Political Gymnasts

STEP RIGHT UP FOLKS! RIGHT THIS WAY!!!

SEE AN EXAMPLE OF ONE OF THE FINEST POLITICAL GYMNASTIC ACTS! RIGHT HERE, ON THIS STAGE, SPINNING CHEST BEATING!

YOWZAH, YOWZAH

In a campaign year, news organizations are deluged with press releases from this or that candidate, this or that cause, wanting the media to dutifully report their spin on issues, their candidacies, or the candidacies of their opponents. They don’t much like it when news organizations don’t buy their spin. We don’t catch it all, unfortunately, but we try.

Having said that, we offer an example of spin that crossed our desk the other day. We do not intend this to be an attack on the specific organizations that sent out these news releases but we offer it as an example. We might pass along others during the campaign.

The release was from groups opposed to the effort to have judges run as partisan candidates throughout the state, replacing the non-partisan court system in our biggest counties. The headline in the release from Missourians for Fair and Impartial Courts read:

“Missourians Overwhelmingly Reject Attempt to Politicize Missouri Courts.”

Another release from The Missouri Bar, which also opposed the effort, was similar:

“Missourians Reject Ballot Proposal to Scrap Merit Selection of Judges.”

Wait a minute, here. Missourians did not reject anything. There was no vote. The issues never made it to the ballot because petition campaign organizers failed to get enough signatures on their petitions. (In fact, a spokesman for the campaign rather smugly (as in “feeling great satisfaction with oneself or one’s situation”) assured us that there had been more than enough signatures gathered–more than 250,000 signatures, he thought, although the group needed only 158,000 in six of nine congressional districts. Campaign spokesman James Harris told us the drive had produced numbers “well in excess of what’s needed,” and he further told us “You can truly tell that Missourians embrace the idea of elections.” Actually, the drive had enough valid signatures in only one of the six congressional districts it needed.

Petition organizers defeated themselves by not getting enough signatures. Missourians did not defeat the issue.

James’ bravado versus The Missouri Bar’s and Missourians for Fair & Impartial Courts’ spin—ya gotta love it. This kind of stuff is great spectator sport for political reporters. Yowzah!

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