Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Your Local Daily At Work

The Commercial Appeal has a standard pattern it applies to certain kinds of stories. When the paper lines up behind some civic project, say the FedEx Forum, and someone comes out in opposition, or tries to slow the process for some reason, the CA will first run stories showing how the opponent is out of step or going to cost extra to that project. If there is some success in opposition, then the stories go a bit further back in the paper, with less explanatory material and more quotes from their supporters. If there's some dirt, or some failure, on the part of the opponents, then it gets front page play.

Today's paper contains just such an example. In this story, on Page One starting above the fold, we learn that a boycott called against the Grizzlies seems to have failed.

I wasn't even aware of a boycott until I spotted this small story buried in the Sunday paper, which mostly focused on Mayor Herenton criticising the boycott. The story was most notable for being long on criticism and short on details of who called the boycott. Monday's paper avoided the subject altogether; one assumes so that no one might get some last minute publicity. Looking around, though, I saw that Saturday's paper, the least read of all editions, had this story explaining the deal. Too bad for the boycotters, huh?

So, today's story was long on detailed figures showing that attendance was above season average; long on questions about the protesters in front of the Pyramid; and full of observations about the caller of the boycott -- Robert Redwing, representing area minority contractors. There were more happy quotes from the Mayor, too.

Slam, dunk, on the critics. Next game.

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