(Note -- I was away for a few days and then busier than I thought I'd be when I returned -- for the next few posts I'll be catching up on what I missed from last week. )
On Friday, both the morning and afternoon "newspapers" printed a front-page article about local representative David McKinley's appointment to the committee charged with resolving the differences between the House and Senate's version of a comprehensive energy bill. Unfortunately for those of us who want reporting in a news report, two-thirds of the article is word-for-word from PR releases that came from McKinley's congressional office and the American Petroleum Institute.
In the article, McKinley suggests that this rare conference committee will go against the "gridlock and partisanship" that Washington D.C. is known for. However, if you do almost any research on this energy bill, it will likely yield a far different conclusion. A simple Google search indicates that the Senate's version was bi-partisan but, despite McKinley's claim to the contrary, the House's was highly partisan. Here what an energy newsletter said about the two versions:
Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), the ranking member on the Energy and Commerce Committee, decried the measure as "an 800-page monstrosity" and "not a legitimate exercise in legislating."
Instead, he praised the Senate bill (S. 2012) for its bipartisan support.
"It passed by a vote of 85-15 because it is balanced and because it contains a number of non-energy provisions that the public supports overwhelmingly, such as permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund," he said in floor remarks. "On the other hand, the House energy bill was the result of a highly partisan process that the president threatened to veto."
How bad are the changes? Marie Cantwell (D-Wash.) questioned whether the conference would even take place:
Cantwell's hesitation raises the prospect that it may be tough to find 60 votes in the Senate for going to conference, although that vote is not expected until after the Memorial Day recess.
Let's see. Rather than doing their own research, our papers print a story culled from info from McKinley's office and the American Petroleum Institute. What we get is not news; it's public relations masquerading as news -- the article is about promoting David McKinley even if it's far from the reality of what is actually happening.
One last thought on this -- Mike Manypenny of Grafton will be running against McKinley for the 1st Congressional District seat. How much newspaper coverage do you think he will get in the next five months?