business. And the more citizens participate in politics, the more they pay attention to the candidates, the more they are dependent on the news media to deliver. They appreciate what you do, don’t forget that.

Photo source: Carlissa Casbone LaTourette

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