Friday, March 24, 2006

Marin’s Famous Journalist School: How to Compound your mistakes.

Tom Roeser, in his always well written blog, states:[Tom has been described by the father of Chicago Blogging, Tribune columnist Eric Zorn, as having righteous chops]:

Celebrity [Carol] Marin, incidentally, goofed up the other day by asking Republican 8th [Congressional] District nominee David McSweeney how he planned to distance himself from Vice President Cheney when Cheney raised money for McSweeney in the campaign. Oops. Cheney raised money for Peter Roskam, not McSweeney-and in the 6th [Cong.] District not the 8th. But spending all that time in the TV makeup room does interfere with getting the numbers straight, doesn’t it?

I don’t know if make-up is such a bad idea, I could use some myself. And, Marin does look great when she is on the WTTW set, which appears to be every Monday and Wednesday evening on Chicago Tonight. And, obviously, Marin has a lot of media talent and experience that should be respected and admired.

However, as Tom suggests, elsewhere in the referenced blog post, Marin may be miscast as the Chicago Sun-Times “celebrity political columnist” and WTTW’s political journalist. After all, shouldn’t a public TV station, like WTTW, have as its premier political correspondent someone who at least reads the newspapers and routine press releases for campaigns so she would know that Cheney raised money for Roskam in the 6th CD, not McSweeney in the 8th CD.

As I have noted before, Carol Marin’s strength is the “court scene,” and the public corruption scene, not the “politics and public policy,” scene. The topics overlap, but they certainly are not congruent.

Anybody covering politics, but not the courts, knows that neither the Bush Administration nor the NRCC intervened on any candidate’s behalf in the six candidate 8th CD Republican Primary, adopting a more traditional hands-off policy for the Republican Primary. On the other hand, the DCCC, with the heavy hand of DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel and powerhouse Democratic Senators Durbin, Kerry and Obama intervened big time [to the tremendous displeasure of 6th CD Democratic Candidates Cegelis and Scott, and their supporters] on behalf of 6th CD Democratic Primary winning candidate Major Tammy Duckworth.

The difference in approach used by national Democratic and Republican leaders, at least with respect to the 6th and 8th Cong. Districts, is perhaps a distinction a professional political journalist should know about before she starts her interview, and not have to discover it in the bungling way Marin did.

Further, boys and girls, having made the mistake, a professional journalist should be gracious enough to say so and not compound it with a high school girlish laugh, suggesting if she wasn’t right this time, maybe she will be next time. Hell, I don’t do that--even on local access.

I mean, I thought that is why Marin was supposed to have failed on CBS-2 local news: she couldn’t or wouldn’t do the “Happy Talk.” Now, this is the tone that she brings to Public TV- sloppy, left biased journalism, with mistakes laughed about. Take a listen:
Carol Marin: Dick Cheney keynoted a fundraiser for your race…

David McSweeney: …The Vice-President did not come in for a fundraiser for me, it was for [State Senator] Peter Roskam [who had an uncontested 6th CD Republican Primary race]

Carol Marin: But, he was there to speak well of you, as well, was he not?

David McSweeney: Not at that point. Actually, he did not get involved in my primary, at all.

Carol Marin: Well, then maybe [famous Marin laugh] we’ll see if he will this time around.

David McSweeney: He may.

Carol Marin: Domestic Spying, how about that? [Marin left leaning bias?- as far as I know, these were calls monitored or intercepted by the U. S. Government [NSA] that involved almost always, if not always, at least one party who was outside the United States and thought to be involved in terrorism—that would be Domestic Spying? or at least it would be in the world of the WTTW staffers who apparently prepare a set of questions for Marin to read, presumably with Marin's guidance to set the tone of the interview].
WTTW’s Chicago Tonight, March 22, 2006
Jeff Berkowitz, Show Host/Producer of "Public Affairs," and Executive Legal Recruiter doing legal search can be reached at