Friday, June 02, 2006

Post-age


To: Matthew C. Kraner
General Manager
St. Louis Post-Dispatch


Dear Sir,

I note with regret that the St. Louis Post-Dispatch can't spare the drive space or bandwidth to include all of Missouri's US Senate candidates in its online poll.

There are three, not two, established political parties in Missouri. Only two are represented in the poll.

Neither of the two candidates your poll lists are the uncontested nominees of their respective parties -- Jim Talent faces four opponents in the Republican Party, and Claire McCaskill faces one opponent in the Democratic primary. They are the likely winners, but unlike the Bush administration, the Post-Dispatch should have the good grace to let the votes be counted before declaring them so.

Only one candidate will, beyond any shadow of a doubt, appear on Missourians' ballots this year: Frank Gilmour, who is the single, uncontested candidate for the Libertarian Party's nomination -- and he is nowhere to be found in your poll.

The Post-Dispatch has a very mixed and disturbing record in its treatment of Libertarian candidates. A couple of your columnists (Jo Mannies and Bill McClellan) occasionally give Libertarians their due, and the main news section gives Libertarians a column inch or two in the final "candidate profile" edition underneath the half-page sections given to the other guys ... but that's IT.

Libertarians consistently receive less coverage in the Post-Dispatch (and, to be fair, in most other media) than their vote totals merit. Most Libertarian candidates get at least 1-2% of the vote, while receiving, on average, less than one TENTH of 1% of election press coverage. This isn't about "equal time" by any stretch of the imagination. Even getting 1% of partisan political coverage in the Post-Dispatch would be a massive improvement for Libertarians.

Never mind that St. Louis area voters elected their first Libertarian public official (former Greendale City Marshal Tamara Millay) a couple of years ago.

Never mind that the Libertarian Party played a significant role in defeating the proposed St. Louis County smoking ban that came before the County Council last year.

Never mind that only a couple of months ago, Libertarians played a significant role in replacing the mayor and half the city council of Sunset Hills, as well as one alderman in Ballwin.

The usual media line is that you'll start covering Libertarians when they achieve successes. But if you won't cover the successes Libertarians achieve already, how are they supposed to attract the attention to achieve more, and bigger, successes?

Joseph Pulitzer declared in 1907 that the Post-Dispatch would "always fight for progress and reform." Which two parties represent the establishment? Which party represents change? And which parties is the Post-Dispatch fighting for?

Pulitzer promised that the paper would "never tolerate injustice or corruption." How just is it that there are three established political parties in Missouri, but that only two are mentioned in your paper's pages?

Pulitzer pledged to "always fight demagogues of all parties." How do you fight demagoguery by featuring it and ignoring its enemies?

Pulitzer said the paper would "never belong to any party" and that it would "always oppose privileged classes and public plunderers." Which two of the three parties does the Post-Dispatch belong to? Republicans and Democrats run the state, county and local governments. If there are any public plunderers to be fought, they necessarily come from one or both of those parties ... and yet are treated AS a privileged class by the Post-Dispatch, to the exclusion of their opponents.

Please -- reconsider your paper's policies with respect to political coverage. Your current policy of ignoring 1/3 of the state's political parties damages the Post-Dispatch's credibility and does a disservice to its readers.

Best regards,
Thomas L. Knapp
Normandy Township Committeeman
St. Louis County Libertarian Party Central Committee

Technorati Tags: , , ,
IceRocket Tags: , , ,

blog comments powered by Disqus
Three Column Modification courtesy of The Blogger Guide
Some graphics and styles ported from a previous theme by Jenny Giannopoulou