Thursday, March 24, 2005

Process vs. Substance

Well, I finally got around to reading the local section of the Inquirer website. Low and behold, there is an article about the DA's race. And guess what? It's a process story!

What do I mean by "process"? It's a story that is about an election, but barely deals with the issues. Instead, it focuses on endorsements and the horse race. Today's article is about the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) endorsing Seth Williams over Abraham.

Now, this is actually a pretty interesting story. A longtime DA, who almost never prosecutes police officers for misconduct, gets passed over for a challenger. Why? Apparently, the FOP thinks Williams has some innovative ideas for changing how the office is run.
Police officers are concerned that a high percentage of felony arrests are dismissed in Municipal Court because prosecutors are not ready, Blagmond said. He added that Williams, who served as an assistant prosecutor under Abraham for 10 years, "had some good ideas" for improving the process.


Williams has centered his campaign on a plan to base prosecutors in neighborhood police stations, streamlining the preparation of cases so that fewer are tossed in court.
In a nine paragraph article, only a sentence or two are dedicated to actual issues. The FOP claims they are supporting Williams because cops think he has some good ideas for fighting crime. However, a reader would never know what those ideas were, because they are talked about in an extremely limited way. This is exactly the problem with process stories dominating the coverage of local politics. All I know from this story is that the FOP is supporting Williams-- not why. What is more important for voters to know, who is supporting a candidate or what the reasons for that support are?


At 1:37 PM, Blogger DanielUA said...

It certainly is true that more than anything else, the media love a good horse race. Right or wrong, they think it is what sells papers.

As far as this announcement, who knows, it could be the beginning of Seth catching fire. We certainly need him.

I wonder if Abraham will actually debate him? If not, and I were Williams, I would debate an empty podium, or maybe a big cardboard cut out. Or maybe a Chips Ahoy.


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