Monday, October 10, 2005

Sleight of Print

The Commercial Appeal's Nashville correspondent, Richard Locker, contributes this look at the new heads of the Tennessee Democratic and Republican Parties, and at the changes in each.

It's kinda fun to pick these things apart, to see under the hood. Let's take a look.

Locker looks at the Democrats first. He devotes a total of six paragraphs, twelve sentences to them. Several of those sentences are long, complex, heavily punctuated affairs. Locker's look at the Republicans is five much shorter paragraphs, totalling eight sentences. Comparing it by column inches is no contest: two to one for the Democrats.

Talking about the new Democratic chair's selection, Locker writes:
But the Democrats' state operation has undergone the biggest changes, with the backing of Gov. Phil Bredesen....

He vowed a more assertive state party....

Change at the Democratic Party was under way when Bredesen spoke to labor leaders. Hard-charging Marine Corps and Vietnam veteran Bob Tuke, a Nashville corporate and securities lawyer, was elected state Democratic chairman in June....

If Bredesen was looking for a chairman to take the offensive, he found him in Tuke....
Now, here's everything he has to say about the new Republican chair's selection:
Bob Davis, elevated to the Tennessee Republican Party's chairmanship....
Hmm.... Very visible difference there.

Locker writes nothing at all about the Tennessee Waltz scandal while he's talking about the Democrats. He waits until he's talking about the Republicans to info-dump all those facts:
When the arrest of five current and former legislators in May rocked the state, Davis quickly went on the attack. With four of the five indicted lawmakers Democrats, Davis publicly called for the resignation of the lone Republican -- Newton, who had already angered GOP loyalists by his ties to Democratic House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh.
Fairly clever, that. Put it next to the Republicans and not where it properly belongs, next to the Democrats. No need to make that "hard charging, assertive" Democratic chair look defensive. Let's give that to the Republican!

So what do we end up with? Loads on those "hard charging, assertive" Democrats and.. oh yeah, the Republicans, too.

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